Former Samsung IT employee dethroned Korea’s richest man Lee Jae Yong

Tram Ho

Brian Kim, the founder of Korean messaging giant Kakao, has seen his fortune increase by more than $6 billion this year, helping him rise to number one in the nation’s wealth rankings.

Cựu nhân viên IT Samsung soán ngôi giàu nhất Hàn Quốc của thái tử Lee Jae Yong - Ảnh 1.

Kim currently holds $13.5 billion, according to Bloomberg statistics. This result is thanks to Kakao shares which have increased by 90% in 2021 alone. The second richest person in this country is currently Lee Jae-yong – Vice President of Samsung with $ 12.3 billion.

Kim is hailed as a self-made tech entrepreneur who is rising strongly on the nation’s rich list, surpassing even those who are members of the centuries-old chaebol-controlled clans.

Kakao has now also confirmed Kim’s personal assets.

Cựu nhân viên IT Samsung soán ngôi giàu nhất Hàn Quốc của thái tử Lee Jae Yong - Ảnh 2.

Online lending application KakaoBank – where Kakao holds a 32% stake is also expected to IPO next month. The company plans to raise 2.6 trillion won ($2.3 billion) if all goes well.

Previously, the game division Kakao Games raised 384 billion won after the IPO in September.

Kakao Pay – the country’s largest online payment service had intended to IPO on August 12, but this was postponed after the Korean authorities asked to re-examine the company’s prospectus.

Kim built Kakao in 2006 and launched KakaoTalk four years later. The messaging service has 53 million users globally, 88% of which are in the domestic market.

Kakao has since expanded beyond messaging to payments, banking, games, and even ride-hailing. Currently, this is the 4th largest listed company in Korea with a market capitalization of 58 billion USD.

The Covid-19 crisis has helped increase demand for Kakao’s services as people reduce their online exposure. The company’s profit tripled to $209 million in the first three months of 2021 from a year earlier.

Kim, 55, is the third child in a poor family of five brothers, whose father is a worker and mother is a hotel attendant. When he was young, Kim had to live in extremely difficult circumstances and his whole family had to live in a one-bedroom apartment in a poor district in Seoul. He was the first in his family to attend university and had to pay all tuition fees himself through tutoring.

Kim’s first job was developing online communication services at the IT division of Samsung Corporation. However, he left the company five years later to open an internet cafe and start developing online casino games. Hangame attracted a large amount of traffic and later merged with the search engine Naver to become the NHN web portal that dominated the Korean market.

“In the early days, I worked day and night as an entrepreneur and developer. Then I went to the sauna at dawn and cried there. Although I was proud to be able to be on my own. I run my own company, but I’m also afraid I won’t be able to pay my employees.”

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Source : Genk