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Lee Hae-jin, the head of No. 1 Internet portal operator NAVER Corp., saw his stake value hover above 1 trillion won (US$939.4 million) on the back of its messenger service LINE, data showed Wednesday.
The combined value of Lee’s shares came to 1.04 trillion won Tuesday after shares of NAVER, formerly known as NHN, surged 8.97 percent from the previous trading session, according to the data by market researcher Chaebul.com.
Market watchers said the increase is attributable to the growing profits from its messenger service LINE, which held some 260 million worldwide users as of Oct. 1, with the figure expected to reach 300 million at end-October.
LINE is one of the two major players in the mobile app market in the country along with KakaoTalk messenger service by Kakao Corp.
The rise also came as his shares gathered ground after NHN Corp., the then operator of NAVER, divided into NAVER Corp. and NHN Entertainment Co. in a bid to focus on its mainstay business.
Lee also ranked No. 1 among local stock-rich tycoons in terms of valuation gains, with his stake value soaring 105.6 percent Tuesday from 505.8 billion won tallied on Jan. 2, 2013.
Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee, meanwhile, maintained his position as South Korea’s richest shareholder with stakes valued at 11.7 trillion won as of Tuesday, the data also showed.
Chung Mong-koo, chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, came in the second spot with a net worth of 7.1 trillion won, followed by Chung Eui-sun, the vice chairman of No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor Co., a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group, with 3.4 trillion won.
Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, ranked fourth with 2.24 trillion won, trailed by Suh Kyung-bae, who heads South Korea’s top cosmetics manufacturer Amore Pacific Corp., with 2.24 trillion won.
As of October, South Korea held 16 stock-rich tycoons with stake values hovering above the 1 trillion-won mark.