Korea’s 50 Richest People 2022: Collective Wealth Drops Despite Economic Rise, Only 8 Increases
South Korea’s export economy will grow 4% in 2021, but the stock market is the second worst performer in Asia in the past 12 months after Hong Kong. The Kospi Benchmark Index has fallen 13% since the last wealth measure in May 2021 as interest rates rise and investors recede. As a result, the total wealth of the country’s 50 richest people fell from $156 billion a year ago to $130 billion. And for the first time in 10 years, not a single millionaire among the 50 richest people has double-digit wealth.
Kakao founder and self-made billionaire Kim Bum-soo topped the list for the first time with $9.6 billion, even after a string of controversies hit the internet giant’s stock. Jay Y. Lee of Samsung remains in second place with $9.2 billion, although his fortune is down. Third place was Michael Kim, a private equity billionaire for the first time, the biggest gain this year in percentage and dollar terms. Kim more than doubled his net worth to $7.7 billion after New York-based Dial Capital Partners acquired a minority stake in privately held MBK Partners for nearly $9 billion.
Number one place Xu Xu Jin last year fell to $6.9 billion, down $5.6 billion (45%) to fourth place. Shares of pharmaceutical company Celltrion fell on disappointment that a Covid-19 antibody treatment had not been approved by US regulatory agencies. Coupang founder Bom Suk Kim has made the biggest profits in the past year following the company’s blockbuster IPO in March 2021, but the rate of decline in net worth was the biggest. When losses escalated at an e-commerce company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, his net worth was $3.2 billion. The Harvard Business School dropout dropped to 7th place from last year to 14th.
The seven newcomers this year include three startup founders. The largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea is Upbit. Yoo Jong-hyun made his debut after his wife Kim Jung-ju died suddenly at the age of 54 in February. Yu owns a 14% stake in online gaming giant Nexon. That from the late husband whose property is not settled.
Only Cho Hyun-sang (No. 44) and Cho Hyun-jun (No. 47) of industrial conglomerate Hyosung Group returned to Japan this year. Shares in Hyosung Advanced Materials, a subsidiary that produces carbon fiber used in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, supported investor optimism about emission-free vehicles.
Notable among the nine drop-offs this year was LG’s Koo Bon-joon, who donated a portion of LG’s stake to three charities, some of them from the subsidiaries of LX Holdings. Donated to store clothes. This year’s wrist cut is $950 million, a slight increase from $940 million in 2021.