Is EXO richer than BTS? A Comprehensive Breakdown 

As the top boy groups of K-pop’s 3rd Gen. EXO and BTS enjoy astounding wealth. However, many can’t help but wonder which of them is richer. 

When it comes to male artists in the 3rd generation of K-pop, EXO and BTS are the biggest names. If EXO dominates the K-pop boy group scene from 2012 to 2016, then BTS takes the throne right after, with both maintaining a huge fan base and earning hefty money. 

However, while it is undoubted that both BTS and EXO are extremely wealthy, the question of which of them are richer remains.

Is EXO richer than BTS?

Back in 2022, reputable news site South China Morning Post (SCMP) published an article titled “5 richest K-pop groups of 2022, net worths ranked“. 


According to this article, BTS was ranked 2nd, with networth falling within the 120-150 million USD range. Meanwhile, EXO assumed the first place, crossing the astounding benchmark of 1 billion USD. 

This means that by 2022, EXO, as a group, was worth around 6 times more than BTS – and so, EXO is richer than BTS. 

Why EXO is worth so much 

When it was first published, the aforementioned article greatly shocked netizens, who couldn’t believe their eyes while looking at the 1 billion USD next to EXO’s name. 

However, many fans have provided reasons for this fact, stating 3 major causes: EXO debuts without any debt, EXO’s immense popularity from the get-go in big markets, and advertisement deals. 


In particular, contrary to BTS – who debuted in a small company and was buried in around 7.4  million USD worth of debts, EXO is a group under SM Entertainment – a large company that allows its trainees to debut debt-free. 

Additionally, unlike BTS, who take years to earn recognition and a decent-sized fandom, EXO became a top-tier group within a year of debut, leading to the latter quickly amassing their wealth. 


What’s more, with Chinese members in its lineup, alongside visuals and concepts that appeal to Chinese fans, EXO also quickly enjoyed massive popularity in China – a market known for generous spending on K-pop and fan support. 

As a result, EXO were able to earn hefty sums from their activities like fansigns, concerts, and TV show appearances (especially those in China) early in their career – setting the stone for their impressive net worth. 

Finally, it is known that EXO took advantage of one of the most effective profit sources – advertisement deals. The boy group nailed constant endorsements across their career, including big brands like Samsung, Coca-Cola, Lotte Confectionery, and KFC, among various others. 

On the other hand, BTS still does well in the huge market of China, but the lack of Chinese members means they cannot be active in this profitable market due to the Hallyu ban. Additionally, BTS’s focus on group activities leads to the group getting less endorsement deals early in their careers, thus explaining the gap in net worth 

The Current Situation

Now, EXO is richer than BTS by 2022, but as we are in 2024 today, a lot has changed. 

BTS has since branched out with individual activities, with members working together with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Dior, Bottega Veneta, Celine, and more. 


Additionally, BTS’s explosive popularity in the Western markets later on in their career may have raised the group’s net worth by quite a massive amount. 

However, there’s no information on BTS and EXO’s earning as of 2024, so there’s also no telling which of the two groups are richer nowadays. 

Source: SCMP

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