The Korean entertainment industry is booming in 2020. Due to the onset of streaming services, more people worldwide started to become more interested in Korean films and dramas. It propelled several Korean actors and actresses to appear in Hollywood films, while movies like “Parasite” made raves internationally. It even won the Best Film in this year’s Oscars.
Because of their massive success, more Korean celebrities become richer in 2020. Some even earned more money than other Hollywood celebrities nowadays. Here is a list of the highest-paid Korean actors that graced both the big and small screen this year.
#10: Park Bo-Gum – earned $6 million
Park Bo-Gum is one of the most well-loved actors in the Korean entertainment industry. He earned recognition for portraying various roles on TV series, including the psychopathic attorney in “Hello Monster,” a charming Go player in the super successful “Reply 1988” series, and a crown prince in the rom-com TV show “Love in the Moonlight,” among others.
The Korean Business Research Institute also coined the term “Park Bo-gum Effect” due to his product endorsements’ success.
#9: Gong Yoo – earned $7 million
Gong Yoo is one of the most popular actors in South Korea today. He is best remembered for his iconic roles in TV series like “Coffee Prince” and the ultra-hit “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.” Zombie-flick fans also recognized him for portraying the hero in the blockbuster hit movie “Train to Busan” in 2016.
The actor is expected to return on the big screen through an upcoming sci-fi flick, “Seo Bok,” alongside Park Bo-gum.
#8: Lee Seung-gi – earned $8 million
South Korean entertainer Lee Seung-gi, also known as the “Ballad King,” had plenty of hit songs, including “Return,” “Will You Marry Me,” and “Because You’re My Woman.” He further catapulted to superstardom in Asia when he pursued an acting career, particularly in the hit series “A Korean Odyssey” and “Vagabond.”
Aside from singing and acting, Lee Seung-gi is also one of the most popular Korean endorsers nowadays.
#7. Park Seo-jun – earned $12 million
Park Seo-jun is one of the most prolific actors in 2020, making him one of the highest-earners in South Korea this year. He became a household name due to his popular series like “Fight for My Way,” “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim,” and “Itaewon Class.”
Park Seo-jun also earned his riches from his endorsements, including luxury brands like Montblanc and beauty products like Laneige.
#6: Hyun Bin – earned $12 million
Hyun Bin is one of Korea’s most recognizable actors, especially after releasing his very popular romantic drama series “Crash Landing on You” with Son Ye-jin. The multi-awarded actor also received the Presidential Citation Award in 2020 from the Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards.
Also, Hyun Bin is one of the most sought-after endorsers in the country. Companies hailed him as the PR ambassador of both Kia and Hyundai Motors and other brands all over Asia.
#5: Song Joong Ki – earned $14 million
Song Joong-ki’s stardom started when he appeared in the historic drama called “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” in 2010, but his prominence all over the world began after appearing with Song Hye-Kyo in “Descendants of the Sun” in 2016 and 2019’s fantasy series “Arthdal Chronicles.”
Part of Song Joong Ki’s earnings also came from endorsing various products like Hyundai.
#4. Lee Min-ho – earned $15 million
Everyone will remember Lee Min-ho for portraying the role of rich kid Gu Jun-Pyo in 2009’s “Boys Over Flowers.” He went on to appear in various well-loved series like” City Hunter,” “The Heirs,” and most recently, “The King: Eternal Monarch.”
Lee Min-ho is also a popular celebrity endorser. His most recent ones include BBQ Chicken.
#3: Lee Jong-suk – earned $20 million
Model-turned-actor Lee Jong-suk became the youngest model who joined the Seoul Fashion Week in 2005, back when he was 17 years old. Then he ventured into acting when he appeared in young adult rom-com “Hot Young Bloods” in 2014.
Lee Jong-suk earned his riches after appearing in popular Korean dramas like “Doctor Stranger” and “Pinocchio.”
#2: So Ji-sub – earned $31 million
So Ji-sub entered the entertainment world as a model for jeans in 1995, then quickly rose to fame for bagging the lead role in “What Happened in Bali” in 2004.
The actor went on other ventures like book releases and rap EPs, but he always goes back to his love for acting. He even won his first Daesang award at the MBC Drama Awards for his “My Secret Terrius” in 2018.
#1: Kim Soo-Hyun – earned $110 million
Kim Soo-Hyun is one of the most popular Hallyu stars after appearing in various top-rating dramas. He first generated recognition for his role as a country bumpkin who happened to be a musical genius in “Dream High,” then portrayed the role of a king in “Moon Embracing the Sun.”
His international fame arrived when he starred alongside actress Jun Ji-Hyun in “My Live from the Star.” While he had to pause from his blossoming career to enter his obligatory military service in 2017, his popularity never ceased since his comeback series “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” became one of the most popular Asian dramas on Netflix in 2020.