The Hallyu (or Korean) wave has swept our Malaysian shores for quite a while now, and shows no sign of receding any time soon. K-pop celebrities earn a pretty penny from selling millions of albums, performances, their roles in popular dramas and movies, and product endorsement deals, but just how wealthy are they in real estate? We’re used to seeing them on-screen acting in various roles or belting out k-pop hits on-stage, but behind those handsome and pretty faces are some really savvy real estate investors. According to popular South Korean TV programme “Night of Real Entertainment” in its April broadcast this year, these are the 10 wealthiest Korean celebrities who currently hold the most amount of real estate:
Note: South Korean currency is the Korean won (₩)
#1 Lee Soo Man (SM Entertainment founder)
He may not be well-known to people outside of South Korea, but he plays an important role in K-pop culture all the same. Some of the biggest K-pop groups like TVXQ, Super Junior, Girls Generation, SHINee and EXO (just to name a few) would not exist without Lee Soo Man, the founder of SM Entertainment, which is one of the largest entertainment companies in South Korea. He holds the top spot in this list with KR₩110 billion ($96.6 million) of real estate, which honestly comes as no surprise, given the huge success of his company.
#2 Jun Ji Hyun (actress)
Often regarded by her fans as a “goddess” because of her natural beauty, this South Korean actress is the only female celebrity to make it into the list. She made headlines earlier this year after purchasing a KR₩32.5 billion ($28 million) building in the Gangnam district of Seoul. The actress now holds KR₩77 billion ($67.7 million) worth of real estate, making her the second wealthiest in terms of property holdings. A previous assessment of this list in 2014 placed her at seventh place, where she was also the only female celebrity in the list. #GirlBoss
#3 Yang Hyun Suk (YG Entertainment founder)
Another founder of one of the “Big 3” music labels in South Korea (the other two are SM Entertainment and JYP Entertainment), the YG Entertainment boss has real estate holdings worth KR₩53.1 billion ($46.3 million). He can certainly afford to invest in plenty of real estate, considering the huge international success of the groups and actors under his label, which include Big Bang, Psy, 2NE1, Lee Jong Suk, and more.
#4 Rain (singer)
Better known by his stage name Rain (real name Jung Ji Hoon), this talented singer-actor gained fame around Asia in 2003 with hit album It’s Raining, followed by his role in the 2004 hit romantic comedy series Full House, and roles in several Hollywood films. He has property holdings worth KR₩43.8 billion won ($38.5 million). Together with his wife, famous actress Kim Tae Hee, the star couple is expected to be worth well over KR₩50 billion ($43.7 million).
#5 Seo Taiji (singer)
Known as the “Father of K-Pop”, Seo Taiji’s total property holdings is said to be KR₩41 billion ($35.8 million). A highly-respected singer, musician, songwriter and record producer, he is one of the most prominent and influential cultural icons in South Korea, with many referring to him as the “President of Culture”. (Can you believe he’s actually 45 years old?! *shocked face*)
#6 Jang Geun Suk (actor)
Don’t let his pretty boy looks fool you – this talented model/actor/singer is rather good at real estate investment, considering he reportedly has KR₩38 billion ($33.1 million) in property holdings. He gained fame and fortune both overseas and in Korea thanks to the Hallyu wave, with memorable leading roles in many Korean drama series like You’re Beautiful and Love Rain.
#7 Cho Jae Hyun (actor)
Veteran actor Cho Jae Hyun has property worth KR₩36 billion ($31 million), and is known for his shrewd real estate investments. Although a successful film and TV actor, he is said to prefer acting in theatrical productions, and even directed several stage plays.
#8 Kwon Sang Woo (actor)
This suave model-turned-actor shot to stardom in 2003 with romantic comedy film My Tutor Friend and melodrama series Stairway to Heaven. He has definitely made good use of his lucrative career as an actor, as evidenced by the properties who owns that are worth KR₩35 billion ($30.5 million).
#9 Song Seung Hun (actor)
Best known for his role as the handsome brooding protagonist in 2000’s hit drama, Autum in My Heart, the 41-year-old actor owns KR₩33.4 billion ($29.3 milllion) worth of real estate. It was reported in 2012 that he took in $50,000 per month by renting out one of the buildings he owns!
#10 Seo Jang Hoon (retired athlete)
A former professional basketball player for South Korea, he retired due to various sports injuries and is now a popular entertainer and variety show star. His property holdings were revealed to be worth KR₩30.9 billion ($27.2 million). Looks like he used the earnings from his time in pro basketball and variety TV to good use! He is also well-known for his generosity, often donating his money to charities and the needy.