It has been nine years since the death of Chung Ju-yung, the founder and honorary chairman of the Hyundai Group, but his legacy lives on. Chung passed away in May of 2001, leaving behind one of the largest multinational conglomerates in South Korea, which continues to succeed after his passing, even after being split into many satellite companies in the 1980s. He made his name attempting to reconcile the two Koreas, developing the first Korean car, and being instrumental in developing a nondock ship making method with Hyundai Heavy Steel Company and many other greats which Korea boasts as its own today.
The story of Chung Ju-yung’s rise to prominence is remarkable, and very much related to the continued success of his company and his country at large. Chung Ju-yung was born the oldest child of six in 1915, in Tongchon, Gangwondo, during the Japanese occupation of Korea. His burning desire to do something better than what he was saw him become a successful businessman, despite a foreign occupation and a civil war during his lifetime.
Chung ran away from home to work in the big city when he was young, and had a succession of jobs as a dockworker, a deliveryman, an accountant and a mechanic, all at the objections of his farmer father. He saw several rises to success, and several falls from grace, due to occupation and war. But the man didn’t give up, and managed to turn his businesses into some of the most successful in the world.