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Samsung heir becomes Korea's richest man in stock value

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (Yonhap)
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (Yonhap)

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has become South Korea’s richest stakeholder, replacing his father’s name that held the title for decades, data showed Wednesday.

The vice chairman’s stock value stood at 9.07 trillion won ($8.35 billion) as of Tuesday, nearly 2 trillion won more than last year, according to CEO Score, a local corporate researcher.

Stock ownership of the 49-year-old heir to the world‘s largest chipmaker is set to grow, as he and his family are to inherit Samsung shares left by late Chairman Lee Kun-hee. The second generation chaebol scion passed away in late October.

If Lee inherits his legal portion of the late chairman’s shares, his stock assets in value is likely to reach some 14.3 trillion won, cementing his title as the country‘s richest man. The inheritance is to be completed next year as it requires massive amount of taxation.

The late chairman’s inheritance is also likely to change the list of the country‘s richest stockholders.

Hyundai Motor Group Honorary Chairman Chung Mong-koo was the second richest as of Tuesday, with his stock ownership valued at 4.95 trillion won.

Chung, however, is to be replaced by Lee Jae-yong‘s mother Hong Ra-hee, as she inherits the largest portion of her late husband’s shares, according to the inheritance law.

The widow to the late chairman is forecast to own Samsung stocks valued at approximately 12.1 trillion won. Her daughters Boo-jin and Seo-hyun are expected to take the third spot together with both of their assets reaching 7.2 trillion won. The two sisters currently hold the 12th spot together.

The list of richest stockholders in 2020, meanwhile, included Kim Beom-soo, board chairman of mobile messenger giant Kakao, with a stock value of 4.81 trillion won. Last year, Kim was the ninth-richest stakeholder but climbed six notches after the mobile messenger firm’s share price surged this year on growing demand for contactless services during the pandemic.

Suh Jeong-jin, chairman of bio similar manufacturer Celltrion, came in eighth with the value of his stocks coming to 2.86 trillion won. Celltrion’s shares nearly doubled this year as expectations of the company developing a vaccine for the new coronavirus increased recently.

Among the top 10 list of richest business tycoons were Bang Jun-hyuk, board chairman of gaming company Netmarble, and Kim Taek-jin, chief of online game company NCSoft, who took the ninth and 10th spots, respectively. Bang owns stocks that are worth 2.61 trillion won, while Kim holds 2.4-trillion won worth of stocks.

Bang Si-hyuk, board chairman of K-pop band BTS’s music label Big Hit Entertainment, became the 14th-richest individual with his shares being valued at 1.96 trillion won.

(wone0102@heraldcorp.com)
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