BTS producer Kang Hyo-won becomes South Korea's best-paid employee

Mr Kang Hyo-won made more than $46 million in the January to July period.
Mr Kang Hyo-won made more than $46 million in the January to July period.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (AFP) - Mr Kang Hyo-won, the producer behind K-pop sensation BTS, was the highest-paid employee in South Korea in the first half of this year, outranking some of the country's richest business leaders.

The trailblazing septet have reached global superstardom with their single Dynamite (2020) entering the Billboard Hot 100 at number one last year, making them the first South Korean act to top the American chart.

They are credited with generating billions of dollars for the South Korean economy, and their label Hybe made a high-profile stock market debut last year.

Mr Kang, 37, the chief producer of several of the group's mega-hits including Blood Sweat & Tears (2016), DNA (2017) and Idol (2018), made more than 40 billion won (S$46 million) in the January to July period, a regulatory filing by his agency Hybe showed.

That made Mr Kang, also known as Pdogg, the top paid staff member at any listed South Korean company in the first half of the year, reports said on Wednesday (Aug 18).

His wages were around 38 million won, but Mr Kang also earned 39.9 billion won from stock options and 111 million won in incentives, according to his company.

In second place was Mr Chung Mong-koo, the honorary chairman of South Korean car giant Hyundai Motor Group.

Mr Chung, 83, earned 30.2 billion won, mostly in severance pay from Hyundai Mobis, the automaker's parts and service arm.

Two other Hybe executives - chief executive Yoon Suk-joon and chief managing director Kim Shin-gyu - were ranked third and fourth.