Women are joining the global billionaires' club in greater numbers. Their number increased by 46 percent, compared to the 39 percent growth showed by their male counterparts in the five-year period from 2013 to 2018.
During the half-decade period, the number of female billionaires increased from 160 to 233.
In Asia, over half of female billionaires are self-made, according to Billionaires Report 2019 published by the Swiss investment bank UBS and accounting sector giant PwC.
The number of female billionaires grew by 6.6, compared to an average annual growth of 5.5 percent in the number of male billionaires. Female billionaires' assets have expanded by over a quarter (26%) to $871.2 billion, boosted mainly by the progress in Asia.
The club of global wealthy elites now contain 2,101 individuals from different continents.
However, the aggregated wealth of the billionaires across the world decreased by 4.3 percent to $8.53 trillion in 2018. The first annual decline after 2015, which was accompanied by a 2.6 percent fall in the number of world's billionaires.
In terms of female participation in the global billionaires' club, the USA remained in the top position since 2013, if we choose to ignore the 2015 report. In that year, billionaire women from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region outnumbered them by one person.
Among the 233 female billionaires in 2018, a total of 94 were from their American base, which was 78 in 2013. The EMEA businesswomen billionaires have grown in numbers from 56 to 81 in the same five-year period.
The biggest increase in numbers was by the female billionaires from the Asia Pacific and China (APEC) region. In 2013, only 26 of them were in the club, which increased to 58 at the end of 2018. The number of women billionaires more than doubled.
Over 57 percent of the APEC female billionaires were entrepreneurs, which means they are self-made tycoons. The researchers also noticed that four in ten of 2018's self-made female billionaires built businesses in the consumer and retail sector.
For instance, business partners Li Haiyan and Shu Ping became billionaires after the 2018 IPO of their Haidilao hotpot restaurant chain, which is expanding outside China.
In the US, Anastasia Soare, a Romanian-American businesswoman who founded the beauty brand Anastasia Beverly Hills joined the billionaire club.
Additionally in Russia, Tatyana Bakalchuk, a former English teacher and mother of four, became a billionaire. While on maternity leave in 2004, she founded Wildberries, which has since become Russia's largest online retailer.
What's behind the decline in billionaires?
According to the UBS/PwC Billionaires Report, following a rise in the previous two years, the decline of billionaires' numbers and their wealth at the end of 2018 was caused by a strengthening the US Dollar, intensifying trade war, fear of a weakening economic growth and the highest volatility since 2008 crisis in the global financial market.
The US Dollar climbed 4.3 percent in 2018, according to the WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the US currency's exchange rate against a basket of 16 significant currencies.
Most of the non-US Dollar assets are lower in values in US Dollar books only because of the exchange rate issue.
However, the five year scenario (2013-2018) was an optimistic one for the contenders, as it added an encouraging number of wealthy male and females in the list along with a 34.5 percent increase in the total wealth held by the billionaires.
Over the past half-decade, 589 individuals became billionaires for the first time, increasing the world's billionaire population by 38.9 percent.
As asset prices generally increased over the years, billionaires' wealth increased over a five year period until 2018, said the report.
Self-made billionaires dominate list
Self-made billionaires are dominating the global wealth map and of course the global club of billionaires.
Of the aggregated $8.53 trillion of wealth held by billionaires at the end of 2018, assets worth $5.78 were owned by entrepreneurs who made their fortune themselves, while multigenerational billionaires own assets worth $2.75 trillion.
Both the figures were higher in 2017.