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Number of Koreans with W1b in assets climbs 10%

A screenshot of KB Financial Group’s Korea Wealth Report 2021 (KB Financial Group)
A screenshot of KB Financial Group’s Korea Wealth Report 2021 (KB Financial Group)


Amid liquidity-driven booms in the real estate and stock markets amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people with assets of more than 1 billion won ($847,000) increased by over 10 percent last year from a year earlier, a report showed Sunday. 

The number of Koreans with financial assets worth over 1 billion won stood at 390,000 last year, taking up 0.76 percent of the total population, according to the Korea Wealth Report 2021 released by KB Financial Group Research Institute.

The latest figure jumped nearly 39,000, or 10.9 percent from 2019’s tally, the second-highest growth since the report was first published in 2011, after the 14.4 percent rise estimated in 2019.

By region, 45.5 percent, or 179,000 people, were living in Seoul, followed by Gyeonggi Province and Busan with 86,000 and 29,000, respectively.
The number of ultrawealthy people -- those with net assets worth $30 million or more -- came in at 7,800 last year, which accounted for some 0.015 percent of the total population. 

The report suggested that a bullish run on the nation’s main bourse has been one of the main drivers of the increase in the value of financial assets.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index hit the historic 3,000 mark in January amid hopes of a global economic recovery, sharply up from 2,100-point level at the end of 2019. In the meantime, the rich population’s combined holdings of personal fortunes totaled 2,618 trillion won at the end of 2020, marking a 21.6 percent rise from the previous year, the sharpest gain in nearly a decade.

According to the report, nearly 60 percent of the rich Koreans’ assets were tied to real estate property, while 36.6 percent of them were invested in financial instruments, including bank deposits, stocks and funds.

Meanwhile, riding on ample liquidity due to COVID-19 stimulus measures, the rich have increasingly turned to stock investing, with nearly 40 percent of them expanding the amount of stock investments throughout this year.

KB Financial Group’s ninth annual report estimated the figures based on various consumer data compiled by the Bank of Korea, KB Financial Group and Statistics Korea, along with its own survey of 400 rich people whose financial assets exceed 1 billion won.

By Choi Jae-hee (cjh@heraldcorp.com)

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