If the early 2010s was the popularization of hip hop into a global music genre, the latter part of the decade has seen the Korean music genre, K-Pop, go from being a lesser-known genre into one with a global following. This has resulted in the popularity of several K-Pop bands like BTS, BlackPink, Seventeen, and others, with its members becoming some of the richest K-Pop idols in the world.
Using sources like the celebrity finance tracking website, CelebrityNetWorth.com, and other platforms like JoongAng Daily, we took a look at the top ten richest K-Pop idols right now, along with their net worth.
Richest K-Pop Idols in the World
1. Kim Jaejoong – $88 Million
Best known by the stage name Hero Jaejoong, the South Korean singer, songwriter, actor, director, and designer Kim Jaejoong is undoubtedly an enigmatic being, a K-Pop idol with fast-rising income . Kim joined the entertainment world in 2001 and for seven years he was the lead vocalist of the boy band TVXQ before founding the JYJ in 2009. Ever since then, the young artist has only continued to soar higher.
His albums WWW, No.X, Flawless Love and Love Covers always have a way of topping the charts on various musical categories not only in his country but in Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines, to name a few. However, his first solo mini-album I remain his most successful following its immediate commercial success in various countries of the world.
Kim’s acting, directing career is no less a success. The idol has earned an enviable reputation for every role he plays in the production of quality entertainment. While he is busy making a good income from his career, he also never fails to live comfortably and make good investments. In addition to owning a luxury apartment and luxury car collection, the idol also owns businesses that help increase his wealth. Some of them include his Cafe J Holic located in Myeongdong, Coffee Cojjee in the Samsung-dong region, KAVE MALL in Shibuya, Japan, a Japanese restaurant, Bum’s Story in Gangnam and his very own fashion brand MOLDIR.
2. Psy – $64 million
Before K-Pop became a dominant genre of music globally, Psy took the world by storm in 2012 when he released the song, Gangnam Style. The track, which was a single off his sixth album, Psy 6 (Six Rules), became a global phenomenon, topping several charts across the globe.
Its popularity was aided by its charming video, which became the first video in YouTube history to reach more than 1 billion views. Today, the video has more than 3.2 billion views. On an estimate, according to Celebrity Net Worth and Korea Times, Psy made as much as $40 million from Gangnam Style alone through social media (YouTube et al.), concerts, and TV commercials.
Combined with eight album release, multiple endorsement deals as well as a continued stay as the most popular K-pop artist ever, it is no wonder that Psy leads the pack among the richest idols of K-Pop music.
3. G-Dragon (Kwon Ji-Yong) – $53 million
Coming in at the second place of the top ten richest K-Pop idols in the world today is Kwon Ji-Yong, more commonly known as G-Dragon. The South Koren rapper, record producer, and singer/songwriter has been a member and leader of the K-Pop hip hop boy band, Big Bang, since 2006.
G-Dragon started singing at the age of 6, becoming a professional singer at the age of 18. He has had a long career as a member of Big Bang, as well as a successful solo career that has put G-Dragon at the top among music exports from Korea.
He has released three studio albums, more than 14 singles, and two EPs as a single artist, and has been a part of more than 40 music projects as a member of Big Bang.
As a songwriter, G-Dragon earns as much as $700,000 a year in royalties and has made his $30 million net worth via other means such as endorsement deals as well as his career as a model and fashion designer.
4. Rain (Jung Ji Hoon) – $49 Million
Rain’s fast rise in the K-Pop world wouldn’t be much a surprise considering his resilience and determination to maintain his mega-superstar status across the Asian entertainment industry. The South Korean singer-songwriter, actor, and music producer started out as a background dancer and today we have over six studio albums and over twenty-eight singles to his name.
As an actor, the star has a career that has seen him appear in more than 20 movies and TV shows, including documentaries and reality shows.
More commonly known by his stage name, Rain, he has gone on multiple tours, two of which were world tours, which further expanded his earning potential.
Aside from music and acting, he has also made his net worth from endorsement deals, earning an income of $1- $1.5 million per deal. Some of his brand partnerships over the years include Pizza Hut, Hyundai, and Pepsi.
5. Choi Si-won – $44 million
Member of South Korean boy band, Super Junior, Cho Si-won has stormed to the front of the pack among K-Pop artists working today. The singer, who is also a songwriter, model, and actor, began his career in the entertainment industry when he was 18, after signing for SM Entertainment at the age of 16.
