Kakao’s founding Chairman Brian Kim promises to donate half of his assets to society. The amount is estimated to be more than 5 trillion won ($4.5 billion). Photo courtesy of Kakao

Brian Kim vows to return half of his riches to society

Kakao’s founding Chairman Brian Kim, otherwise known as Kim Beom-su, has promised to return more than half of his wealth to society. Kakao is one of the country’s top online platform.

“Throughout my life, I have promised to donate more than half of my wealth to deal with social issues,” the 54-year-old entrepreneur said in a letter to Kakao employees.

“I strive to address social problems and help people who Kakao has difficulty in approaching.”

As Kim’s stake in Kakao is valued at around 10 trillion won ($9 billion), this means that he is ready to donate up to 5 trillion won ($4.5 billion). The billionaire holds about 25 percent of Kakao directly and indirectly.

That would be the single-largest amount of donation by any Koreans, according to industry tracker CXO Institute.

“Last year, the country’s 100 largest countries donated around $1 billion in total, which shows how great Kim’s decision is,” CXO Institute chief Oh Il-sun said.

“I hope that his good-will acts create a new culture in our society so that many others would follow suit.”

Established in 2010, Kakao has grown into one of the largest Internet firms in South Korea after merging with Daum Communications in 2014. It also acquired such firms as Path and LEON Entertainment.

Its flagship service is KakaoTalk, a free mobile instant messaging application with hundreds of millions of users.

Based on the service, Kakao expanded its business horizon to the banking industry and transportation services.