SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Yonhap) — Kim Beom-su, the founder of South Korea’s top mobile messenger operator Kakao Corp., said Thursday that his role model is Bill Gates and that he wants to further benchmark the steps of the U.S. business magnate following his donation pledge.

In an online conference with employees, Kim, who recently pledged to donate more than half of his assets worth over 10 trillion won (US$9 billion), shared his ideas of donation and the company’s future.

“My role model for solving social problems is Bill Gates,” Kim said. “He started a company and created a foundation, and it first made me realize that a company can do such things, so I have been benchmarking him.”

This photo provided by Kakao Corp. on Feb. 25, 2021, shows Kakao founder Kim Beom-su speaking at an online conference with his employees. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft Corp., runs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world’s largest private foundations that focuses on global issues, including poverty and healthcare.

Kim hinted that he may also establish a foundation to tackle social issues.

“The Giving Pledge was made by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and it became like a culture for IT businessmen in the United States,” he said. “Maybe we should follow that step and I think we can also apply ‘creative capitalism,’ which Gates has been talking about.”

About his pledged donation estimated at around 5 trillion won, Kim said he wants to use the money immediately where support is needed.

“I want to go with a structure which we can set up a schedule for spending,” he said. “I prefer a project-type operation. If there’s a problem, I just want to try something to solve it.”

Kim said he is interested in those who prepare for the future, people who lack opportunities due to the digital divide, and talents in artificial intelligence (AI).

“I’m thinking of setting up an AI campus to foster talents,” he said. “I want to make a system which people can participate in not only online, but also offline.”

Kim also emphasized the importance of startup companies, saying that he hopes he can see Kakao employees or their children running startups in the future.