▲ Kim Beom-soo, Chairman of Kakao Board of Directors


According to Bloomberg News, Kakao founder Kim Beom-soo has overtaken Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to become Korea's richest person.



According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Chairman Kim is worth $13.4 billion.



With a net worth of about 15.4 trillion won in Korean money, he was ranked first in Korea, beating out Vice Chairman Lee, who was worth $12.1 billion or about 13.9 trillion won.



Thanks to the high stock price, Chairman Kim was counted to have raised his fortune to $6 billion this year alone, or about 6.9 trillion won in Korean money.



Kakao stock has surged 91% this year alone.



The fact that Chairman Kim, a self-made entrepreneur, has beaten Lee and other chaebol heads who have dominated the Korean economy for decades, in the rankings, took notice, Bloomberg News.



Chairman Kim is well known as a 'dirt spoon' to the extent that eight families lived in a single room when he was young.



After graduating from Seoul National University's Department of Industrial Engineering and founding 'Hangame', he established 'iWe Lab', the predecessor of Kakao in 2006, and launched KakaoTalk messenger four years later, making a so-called 'jackpot'.



Kakao, which has expanded its business beyond mobile messenger to payment, finance, games, and car calling, has significantly increased its share price thanks to the explosive growth in demand for non-face-to-face services in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis last year.



Kakao's market capitalization ranks fourth among companies listed on the Korean stock exchange.



In particular, Bloomberg analyzed that Chairman Kim's fortune has increased significantly this year thanks to investor expectations for the successive IPOs of Kakao subsidiaries.



Kakao Bank, which will be listed next month, is expected to be able to raise 2.6 trillion won if it receives an IPO price that is above the desired range.



Kakao Pay and Kakao Japan are also in the process of going public.



Recently, Chairman Kim made an official pledge to donate more than half of his fortune by participating in 'The Giving Pledge', a voluntary donation campaign started by Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman.



(Photo = Wooahhan Brothers, provided by Kakao, Yonhap News)

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