SEOUL, May 14 (Yonhap) -- Kakao Corp., a major South Korean tech firm, beat its rival Naver Corp. in terms of average wage for three consecutive years through 2022, data showed Sunday.
Kakao, which operates the country's most popular mobile messenger, KakaoTalk, saw its average wage reach 139 million won (US$103,422) last year, hovering above the 134.49 million won posted by Naver, according to the data released by the Financial Supervisory Service.
The figure includes gains from exercise of stock options.
The amount marks a sharp rise from 2019, when the average annual paycheck of Kakao came to 80 million won, falling behind Naver's 84 million won.
Kakao CEO Hong Eun-taek received an annual wage of 2.97 billion won in 2022, also above Naver CEO Choi Soo-yeon's paycheck of 1.1 billion won.
The increase came as Kakao expanded its investment personnel expenses after its sales sharply rose during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company saw its sales hit a record-high level at 7.1 trillion won in 2022.
Kakao spent 1.68 trillion won in payroll in 2022, soaring from 911.9 billion won tallied in 2020.
Excluding gains from stock options, however, the average annual wage at Naver reached 120 million won, hovering above Kakao's 95 million won.
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