Kim Jung-ju is a South Korean businessman, philanthropist and investor. He is the man behind Korea’s largest gaming company, Nexon. He vowed that he would not hand over his company to his children. Here we will tell you about 15 things you did not know about this businessman.
Kim did his BS in Computer Science and Engineering at Seoul National University completed PhD in electronic engineering and computer science at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, he even taught here as Adjunct Professor in 2011. He also holds an MFA in Arts and Management from Korea National University of Arts.
Kim created gaming company Nexon with his partner Jake Song, in 1994. His partner relinquished his stake in Nexon in 1995.Kim served as its CEO till 2005.
Nexon has offices in Korea, Japan, Europe, United States and Taiwan. As of March 2019, Nexon is valued at over US $13billion.
3.First online game
Under the leadership of Kim, Nexon launched the first graphic multiplayer online role playing game, “The Kingdom of the Winds” in 1996. The “freemium” gaming business model was pioneered by Nexon, where the player was free to play the game but had to pay small amounts for updates and to advance faster at each level.
Nexon has released popular and hit games like MapleStory, Mabinogi and Dungeon & Fighter.
There was controversy when Kim moved Nexon’s headquarters from Seoul to Japan, during a process to get it listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2011. It was a first Korean IT company to be listed.
Kim got into a conflict with Kim Taek-jin the founder and chairman of NCSoft. They both wanted to take over Electronic Arts which is the largest gaming company in the US. Nexon bought NCSoft’s stocks to finance the bid and became the biggest shareholder. When their attempt to takeover failed, Nexon became more involved in the management. NCSoft tried to defend itself and finally to end the feud Nexon sold all of its stock in 2015.
5.Family and teaching
Kim was born in South Korea on Feb 22, 1968. He is married to Yoo Jeon-hyeon who is actively involved in managing the company Nexon from the start and they have two children.
He has served as an adjunct professor at Bio and Brain Engineering Department in KAIST.
6.Fan of Lego
Kim has been an avid Lego fan throughout his life and in 2013 as a personal investment he acquired the world’s largest re-seller of the bricks, BrickLink. It’s the largest online marketplace for Lego toys.
7.NXC Corporation and other investments
In 2009, Kim established NXC Corporation by consolidating Nexon’s majority holding of his and his family’s. He currently serves as its CEO. NXC Corporation is the holding company of Nexon.
Kim investments are not limited to just gaming companies, he is known for strategic investments. In 2014, NXC acquired a children’s furniture manufacturer Stokke and JetKids in 2018. Some of his investments through NXC include SmartStudy, OnDemandKorea and SendBird.
Kim joined Collaborative Fund as a partner in 2014. It is a New York based venture capital firm. Craig Shapiro made Kim partner without taking any VC investment as he felt Kim would prove to be a business expert as he had built Nexon into a multi-billion dollar business.
Kim wanted to help startups to expand their business outside US as he felt that localization efforts from an early stage can help brands to reach a more global audience. Collaborative Fund investments are Lyft, Quora, Reddit, Kickstarter and CircleUp.
Kim’s philanthropic endeavors largely support next generation youth mostly in the areas of technology, health and education.
- In 2011, Nexon donated around$1.2 million to help after Japan was hit by earthquake and tsunami.
- In 2016, Korea’s first pediatric rehabilitation hospital, ‘Purme Foundation Nexon Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital’ was started in Seoul in conjunction with Nexon and Neople with a contribution of over US$18 million.
- In 2018, Kim started the Nexon Foundation which is dedicated to children, and he pledged to donate US$93 million from his personal wealth to fund startups and building of children’s hospitals and he vowed that his children would not inherit his stake in the company.
- Kim founded SOHO Impact in partnership with Nexon Foundation; it is a US based non-profit organization which promotes creativity in kids through brick play programs.
10.Asia’s first computer museum
In 2013, Asia’s first computer museum, Nexon Computer Museum in Jeju Island, South Korea was established by Kim. Kim had been collecting valuable computer and gaming collectibles for ten years with the sole purpose of opening such a museum which would be dedicated to the history of technology.
In 2010, Kim was selected as one of Korea’s Top100 Leaders in Technology.
In 2012, he got the Presidential Award, ‘Tin Tower Order of Industrial Service Merit’ for his contribution as a distinguished entrepreneur in South Korea.
12.Resignation as director of Nexon
In July 2016, Kim was indicted for offering bribes to a senior prosecutor, helping him buy unlisted Nexon stocks. A written apology was issued by Kim and he resigned as a director of Nexon. He was found not guilty in the alleged bribery case by the Seoul Central District Court, as they made their first ruling stating that money he had offered could not be considered as kickbacks in exchange for any favor.
13.Stepping in crypto
Kim stepped into the crypto world through his company NXC. In September 2017, Kim through NXC purchased a 65.2 percent stake in cryptocurrency exchange Korbit based in Seoul for 91.3 billion.
In October 2018, NXC bought a stake of 80percent in cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp which is based in Luxembourg for $350.
14.Making it to the Forbes list
Kim made it to the Forbes list holding the third position on Korea’s 50 richest in 2019.
He holds the 244th position on the list of billionaires in 2019,
He was on the 51st position among the richest in tech. 2017.
As of July 2019, Kim’s Net worth is 6.7 billion.