Billionaires on the Rise

      November 15, 2021 11:18

      The number of billionaires increased more than 10 percent last year as the wealth gap in Korea widens.

      Some 393,000 Koreans owned more than W1 billion in financial assets last year, up 10.9 percent from the year before (US$1=W1,179). They still make up only 0.76 percent of the population but own a combined W2.62 quadrillion worth of financial assets, up 26.1 percent from 2019. That was the biggest increase since the government began tallying such data in 2010 and was probably due to the stock market bonanza.

      KB Financial Group in a report Sunday said there are 7,800 ultra-rich people in Korea with financial assets worth more than W30 billion, and each owns an average of W155 billion in cash, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and bank deposits.

      Real estate accounted for 59 percent of their total wealth and financial assets 36.6 percent. Their financial assets took up twice the proportion of ordinary households', where the ratio is 78.2 percent real estate and 17.1 percent financial assets.

      The rich increased their investments in funds and stocks this year. The proportion who invested more in stocks rose from 28.3 percent in 2020 to 40 percent this year, while the the proportion who increased investments in funds rose from 11.8 percent to 14.3 percent.

      The report said 60.5 percent of the rich named stocks as the investment that will yield the highest profits in the future, followed by funds (19 percent), gold and precious metals (15 percent), and other financial products.

      Interestingly, they were skeptical about cryptocurrencies, which have enjoyed a craze among smaller investors. Only 3.3 percent said they are interested in cryptocurrencies and 70 percent said they are definitely not interested.

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