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Korean investors hold $7.8b of Tesla stocks

A Tesla Model Y vehicle is pictured at a Tesla Center in east China's Shanghai on Monday. (Xinhua-Yonhap)
A Tesla Model Y vehicle is pictured at a Tesla Center in east China's Shanghai on Monday. (Xinhua-Yonhap)
South Korean investors held a combined $7.8 billion worth of Tesla stocks at the end of last year, data showed Friday, capping off a meteoric rise in 2020 to become Korea’s most-owned foreign stock.

This accounted for 16.6 percent of the entire $47 billion foreign currency-denominated stock holdings of Korean individuals and corporations as of December, according to data from the Korea Securities Depository. Tesla was not among the top 10 foreign stocks in 2019.

Alongside Tesla, US technology giants were the top five destinations of Korean investors. Koreans owned $3 billion shares of consumer electronics firm Apple, $2 billion stocks of e-commerce platform Amazon, $1.1 billion of video card maker Nvidia and $1 billion of software-to-cloud computing firm Microsoft.

The KSD data also showed that the volume of Koreans’ foreign stock holding jumped more than threefold through 2020. Stocks accounted for all of the foreign securities under custody of KSD, worth $72.2 billion.

The US stock rally was behind the trend. US stocks accounted for nearly 80 percent of the total foreign stock holdings in end-2020, and their volume increased over fourfold on-year.

KSD, established under the Capital Markets Act in 1974, works to safeguard securities on behalf of Korean securities investors. It has partnered with securities depositories such as Euroclear, Clearstream, Citibank, HSBC and Mirae Asset to allow the custody, settlement and clearing of securities for Koreans investing in some 40 countries.

By Son Ji-hyoung (