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Samsung family ranks 12th wealthiest in Asia

Jan. 29, 2024 - 15:37 By Kim Hae-yeon
Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong (Newsis)

South Korea's Samsung family, led by Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong, has been ranked as the 12th wealthiest in Asia, according to recent data released by Bloomberg. The Samsung family is also the sole Korean conglomerate to be included among “Asia’s top 20 richest families” in the report.

The Samsung family's assets amounted to $18.2 billion, securing the 12th position on the list, according to Bloomberg News on Wednesday.

The latest ranking reflects a drop of two positions from the previous year's $18.5 billion. The collective assets held by the top 20 most affluent Asian families amounted to $534 billion.

In earlier reports, Samsung ranked fifth among Asia's wealthiest entities in both 2019 ($28.5 billion) and 2020 ($26.6 billion). However, by 2022, it had slipped to the 15th position with assets totaling $16.3 billion.

Bloomberg's ranking, compiled as of Jan. 19, excludes first-generation wealth like that of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Jack Ma and India’s Gautam Adani, as well as fortunes held solely by a single heir. In each family's case, their overall net worth combines the wealth from different branches of the family.

Bloomberg's report elaborated on Lee Jae-yong as the one who solidified control over the conglomerate following his father Lee Kun-hee's passing in October 2020. The report also outlined Lee's time in jail due to bribery charges stemming from a scandal that resulted in the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye in 2017. Lee was released on parole in 2021 and granted a pardon the following year.

Meanwhile, the Ambani family, which oversees India's largest oil and telecommunications conglomerate, Reliance Industries, has retained its position as the wealthiest in Asia since the previous year, boasting $102.7 billion in assets.

Mukesh Ambani, chairperson of Reliance Industries, leads the Mumbai-based conglomerate, which possesses the world’s largest oil-refining complex. Additionally, the conglomerate has been diversifying into technology, retail and green energy sectors, with Ambani's children overseeing these distinct business units, according to Bloomberg's report.

Securing the second spot is the Hartono family ($44.8 billion), proprietors of the Indonesian tobacco company Djarum and Bank Central Asia. The third spot was claimed by the Mistry family ($36.2 billion), in charge of the Indian construction and engineering company, Safurj Palonji Group. The group marked up from fourth last year to third this year.

For the first time since 2020, the tally did not feature conglomerate families from mainland China in the top 20. Bloomberg's analysis suggested that the concentration of wealth and power in Asia is shifting as "China's growth slows." The report in turn highlighted India's growing prominence, exemplified by its stock market ranking as the fourth-largest globally, overtaking Hong Kong's.