[THE INVESTOR] Kwon Hyuk-bin, the founder and chairman of South Korean game company Smilegate Holdings, has been ranked the fourth richest in Korea, with a net worth of US$5.3 billion.
According to the data compiled by Bloomberg, Kwon ranked 274th among the 500 wealthiest people in the world as of Dec. 9, beating Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo, with assets of US$4.7 billion that put him 328th globally and fifth in Korea.
Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee is the richest in South Korea with a net worth of US$14.6 billion, ranking 60th in the world. AmorePacific Chairman Suh Kyung-bae followed the list with US$6.8 billion to rank 194th globally. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong ranked the third richest here and 247th in the world, possessing US$5.8 billion,
Kwon’s tech rivals Lee Hae-jin, founder of online portal Naver, and Kim Jung-ju, online gaming company Nexon founder and chairman of its holding company NXC, were not included in the coveted 500 wealthiest ranking.
Kwon, a self-made billionaire, founded the company in 2002. He then acquired enormous wealth after launching the first-person-shooter game “CrossFire” in 2007, which was a blockbuster hit in China. The online game, which was introduced in the Chinese market with Tencent Holdings, generated more than 1.5 trillion won (US$1.28 billion) in sales from the country alone in 2015. At one point, over 6.5 million users were playing the game globally.
Aided by the huge success in China, the company’s operating profit jumped from 1.9 billion won in 2008 to 330.4 billion won in 2015.
Kwon owns the entire stake in unlisted Smilegate Holdings.
By Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com)