Hyuk-bin Kwon is a Korean billionaire who is the co-founder of Korea’s third largest gaming company, Smilegate. He is considered as the richest self-made man in Korea.

Let’s talk about 15 things you did not know about Hyuk-bin Kwon.


Hyuk-bin Kwon was born in 1974. He grew up in Jeonju and his parents were working. He is married and has two kids.

2.Role model

As child he did a lot of daydreaming and loved playing the role-playing game Ultima. Its creator was the gaming legend Richard Garriott and he was Hyuk’s role model. Hyuk use to spend his full day playing the fantasy game.


3.Alma Mater

Hyuk is alma mater at President Park Geun-hye at Sogang University where he did his electrical engineering. He was the head of university’s computer science club.

While still in college he was selected into Samsung’s prestigious software program for students and that meant Hyuk had acess to high speed internet connection which was a luxury back in the 1990’s.

4.Failed startup

After college, Hyuk with his two friends started his first venture firm, an online education solution provider called 4Csof in 1999. But it was not a success so after three years he left the company, 4Csof is still in business today.

In 2000, he even developed an editing program targeting video lecturers. He turned down Samsung’s offer of a software position so that he could pursue his goal of developing video games.

 5.Plan to move to U.S.

When Hyuk got married he and his wife planned to move to United States to get am M.B.A from there which would help him to sharpen his business acumen.

At that time South Korea’s online gaming was on the rise and the government upgraded that country’s Internet infrastructure which allowed gamers access to even faster connections. Many of his friends were founding gaming companies. As a boy, Hyuk had built analog games and was also a part of online gaming club in college as he hoped to become a game developer.

So he talked to his wife and postponed his plans to move to U.S. for a year.


Three years after graduation Hyuk-Bin Kwok started an online game company, Smilegate in 2002. He built it into one of the most successful gaming companies in South Korea.

Hyuk got $ 2.6 million in early funding from a private equity firm in Seoul in exchange for a stake but he bought back the stake later on and now owns 100 percent of Smilegate Holdings.

7.Entering chinese market

Hyuk entered the Chinese market in collaboration with China’s Internet giant Tencet in 2008. They launched an online game, CrossFire was a hit. It was the most successful game made by Hyuk’s company. The number of total users of CrossFire reached 8 million within three years.

 8.Largest Shareholder

Hyuk’s Smilegate Holdings, of which he owns 100per cent, is the largest shareholder of Korean mobile game developer SundayToz.


Smilegate Foundation was established by Hyuk’s Smilegate. Through this foundation Hyuk has established schools in China and Vietnam which provide education in IT as well. The foundation initiated several projects. Hyuk donated over $2 million to Sogang University.



Smilegate was given the award “Tower of Export” at an event which was hosted by Korea International Trade Association in 2016.

The firm won the same award in 2014 as well.

 11.Legal battle

In October 2016, Hyuk sued his business partner Kim of a joint set up in China in 2012 over allegations of embezzlement and negligence in relation to an online game distributor. Two months Kim filed a law suit against Hyuk for making false allegations, stating that there might have been “failure in management, but no malpractice.”

12.Lost Ark

Hyuk’s company Smilegate launched their new online game “Lost Ark”. It’s a new multiplayer onlie role-playing game which Smilegate spent seven years and 10 billion won to develop.

Smilegate is planning to expand to overseas market by mulling an initial public offering.

13.Orange farm

Hyuk started ‘Orange Farm’ which is South Korea’s largest private incubator providing support to young entrepreneurs.

The company now operates three Orange Farm centers which accommodates 23 startups.

 Hyuk in an interview said that he started Orange Farm to help people who already have their business started and not to encourage people to start business. As he knew how difficult the path was, he did not want to lead anyone down that path, but those who had already chosen this path he felt a sense of duty to help them.

14.Net worth

Hyuk net worth as on 20th July is 42.8 Billion.


Hyuk has been on Forbes list such as:

  • No 8- Korea’s 50 Richest 2019.
  • No 478- Billionaires 2019.
  • No 39- Richest in Tech 2017