Comatose Samsung Chairman Still Korea's Richest Man

  • By Jeon Soo-yong

    May 07, 2020 13:56

    The nominal Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, who is in a vegetative state, remains Korea's richest man and one of only four Koreans on Bloomberg's list of top 500 billionaires in the world.

    The others are acting Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong, Seo Jung-jin, CEO of biopharmaceutical company Celltrion, and Kim Jung-ju, the founder of Korea's largest gaming company Nexon.

    Lee senior's net worth decreased by $3.9 billion to $15.7 billion, with his rank dropping from 60th to 65th. His son's wealth dropped $1.1 billion to $5.6 billion.

    From left, Lee Kun-hee, Lee Jae-yong, Seo Jung-jin and Kim Jung-ju

    But Seo's fortune grew by $1.81 billion, the 27th fastest in the world this year, while his ranking also went up from 425th to 236th. Seo holds 35 percent of shares in Celltrion Healthcare, whose share price soared by over 60 percent recently on news that the company is working on a vaccine for COVID-19.

    Kim's net worth jumped by 16 percent to $860 million to $5.74 billion.

    The overall wealth of the 500 global super-rich was $5.37 trillion, down 9.3 percent, or $553.5 billion from last year.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought deep changes in the order of billionaires too, benefiting Chinese IT start-ups in no-contact technology and healthcare as well as tech billionaires, while traditional wealth in energy, fashion and real estate waned. 

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