Investor's Corner

Tesla fans from Korea have amassed $15 billion worth of TSLA

Credit: Tesla China/Twitter

Tesla fans from South Korea are going all-in on the electric vehicle maker, so much so that retail investors in the country now hold about 1.6% of the company. This makes the collective stake of South Korean TSLA investors more substantial than some of the company’s biggest shareholders, such as T. Rowe Price Group Inc. 

Amidst the growing wealth gap in South Korea, retail investors have taken on the habit of purchasing stocks that are both high-risk and high-reward. Tesla, arguably one of the market’s most volatile stocks, has become a favorite. Throughout the pandemic, South Korean TSLA investors have increased their combined holdings more than a hundredfold, to more than $15 billion. 

As noted in a Bloomberg News report, some South Korea-based retail shareholders have decided to go all-in on TSLA. Among these were Park Sunghyun and her husband, who sold their home in Seoul and moved to a rental apartment with their 7-year-old child. The family put its $230,000 savings into TSLA stock. It’s a risky bet, but it was one of their best options. 

In a statement to the publication, Park noted that she and her husband actually wanted to purchase a bigger home after selling their house in late 2019, but they were left stranded as real estate prices in Seoul saw a massive increase. As the cost of apartments in the greater Seoul metropolitan area doubled over the past five years, they found themselves in a tight spot. 

“I thought I would live well by working at a good company after college, but the reality is that we are the poorest in our neighborhood. Living as a salaried worker, there are so many limitations,” Park said. 

As any Tesla retail investor would know, investing in TSLA stock is not for the faint-hearted. Despite the volatility, as well as the fact that Tesla shares have dropped over 25% since their 2021 high, Park noted that they’re still up 1,900% over the past three years. This compares very favorably to the results of Samsung Electronics Co.— South Korea’s most widely-held stock — which saw an increase of 40%. 

Tesla has become very popular among younger Koreans as well, especially those with fewer assets than family units like the Parks. Son Gilhun, a 27-year-old forklift driver, noted that he eventually fell into a panic because he realized that he might never be able to afford a home. Through sheer hard work and discipline, the forklift driver decided to follow the example of his older colleagues and bought stocks. 

Son placed half of his $2,000 monthly paycheck into equities and lived frugally. He gambled heavily on Tesla, which ultimately helped him amass a stock portfolio worth about $100,000 during the pandemic. In June, when TSLA shares fell below $700, he boosted his stake in the electric vehicle maker and trimmed his holdings in Korean companies. Today, Son hopes to purchase a Tesla for himself, and later on, purchase a house. 

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Tesla fans from Korea have amassed $15 billion worth of TSLA
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