Finland’s highest earners are in the gaming industry, with Supercell founder Ilkka Paananen leading the charge

The country is a hub of the global mobile gaming industry

Finland’s highest earners are in the gaming industry, with Supercell founder Ilkka Paananen leading the charge

Income tax data released by Finland’s Tax Administration has revealed the highest earners in the country, with Supercell founder and CEO Ilkka Paanenen identified as the country’s top earner with $60.4 million in 2021, as reported by Euractiv.

This was followed by Reworks founder Ilkka Teppo, who reported $47.7 million in income for the year.

Supercell was also listed as the country’s biggest corporate taxpayer, with the company paying $157.8 million. Paananen and Teppo paid $22.6 and $16.2 million in taxes, respectively, owing to the high tax rate in the country.

Finland’s gaming scene has seen a resurgence in recent years, with existing companies in the country thriving and other gaming companies, such as Netflix Games, opening new studios in the country to take advantage of the local talent. Therefore, Paananen’s massive earnings in 2021 are reflective not just of Supercell, but of the Finnish gaming industry's major role there, with mobile gaming leading the charge.

What makes Finland so attractive to game makers?

Mobile gaming is the most profitable sector of the gaming industry, and Finland’s focus on mobile platforms since the launch of the Apple app store has helped it become one of the largest hubs for the mobile gaming world. 2009 saw the release of Angry Birds, which went on to become a global phenomenon and solidified Finland’s place as a focal point in the mobile gaming market.

Finland’s government is actively fostering the growth of the country’s mobile gaming economy by sponsoring both start-ups and studios. This investment helped the Finnish gaming industry grow by $516 thousand in 2020, despite the worldwide pandemic, with 46 of the 200 games companies in the country reporting a turnover of over $1.03 million.

Earlier this year, we listed Supercell as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.

Staff Writer

Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.