SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) — South Korean retail investors’ holdings of shares in electric vehicle leader Tesla Motors Inc. soared nearly 32 percent this year to cross the US$10 billion mark, data showed Monday.

Local individual investors owned $10.33 billion worth of Tesla shares as of Friday, up 31.9 percent from the end of last year, according to the data from the Korea Securities Depository.

The figure also represents a 73 times increase from the end of 2019 and South Korean retail investors’ most-bought issue among foreign shares.

South Korean retail investors’ ownership of Tesla accounted for 1.28 percent of the EV carmaker’s market value of $825.3 billion as of Friday, up from 1.17 percent at the end of 2020.

The sharp rise in individual investors’ Tesla holdings came amid a jump in its share prices, which promoted individuals’ buying binge. Tesla shares finished at $846.64 on Friday, up about 20 percent from the end of last year.

This year alone, individual investors bought a net $779 million worth of Tesla shares, taking up some 23 percent of local investors’ total net buying of overseas stocks.

Smartphone giant Apple Inc. was the second-most-bought stock by South Korean retail investors with $3.55 billion as of Friday, up 18.7 percent from end-December.

Amazon came in third with $1.84 billion, but retail investors’ holdings of the e-commerce behemoth fell 10.7 percent from the end of last year, according to the data.