As a member of Super Junior, he has more than 30 music albums to his name. As a solo artist, he has worked primarily as an actor, making his debut in the medium in 2006 and has appeared 20 movies and TV shows since.
His success as a member of the boy band and an actor has helped Cho Si-won to a net worth of $18 million, making him one of the richest K-Pop idols in the world today.
6. Lee Hyori – $30 Million
Lee Hyori is no doubt one of the most popular and successful female K-Pop Stars we could think of. Lee started off with the Fin.K.L girl group as its vocal leader and her efforts contribute to the group’s sale of over 2 million albums.
With songs like “To My Boyfriend” and “Blue Rain” topping several musical charts, Hyori became one of the highest-paid female singers in her country. Upon Fin.K.L’s demise in 2003, this South Korean idol released her very first solo album Stylish, with her debut single “10 Minutes” becoming very popular and winning awards. Additionally, her first four albums were known to have all peaked at #1 on the Korean charts.
Outside the music world, Hyori took advantage of her extreme beauty to elevate her career as a TV personality. This idol who once made a name as one of the “Nation’s Fairies,” has appeared in many TV shows and the movies all which contribute to her massive wealth.
7. T.O.P (Choi Seung Hyun) – $26 Million
K-Pop’s rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer and actor T.O.P is today recognised as the lead rapper for one of Asia’s bestselling K-pop boy band, BigBang. In addition to his rap talent, this idol has acted and even appeared in numerous TV commercials. He repeatedly earned juicy endorsement deals that have contributed to his fast-growing income.
Choi was in 2013 named as one of the hottest sex symbols by Rolling Stone. The same year, his second digital single “Doom Dada.” made it to #1 on Dazed magazine’s Top 10 K-Pop tracks. As an actor, he has appeared in Story of Men, 71: Into the Fire, Tazza: The Hidden Card, Nineteen and Out of Control.
T.O.P purchased a whole grape villa in Argentina. The villa worth over $2.5 million, produces 8,000 bottles of wine on the average.
8. Taeyang – $24 million
His real name is Dong Young-bae, but you are more likely to know him as Taeyang. A decision to pursue a music career from the age of six led him to become a member of the South Korean boy band, Big Bang, which has two of the richest K-Pop idols on this list.
Taeyang stands out as a member of Big Bang because he is also a dancer, and he is the group’s lead vocalist because of his exceptional voice, which has given him a reputation as one of the best vocalists in South Korea.
Taeyang has built his net worth of the shared success of Big Bang, but on his own, parts of his $20 million fortune have come from endorsement deals with companies like Lexus and Fendi, and a solo career that has seen him sell more than 10 million records worldwide.
9. Lee Ji Eun – $20 million
The second female K-Pop artist to make the list of the top ten richest idols in the genre, she began her career in 2008, just a couple years before K-Pop became a global phenomenon. Popularly known as IU, Lee Ji-Eun rose to popularity as a musician in 2010 and has maintained her place among top-ranking K-Pop musicians ever since.
She has more than 14 projects to his name and has released more than 40 singles, selling more than 776,000 albums and more than 95 million digital downloads, with a record of more than ten songs sharing on the Billboard K-Pop Hot 100.
Aside from her music career, like a lot of famous K-Pop artists, she is also an actress and has appeared in several movies and TV shows. Her popularity as a musician has also helped her to many endorsement deals, helping her to a net worth of $15 million and a seventh-place among the richest K-Pop idols today.
10. Sandara Park – $18 million
Sandara Park struts in at number six of the richest K-Pop idols today with a net worth of $16 million. She was a member of the K-Pop girl group, 2NEI, which is one of the best-selling girl groups of all time.
She began her career in 2004 after competing in a talent search program, Star Circle Quest. Although she is a reputable singer and songwriter, she started her career as an actress, one that she still maintains to date.
As a member of 2NEI, she has 19 music projects to her name, including EPs, studio albums and live albums. As a solo artist, Sandara Park has an EP and a couple of singles to her name.
In acting, Sandara Park has made more than 25 appearances in movies and TV shows, through which she has achieved her incredible net worth. She has also earned considerably from endorsement deals with brands like Canon, Nikon, Adidas, and several other international brands.