August 02, 2021 12:21
Kim Beom-su, the founder of mobile messaging giant Kakao, has become the richest man in Korea, overtaking even Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong. A self-made man, Kim (55) worked for Samsung SDS before establishing his own company.
According to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index on Friday, Kim is worth US$13.5 billion, beating Lee's $12.3 billion. Third was Seo Jung-jin, founder of biopharmaceutical company Celltrion whose stock holdings total $9.9 billion.
The index ranks the world's top 500 richest people based on their stock holdings and unlisted shares.
The Samsung scion ranks at the top in Korea when it comes to the value of only listed stocks, but Kim tops him if his 100-percent stake in unlisted K Cube Holdings is included. K Cube Holdings, valued at around W7 trillion, in turn owns an 11-percent stake in Kakao (US$1=W1,148).
Kim grew up in a family of eight who lived in a one-room flat and majored in industrial engineering at Seoul National University. He joined Samsung SDS in 1992 and later founded Hangame and Kakao.
"It's an example of how self-made technology entrepreneurs are climbing the rich list in [Korea], passing members of families that control the country's decades-old conglomerates," Bloomberg noted.
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