Photo KnowInsiders
Photo KnowInsiders

How many billionaires does South Korea have? How much do they own?

South Korea has 25 billionaires. The combined wealth of the tycoons on the 2022 Forbes list of Korea’s 50 richest declined by 17% to $130 billion in 2022, from $156 billion in 2021. For the first time in a decade, none of the billionaires on the list has a double-digit fortune.

Despite South Korea’s export-led economy growing 4% in 2021, its stock market was Asia’s second-worst performer over the past 12 months. As interest rates rose and investors retreated, the benchmark Kospi index fell 13% since fortunes were last measured in May 2021.

Who are richest people in South Korea?

Kwon Hyuk-bin was the wealthiest man in South Korea, with an estimated net worth of 9.1 billion U.S. dollars, followed by Jay Y. Lee (No. 2, $8.0 billion), Seo Jung-jin (No. 3, $6.3 billion); and Kim Beom-su (No. 4, $4.8 billion).

Hong Ra-hee is the fifth-richest person in South Korea, with a whopping $4.6 billion. Chung Mong-Koo ranked 6th with a personal wealth of $3.8 billion, followed by Song Chi-hyung with $3.6 billion. Cho jung-ho is placed 8th with a net worth of $3.3 billion. Lee Boo-jin ($3.2 billion) occupied the 9th position.

Who is Kwon Hyuk-bin-the richest man in South Korea?

Photo Forbes
Photo Forbes

Kwon Hyuk-bin founded Smilegate in 2002 and has built it into one of the most successful gaming companies in South Korea.

Following a 2008 partnership with Chinese internet giant Tencent, it released its most popular title, CrossFire.

Kwon's Smilegate Holdings is one of the largest shareholders of Korean mobile game developer SundayToz.

Through his Smilegate Foundation, Kwon has established schools in China and Vietnam, providing education in IT, among other subjects.

READ MORE: The Full List of Japanese Billionaires In 2023 - Who Are The Richest People In Japan?

Who is the youngest billionaire in South Korea?

Photo Forbes
Photo Forbes

Kim Jung-youn, the daughter of the founder of South Korean gaming company Nexon, has become the world’s youngest billionaire at 18 after her father’s death.

Kim Jung-youn and her older sister Kim Jung-min inherited stakes in their father’s personal holding company NXC, which has a 48 percent stake in Nexon, according to Forbes. Even after an inheritance tax bill of $1.5 billion, the sisters are still worth $1 billion each.

While they each hold stakes in Nexon, the eldest Kim previously stated that his children would not be handed control of the company after his death, according to The Investor. Instead, management control will purportedly be handed to seasoned employees to maintain the company’s culture of fairness and transparency.

While not much is known about Kim Jung-youn, she is reported to have been born in 2004, making her the youngest person current billionaire. Previously, the title was held by Kevin David Lehman, who was born in 2002. His $1.8 billion fortune stems from a stake in his father Guenther Lehman’s drugstore chain, Drogerie Markt.

Their father, Kim Jung-ju, amassed his fortune through Nexon, which he founded in 1994. Nexon has since grown to become the largest gaming company in Korea and is behind hits such as the popular side-scrolling MMORPG “Maplestory.”

READ MORE: The Full List of Chinese Billionaires In 2023 - Who Are The Richest People In China?

Outside of his businesses, Kim Jung-ju’s philanthropic endeavors focused on supporting Korea’s youth through the establishment of Korea’s first pediatric rehabilitation hospital and Asia’s first museum dedicated to computers.

Through the Nexon foundation, Kim Jung-ju also spearheaded initiatives like an annual hackathon and a network of libraries serving underprivileged children.

Who is the oldest billionaire in South Korea?

Photo Forbes
Photo Forbes

The oldest billionaire in South Korea is Chung Mong-Koo, 84 years old. He owns $3.9B.

Chung Mong-Koo was chairman of Hyundai Motor, South Korea's largest automaker, for more than 20 years before stepping down in March 2020.

He was succeeded by his only son Euisun, who is also a billionaire. He is the second son of the late Chung Ju-yung who came from a peasant family and later founded the Hyundai Group, once Korea's biggest conglomerate. His second-biggest holding is in the publicly-listed auto parts company Hyundai Mobis.

His leadership does not come without controversy. Nicknamed a “bulldozer” for his forceful and often blunt style, Chung was also sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling company funds in 2007. He only spent a few months incarcerated before his sentence was suspended, and received a special pardon from then-South Korea President Lee Myung-bak

Who is the richest women billionaire in South Korea?

That is Hong Ra-hee who owns $6.4 B, ranking 77 globally.

She was the director of the Samsung Museum of Art, known as Leeum, and the Ho-Am Art Museum before her resignation in 2017.

Hong is an arts graduate of Seoul National University, and both museums contain collections from her father-in-law, Samsung founder Lee Byung-Chull. Her father was chairman of one of Korea's largest daily newspapers, JoongAng Ilbo, which is now run by her nephew. One of her brothers, Hong Seok-joh, chairs Korea's biggest convenience-store chain and is also a billionaire.

The Full List of South Korean Billionaires

1. Kwon Hyuk-bin: $9.1 billion

2 Jay Y. Lee: $8.0 billion

3. Seo Jung-jin: $6.3 billion

4. Kim Beom-su: $4.8 billion

5. Hong Ra-hee: $4.6 billion

6. Chung Mong-Koo: $3.8 billion

7. Song Chi-hyung: $3.6 billion

8. Cho jung-ho: $3.3 billion

9. Lee Boo-jin: $3.2 billion

10. Yoo Jung-hyun: $3.1 billion

11.Lee Seo-hyun: $2.9 billion

12. Euisun Chung: $2.8 billion

13. Kim Chang-soo: $1.9 billion

14. Kim Hyoung-nyon: $1.9 billion

15. Suh Kyung-bae: $1.8 billion

16. Chey Tae-won: $1.8 billion

17. Koo Kwang-mo: $1.7 billion

18. Bang Si-hyuk: $1.7 billion

19. Lee Joong-keun: $1.6 billion

20. Kim Taek-jin: $1.6 billion

21. Kim Sang-yeol: $1.4 billion

22. Kim Jun-ki: $1.4 billion

23. Cho Young-sik: $1.3 billion

24. Lee Hae-jin: $1.3 billion

25. Lee Seung-gun: $1.2 billion

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