More South Korean Are Self Made Millionaires

Michael Song, May 2, 2016, 9:44 a.m.

There are a growing number of self-made millionaires on Forbes magazine's list of Korea's 50 richest people released last week. Some 40 percent of the wealthiest Koreans are self-made, compared to only 18 percent a decade ago. They include Yello Mobile CEO Lee Sang-hyuk (ranked 34th with assets of US$1.05 billion) and Coupang CEO Kim Bom (36th with assets of $950 million).

"There are 20 self-made people on the list... Out of the 20, seven hailed from the tech sector," the magazine said. Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee remains the richest person in Korea with assets of $12.6 billion, followed by Amore Pacific chairman Suh Kyung-bae ($8.4 billion), Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong ($6.2 billion), Smilegate Holdings CEO Kwon Hyuk-bin ($4.9 billion) and Hyundai Motor chairman Chung Mong-koo ($4.8 billion).

"Seven people made the list for the first time this year, including four new billionaires," Forbes said. "But for most fortunes it was a year of decline. Some 29 of those returning to the list saw their net worths take a hit; only 11 fortunes rose." The collective wealth of Korea's richest 50 totaled $105.6 billion, down from $106.4 billion a year earlier.


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