Tension with China Hits Korean Impresarios' Pockets

      September 12, 2016 11:46

      Korea's leading showbiz tycoons have lost a lot of money as the fortunes of the stars in their stable suffered from tensions between Korea and China over the regional arms race.

      According to corporate tracker Chaebul.com on Sunday, 18 Korean showbiz figures who own more than W100 million worth of stocks saw the appraised value of their equity holdings plunge 32.9 percent this year to W408.1 billion last week (US$1=W1,102).

      Since most of their holdings are in their own agencies, that suggests their fortunes have been hit by tensions with China over the deployment of a U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here and the ensuing backlash against Korean stars in the vital Chinese market.

      SM Entertainment chairman Lee Soo-man, the richest showbiz tycoon, saw the value of his equity fall 31.2 percent from W182.5 billion to W125.6 billion.

      The shares of YG Entertainment chief Yang Hyun-suk plummeted from W176.8 billion to W112.3 billion. FNC Entertainment head Han Sung-ho's dropped W33.4 billion, and KeyEast Entertainment founder Bae Yong-joon's W12.3 billion.

      Korea's entertainment industry relies heavily on China for sales, and reports of canceled appearances of Korean stars there have hurt related stocks.

      SM's share price stood at W38,400 in July, before Korea announced its decision to let the U.S. station a THAAD battery here. On Friday it was worth only W28,600, down 25.5 percent. YG Entertainment shares fell from W39,850 to W31,800 over the same period, down 20.2 percent.

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