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LG Group chief is richest Korean under 50

Nation’s superrich group comprises both chaebol members and new business figures


LG Group Chairman Koo Gwang-mo. (LG Group)
LG Group Chairman Koo Gwang-mo. (LG Group)


Among South Korea’s rich stockholders aged under 50, LG Group Chairman Koo Gwang-mo ranks No.1 with an estimated stock value of 2.8 trillion won ($2.55 billion), industry data showed Thursday.

Also, in the superrich group of those with stock assets worth more than 1 trillion won, two were chaebol heirs while the other two were self-made men in the up-and-coming entertainment and game industries -- reflecting the market changes over recent years.

The number of those under 50 and with stock assets worth over 10 billion won came to 180 as of Monday, according to local corporate tracker Korea CXO Institute in a release.

Of this total, over 40 saw their assets value surpass the 100 billion won mark and four were classified as superrich with one trillion won-unit stock assets.

The corresponding survey was conducted on 297 people -- born in 1972 or later -- who hold an executive title in one of the nation’s top 200 conglomerates or possess 5 percent or more in such companies’ listed shares. The value of preferred stocks were excluded from the latest assessment.

Out of the 260 who were stockholders of listed companies, 182 saw their respective stock value total surpass 10 billion won mark and 45 of them owned more than 100 billion won in stock value.

The top spot was held by LG Group Chairman Koo Gwang-mo, 43, who owns 27.53 million shares in the group’s holding company LG Corporation. Value of his equity holdings came to some 2.8 trillion won, based on the market closing price on Monday.

Koo was followed by Lee Seo-hyun, 48, director of Samsung Welfare Foundation and daughter of the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee. Holding 10.45 million shares in Samsung C&T and 3.01 million shares in Samsung SDI, Lee‘s fortune is estimated to be worth 2.9 trillion won.

In case Lee inherits her deceased father’s stock assets within the first half of the year, she is likely to rise to the top post among the under-50 superrich.

Marking his presence as a self-made businessman was Bang Si-hyuk, 49, CEO and Founder of entertainment agency Big Hit. The chief producer of global K-pop boyband BTS holds 12.38 million shares of his company -- estimated at 2.4 trillion won in total value.

Kim Dae-il, 41, cofounder of game developer Pearl Abyss also joined the trillionaire club, with an estimated 1.27 trillion won worth of his company’s shares.

“Idea-based ventures, especially in the game and IT sectors, have provided founders with opportunities to swiftly rise into the superrich level over recent years,” said Oh Il-seon, head of the think tank.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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