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Korea’s 400 richest people own average $445m, says report

Publication Date : 05-08-2014


The average wealth owned by the 400 richest people in the country reached 459 billion won ($445.3 million), according to data compiled by, a local conglomerate research firm on Monday.

Among the list, 35 individuals had assets exceeding 1 trillion won.

The data was based on the top managers of 1,883 listed and 21,280 nonlisted companies here. It found that the combined wealth of the 400 richest people totaled just under 183.93 trillion won as of July.

The findings also showed that the 10 richest people in the country inherited their wealth from their parents and were associated with family-run conglomerates. Only 10 of the 35 “super rich” were self-made.

Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee led the pack, with his personal wealth estimated at 13.28 trillion won, followed by 7.64 trillion won for Chung Mong-koo, head of Hyundai Motor Group.

Both are second-generation entrepreneurs who inherited their wealth and business group from their fathers.

Coming in third at just shy of 5.18 trillion was Lee Jay-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co. and the de facto heir to Lee Kun-hee, his father. Chung Eui-sun, the only son and successor to the incumbent Hyundai Motor chairman, had a personal wealth of 4.46 trillion won.

Suh Kyung-bae, the chairman of Amore Pacific Group, Korea’s leading cosmetic and beauty product maker, came in fifth at 4.34 trillion won, mainly due to the spike in share prices.

Besides these men, SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won is worth 3.5 trillion won, with Shin Chang-jae, Kyobo Group’s head, having assets hitting 2.23 trillion won. Shin Dong-bin, who leads the Lotte Group, the country’s fifth-largest family-run conglomerate, had 2.19 trillion won, followed by Lee Jay-hyun, head of CJ Group, with 2.15 trillion won. Shin Dong-joo, the older brother of Shin Dong-bin and vice chairman of Lotte Japan, owned 1.97 trillion won in assets.

Among tycoons who amassed their fortunes on their own, Booyoung Group’s founder Lee Joong-keun ranked No. 1, with his personal wealth tallied at 1.81 trillion won. He was followed by Kim Jung-ju, chairman of the online game company NXC, with 1.47 trillion won and Naver’s largest shareholder, Lee Hae-jin, at 1.34 trillion won. Other on-line and information technology company managers such as NC Soft Corp.’s head Kim Taek-jin, KakaoTalk manager Kim Bum-soo and NHN Entertainment chief Lee Jun-ho, all had assets exceeding 1 trillion won.

Among the top 400 richest people, 27, were women, with all having family ties with large family-run conglomerates.

Lee Myung-hee, sister of the incumbent Samsumg chairman, runs Shinsegae Group, the country’s largest retail company. Hong Ra-hee, the director of Leeum Samsung Museum, is Lee Kun-hee’s wife, while Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun are the daughters of the Samsung patriarch.

Lee Boo-jin controls the Hotel Shilla and is worth 1.32 trillion won, while her younger sister, the head of Cheil Industries, had assets estimated at 1.27 trillion won.

The latest report by said the youngest in the top 400 was the 28-year-old daughter of Seoul Semiconductor Co. CEO Lee Chung-hoon, while the oldest were Shin Kyuk-ho, the founder of Lotte Group, and Yun Jang-sub, the honorary chairman of Sungbo Chemical Co., who are both 92.


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