Kakao Founder Loses Top Rank on Korean Rich List

      September 23, 2021 11:32

      Kim Beom-su

      Kim Beom-su, the founder of mobile giant Kakao, is no longer the richest person in Korea after his stock holdings tanked amid intensive scrutiny of its business practices by the anti-trust watchdog.

      Kim's net worth totaled US$10.6 billion on Bloomberg's Billionaires Index on Wednesday, and he was overtaken by Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong with $11.1 billion.

      Kim beat Lee for the first time in June to become the richest person in Korea after Kakao shares surged. He holds a 23.89-percent stake both directly and through his ownership of affiliated companies. Kakao's share price hit a 52-week high of W173,000 during intra-day trading on June 24 (US$1=W1,179).

      But Kakao faces attacks from politicians and official probes for gouging from mom-and-pop businesses and trying to flatten the competition, causing its share price to plummet. The stock price nosedived 22.4 percent in the 10 days leading up to Sept. 17, just before Chuseok, to W119,500.

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