The Most Profitable Companies Of South Korea

The headquarters of Samsung in Seoul, South Korea.  Editorial credit: DiegoMariottini /
The headquarters of Samsung in Seoul, South Korea. Editorial credit: DiegoMariottini /

The Republic of Korea, commonly known as South Korea, is an East Asian nation. It is ranked the 107th largest nation in the world covering  100,363 km2 (38,750 sq mi). It has a population of approximately 51.4 million people, of which about 10 million are found in Seoul, the country's largest and capital city. South Korea is a high-income economy. Its nominal GDP ($1.655 trillion) and GDP PPP ($2.139 trillion) ranks 11th and 14th globally respectively. Several of the world's largest companies by revenue are headquartered in the country, including well-known brands such as Samsung, Hyundai, LG, and Kia among others. 

The Top South Korean Companies By Profitability

1. Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics is one of the largest companies in the world and is South Korea’s most profitable company generating revenues valued at $173,957 million and profits totaling $19,316 million. Samsung Electronics was founded on January 13th, 1969 as an electronics company which dealt primarily with the production of electronic appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and televisions. Samsung Electronics is synonymous with smartphones since the company began the production of smartphones. Currently, Samsung Electronics is the largest producer of smartphones, televisions, and semiconductor chips in the world. The total assets held by Samsung Electronics are valued at $217,104 million.

2. Hyundai Motor

Hyundai Motor Company is another top South Korean company based on profitability with the company’s annual revenues reaching $80,701 million and profits amounting to $4,659 million. Hyundai Motor Company is involved in automobile production and is the world’s third largest automobile manufacturer in 2016. The company’s Ulsan production facility is one of the largest of its kind in the world with an annual production capacity of up to 1.6 million units. Hyundai Motor Company is also the largest automobile company in South Korea and was founded on December 29th, 1967 by Chung Ju-Yung.

3. SK Holdings

SK Holdings is a conglomerate based in South Korea and is made up of 95 affiliate and subsidiary companies. Also known as the SK Group, SK Holdings is one of the largest conglomerates in the country with an annual revenue of $72,579 million and a net profit of $659 million. SK Holdings, which was formerly known as the Sunkyoung Group, was founded on April 8th, 1953 by the late Chey John-Hyun. The conglomerate is involved in many industries which cut across most sectors of the South Korean economy which range from shipping to chemical production. However, the core business of SK Holdings is telecommunications as well as energy. The company has assets valued at $85,332 million.

Future of the South Korean Economy

The economy of South Korea is expected to continue growing with the country investing heavily in technological advancements to lure more IT-based companies to set up shop in the country. The only point of concern that worries economists is the ongoing friction between South Korea and neighboring nation to the north, North Korea. Although in September 2018, the leaders of the two nations agreed to work together to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula, countries around the world are watching to see those words in action.

The Most Profitable Companies Of South Korea

RankCompanyHeadquartersRevenue, 2017 ($M)Profit, 2017 ($M)Assets, 2017 ($M)
1Samsung ElectronicsSuwon173,95719,316217,104
2Hyundai MotorSeoul80,7014,659148,092
3SK HoldingsSeoul72,57965985,332
4Korea Electric PowerNaju51,5006,074147,265
5LG ElectronicsSeoul47,7126631,348
7Kia MotorsSeoul45,4252,37342,141
9Hyundai Heavy IndustriesUlsan33,88146940,783
10Hyundai MobisSeoul32,9722,61734,541
11Samsung Life InsuranceSeoul26,2221,770219,157
12Lotte ShoppingSeoul25,44414434,710
13Samsung C&TSeoul24,2179236,816
14LG DisplaySeoul22,84078120,606
15GS CaltexSeoul22,2071,22115,969

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