Monday, July 22, 2024

Top 50 Richest Koreans in 2024: AI Boom Boosts Total Wealth to 5 Billion

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South Korea’s wealthiest individuals have seen a significant increase in their collective net worth, reaching a total of 5 billion in 2024. This surge in wealth can be attributed to the rebound of the Kospi index and a growing investment in AI technology across the country.

Jay Y. Lee, the executive chairman of Samsung Electronics, claimed the top spot on the list for the first time with a net worth of .5 billion. The shares of Samsung Electronics experienced a boost as the company announced the development of high-bandwidth memory chips for AI computing.

Michael Kim, a private equity mogul who held the title of the richest individual last year, saw his net worth remain steady at .7 billion, causing him to slip to the second position. Seo Jung-jin, the cofounder of drugmaker Celltrion, maintained the third spot with a net worth of .5 billion, marking an increase of .8 billion from the previous year. Cho Jung-ho, the chairman of Meritz Financial Group, also experienced a substantial 82% increase in net worth to .2 billion, securing the fourth spot on the list after a successful merger of the company’s insurance and securities units.

The list of Korea’s wealthiest individuals welcomed four newcomers, with three of them amassing wealth from companies involved in AI chips. The fourth new entrant, Park Soon-jae, the cofounder of biotech firm Alteogen, sealed a profitable licensing deal with Merck that could potentially bring in milestone payments exceeding 0 million. Additionally, four previous members made a return to the list, including Chang Byung-gyu, the founder of online gaming firm Krafton, whose shares saw a rebound of over 30% due to the popularity of the Indian version of its game, PUBG: Battlegrounds.

Despite some challenges faced by individuals like former billionaire Chung Yong-ji, whose biotech company faced setbacks, the overall trend for Korea’s top earners has been positive. The country’s emphasis on AI technology investment and efforts to establish itself as a global chip production hub have significantly contributed to the growth of wealth among its wealthiest individuals.

The methodology behind compiling the list involved gathering shareholding and financial information from various sources to determine the net worth of the individuals and families included. Valuations were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of April 2, 2024, with private companies valued based on their publicly traded counterparts. The list may feature foreign citizens with ties to Korea or significant business connections with the country, and the editors reserve the right to amend information or remove individuals based on new developments or updated data.

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