(Bloomberg News) China's millionaires will account for about half of Asia's rich and hold more than half of the region's wealth by 2015, according to a study by Julius Baer Group and CLSA Asia Pacific Markets.

Asia's millionaires will more than double in number to 2.8 million, with 1.4 million high net worth people in China, according to the Asia Wealth Report released yesterday. Chinese millionaires will hold $8.76 trillion of the $15.81 trillion that the region's millionaires are expected to have, it said.

"In terms of the overall amounts of wealth that will increase, it's very much a China story," Stefan Hofer, emerging market equity strategist at Julius Baer, said yesterday at a press conference held for reporters in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Expansion in the world's fastest-growing major economy created 502,000 millionaires in the country last year, according to the report. State and private investments helped drive a 9.5 percent gain in second-quarter gross domestic product from a year earlier, the government said in July, faster than estimated as growth in industrial output and retail sales accelerated and copper and aluminum production reached records.

The tripling of Asian millionaires' assets from $5.6 trillion in 2010 will be also driven by currency appreciation in the region, according to the report, adding to the economic growth and gains in asset values. The currency gain may create 600,000 new millionaires -- or individuals with more than $1 million of investible assets excluding their primary residence - - by 2015, it said.

India, South Korea

India will be the second-biggest market in Asia by 2015, with 403,000 millionaires and a combined $2.5 trillion net worth, the report said. South Korea will be ranked third.

Julius Baer, the Swiss private bank which has Asian offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, wants to expand further in the region, said Thomas Meier, the bank's chief executive for Asia and the Middle East, calling it the company's "second-home aspiration."

The bank aims to have a fourth of its overall assets under management in Asia by 2015, he said. It now has about 10 percent to 20 percent of its 166 billion Swiss francs ($205.4 billion) in assets under management in Asia.

Wealth managers are looking to boost allocations to markets in the Asia-Pacific region in the next 12 months as they expect higher returns, according to a study by Scorpio Partnership Ltd. in July.

Eighty-four percent of investment professionals at wealth management companies are planning to invest more in the region, while 33 percent are considering increasing investments in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, the study showed. Managers catering to high-net-worth investors are turning to emerging markets and non-traditional asset classes for returns while reducing inflationary risks, the Scorpio study said.

The number of millionaires in China grew by 12 percent to 534,500 last year, according to a report by Capgemini SA and Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management in June. China ranked fourth in the number of millionaires, trailing the U.S., Japan and Germany.