|Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung-jin / Yonhap|
By Kim Jae-heun
The richest person in Korea is Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung-jin, according to Forbes's World's Billionaires List of 2021 revealed Tuesday (local time). The American business magazine estimated the assets of billionaires around the world based on a number of factors, including their company's stock price and exchange rates.
Seo's net assets were valued at $14.2 billion (15.9 trillion won), ranking him as the 145th richest person in the world.
The pharmaceutical firm chairman was listed among the top three billionaires in Korea last year after late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee at No. 1 and NXC CEO Kim Jung-ju at No. 2.
This year, Kim maintained the No. 2 spot with estimated assets of $13.3 billion, followed by Kakao Chairman Kim Beom-su with $9.3 billion coming in third and Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong with $8.3 billion at fourth place.
The number of Korean billionaires increased sharply from 28 in 2020 to 44 this year. A number of them have amassed a huge fortune by investing in cryptocurrencies, listing through special purpose acquisition companies, or in Seo's case benefitting from the COVID-19 pandemic as a pharmaceutical firm.
The world's richest person is Jeff Bezos, CEO of e-commerce firm Amazon, who has claimed the title for four-consecutive years with total assets estimated at $177 billion.
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla, ranked second in the world with assets totaling $151 billion and LVMH Moet Hennessy CEO Bernard Arnault ranked third with assets of $150 billion.
This year, the number of billionaires increased by 660 compared to last year to 2,755. There are 493 new billionaires and 210 are from China.
"There was a new billionaire minted every 17 hours last year," Forbes wrote.