South Korea’s third-richest billionaire, Kim Bum Soo, founder of Kakao Corporation, has signed the Giving Pledge initiative, launched by billionaire Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, pledging to donate most of his wealth to help solve social problems.
In a New Year message, Kim pledged to his company employees to donate more than half of his fortune to these goals.
Kim and his wife Mason Hyung are the 220th on the signatories to the initiative Warren Buffett started in 2010 with Bill Gates and his wife Melinda to encourage the wealthy to donate to charity.
The initiative has been joined by billionaires from 25 countries, including Tesla founder, billionaire Elon Musk, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson.
Kim joins the Korean billionaire Kim Bong Jin, founder of the food delivery app Woowa Brothers, who also signed Buffett’s initiative with his wife last month.
“After achieving the wealth that I was seeking, I am starting to feel bored and lack a direction in life,” said Kim in a statement, who grew up in a poor family.
As part of adopting a strategy to influence the lives of many Koreans, Kim launched a project to support 100 startup executives. Kim aims to explore suitable alternatives to the educational system for future generations.
Kakao Corp’s market value is about 42.534 trillion won ($ 37.6 billion), based on today’s share price of 479,000 won ($ 423.47).
Kim is the third richest person in South Korea, with a net worth of $ 9.3 billion, according to real-time statistics from Forbes.
Kim managed to increase his fortune by 232% in less than a year, reaching $ 2.8 billion in April of last year.
The KakaoTalk app, founded by Kim, has about 52 million users worldwide, according to Bloomberg, and about 90% of the South Korean population uses the app.
Kakao acquired the nation’s # 2 Daum search engine for $ 3.3 billion, in 2014.
Kim is a co-founder of NHN Entertainment, a gaming company affiliated with the nation’s largest search engine Naver, and in 2017, Kim bought Upbit, the nation’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, through his holding company K Cube Ventures.
Founded in 2010, Kakao Corporation has been able to take advantage of social distancing measures, many people have turned to its messaging app, e-commerce platform, and online games.
Kakao Corp’s profit last year was 167.077 billion won ($ 147.7 million), compared to losses of 341.925 billion won ($ 302.29 million) in 2019, according to its financial results posted on its official website.