Dubai: The UAE is now one of the billionaire capitals of the world, according to a new research.

The Hurun Research Institute, a China-based research firm, published on Tuesday a report that shows the UAE has broken for the first time into the world’s top 20 list of countries with the highest number of ultra-rich residents.

The country’s billionaire population jumped by a little more than 30 per cent in 2016 compared to a year earlier. A total of 21 individuals with at least $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) are now living in the UAE, up from just 16 a year earlier, making the UAE the 19th most preferred destination for billionaires.

The growth in the UAE’s ultra-rich population has likely been triggered by increased migration of residents with huge bank accounts and assets from other countries.

Last year alone, India saw 32 billionaires left, of which the UAE, UK and US were the preferred destinations, according to the report.

Another high-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs) tracker, New World Wealth, has said that the UAE has been seeing an increase in the influx of wealthy residents, as security issues in a number of countries around the world are driving away the ultra-wealthy.

The population of HNWIs in the UAE alone has been growing, with about 5,000 millionaires believed to have moved to the UAE in 2016, according to New World Wealth. The majority of the new wealthy residents came from Turkey, which had a big outflow, approximately 6,000 millionaires, in 2016.

“The UAE’s low tax rates and high safety levels make it particularly attractive to HNWIs. It also boasts several fast-growing sectors including financial services, technology, health-care and media,” Andrew Amoils, New World Wealth analyst, told Gulf News.

Overall, Hurun’s report showed that China trumped the US for the second year running as the most preferred residence for billionaires. Greater China now accounts for 609 billionaires compared to the US’ 552 super wealthy residents.

Among the cities monitored, New York remained a favourite haven for the rich, ranking second overall, followed by Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Moscow in the top five.

The report also indicated that super wealthy residents are growing their fortunes at a “supercharged” rate, as the number of billionaires globally reached 2,257, up 55 per cent from five years ago.

“Global wealth is being concentrated in the hands of the billionaires at a rate far exceeding growth,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of Hurun report.

While more than 2,000 billionaires have been accounted for so far, the actual number could be higher. “The world today has 5,000 dollar billionaires, assuming that for every one we have found, we have missed at least one,” Hoogewerf.

“While some billionaires go to extraordinary lengths to conceal their wealth, for the most part it is that they are discreet and prefer operating under the radar.”