Billionaires could be a dying breed in the United States--but not so in China. The country saw a 20 percent increase in the number of households with more than $100 million last year, according to Boston Consulting Group. Ultra-high-network households also saw double-digit percentage growth in Russia and India last year. (See map below for a look at where the ultra-rich are thriving.)
Here are five ways ultra-millionaires are not like us (besides the obvious):
1. They build their own museums.
Art collecting has long been a hobby for the rich, but for some of China's wealthiest the next logical step is: Build their own private museums to house growing collections. In fact, building private museums has become so popular that at this year's International Art Fair in Hong Kong, a private seminar was offered for super-rich attendees about how to build one.
2. Their banks give them free yachts instead of free lollipops.
Banks are circling the newly rich in Asian countries like hawks, trying to woo clientele with all kinds of perks. It's not just for the ultra-high-networth. Even for customers with a mere $2 to $5 million in investable assets, the United Overseas Bank offers a private yacht for entertaining. The service was so popular the bank had to limit the number of bookings per customer per year, according to the New York Times.
3. They have a hard time finding love.
It's not easy meeting people when you're super rich. In China, matchmaking events and contests have flourished with women "applying" to meet potential billionaire husbands. According to one (disturbing) story from a Chinese news website, women had to meet certain height-weight requirements and plastic surgeons checked to see if they had had plastic surgery.
4. They throw their money away.
It's not just China where the super rich are flourishing--Russia saw a big bump in billionaires last year. The country's oligarchs have a reputation for throwing their money around--like gobbling up American real estate and buying monster jets. And some are literally tossing it around. Earlier this year, billionaire Pavel Durov, CEO of Europe's largest social networking site made paper airplanes out of ruble notes and tossed them out of his St. Petersburg's office window.
5. They buy their own tropical islands.
Larry Ellison is keeping it real for American billionaires. Ellison, founder of Oracle, purchased the Hawaiian Island of Lanai in June for between $500 and $600 million. Even as China gains quickly in the number of ultra rich, there are still more than four times as many mega-millionaires in the United States.
(Click image below to enlarge)