Samsung chief remains richest man despite tumble in stock value

SEOUL, Jan. 1 (Yonhap) -- Lee Kun-hee, chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., lost more than 5 percent on the value of his stock holdings last year but remained the country's richest man, data showed Wednesday.

Lee's shares in Samsung Electronics and its affiliates were valued at 11.3 trillion won (US$10.8 billion) as of Tuesday, down 5.6 percent, or 673 billion won, from the beginning of last year, according to, which tracks the country's family-run conglomerates, known as chaebol.

But he maintained his status as the country's richest man for the fourth consecutive year after topping the stock-rich list in 2010 when Samsung Life Insurance Co. made its market debut.

Lee's stock value fell after the share price of Samsung Electronics, the world's largest smartphone maker, fell amid concerns of tougher competition with rivals.

Shares of Samsung Electronics fell to 1,372,000 won on the last trading day of last year from 1,525,000 won at the beginning of the year.

Lee controls the multi-tentacled Samsung Group, South Korea's largest family-owned conglomerate that has global tech giant Samsung Electronics and scores of other subsidiaries under its wing.

Chung Mong-koo, the chairman of Hyundai Motor Group and the country's second-wealthiest man in terms of stock holdings, gained 3.8 percent, or 255 billion won, on the value of his stocks to 6.94 trillion won over the cited period.

The share price of the group's flagship Hyundai Motor Co. rose to 236,500 won from 206,000 won.

His only son Eui-son came in third with stock holdings valued at 3.16 trillion won, up 4.3 percent, according to the data.

Suh Kyung-bae, who heads South Korea's top cosmetics manufacturer Amore Pacific Corp., saw the combined value of his shares fall 4.6 percent, or 130 billion won, to 2.72 trillion won.

SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won ranked fifth with stock holdings estimated at 2.57 trillion won.

The data also showed that recent bearish market conditions did not make a dent in the value of stocks held by other conglomerate owners.

According to the data, 10 of the 16 tycoons with stock holdings worth 1 trillion won or more saw their stock value rise last year.

<All rights reserved by Yonhap News Agency>