As the popularity of South Korean entertainment continues to skyrocket all around the world (who else watched BTS speak about climate change and then dance up a storm at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City?), the cachet and influence of K-pop stars have never been more staggering. They’re paid big bucks not just to create music or perform at events, but also to associate their names and faces with international brands. They collect royalties on songs, buy massive mansions and have collaborations with top fashion, beauty and lifestyle labels.
And while the stalwart OG pop groups and musicians such as Big Bang, Super Junior, Rain and Psy are still among the top earners in K-pop (the star with the highest net worth is Jin Young Park, former pop idol and founder of JYP Entertainment, who’s valued at a whopping US$200 million), currently red-hot superstars such as the members of BTS and Blackpink aren’t far behind.
Here’s how much your fave K-pop idols are worth.
IU - $45 million
From growing up in abject poverty to being among the richest South Korean celebrities today, IU, born Lee Ji-eun, recently celebrated 13 years in showbiz by rallying some of the brands she works with to donate almost a million dollars’ worth of products to charity. She herself donated about half a million dollars.
The 28-year-old, who’s worth some $45 million, amassed her riches as a successful solo K-pop artiste with a large and varied discography, with chart-topping hits and sold-out concerts under her belt. She also wrote songs for other performers and for K-drama soundtracks. The multi-hyphenate is also a critically-acclaimed actress, starring in hugely popular K-dramas such as Hotel del Luna and Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo. Of course, she’s also a CF (that’s Commercial Film) Queen, endorsing brands such as Samsung, Sony, SK Telecom, CNP Laboratory and soju brand Chamisul.
IU owns several multi-million dollar buildings in prestigious areas, but the sweet-faced superstar doesn’t just spend her moolah on herself. She’s famed for her penchant for giving back, and has donated millions to women’s and children’s charities, struggling students, and towards fighting Covid-19. The generous star also often buys gifts for her fellow actors, musicians and crew members on her shows.
In case you missed it: 10 Korean Stars Who Went From Rags To Riches, Including BTS’ V, Park Bo-Gum and IU