Kakao Chairman Kim Beom-su, 55, has become the richest man in Korea, Bloomberg reported on Thursday (local time).
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index (BBI), Chairman Kim has 13.5 billion U.S. dollars in net assets, surpassing Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, whose net assets reach 12.3 billion dollars.
South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service said that Chairman Kim is Kakao's largest shareholder with a 14.12% stake (about 9.225.4 trillion won). Chairman Kim holds a 100 percent stake in KCube Holdings, the second largest shareholder of Kakao (11.22 percent). Meanwhile, Vice Chairman Lee holds shares in Samsung Electronics (0.7 percent), Samsung C&T (17.33 percent), and Samsung Life Insurance (0.06 percent).
Chairman Kim's stake valuation has risen significantly due to a surge in Kakao shares. Kakao shares rose 91 percent this year alone, increasing the size of its assets by more than $6 billion. Its shares rose as Kakao aggressively expanded its business sectors such as mobility, games, and shopping and its affiliates' value increased due to listing Kakao Games.
Bloomberg focused on the fact that Chairman Kim was so poor that his family of eight lived in a single room during his childhood. He said earlier this year that he would donate more than half of his wealth to solve social problems and established a non-profit foundation called "Brian Impact" last month.
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