중앙데일리

Bold leadership of ‘Asan’ led to growth

[Dynasty Korea’s corporate roots]

Nov 07,2016

When Hyundai founder “Asan” Chung Ju-yung was at the peak of his career in the 1970s, he practiced the idea of “creative economy” to the extreme.

Despite concerns about challenging the global shipbuilding industry at the time, Asan shrugged them off and said, “How hard can it be to make a boat? We can assemble it according to blueprints, and if we can’t make our own engine, all we need to do is buy it from overseas and install it.”

Asan had the ability to make anything that appeared complicated seem simple. He was a businessman who wielded unlimited strength through imagination.

His pursuit of construction projects in the Middle East is a clear example of his unyielding appetite for challenge. Asan boldly pushed for construction projects and succeeded, famously saying that if the desert was too hot during the day, he would have workers work at night with the lights on, and if there wasn’t any water, they would draw it from an oasis.

In 1976, Hyundai E&C won a $900 million contract to build an industrial port in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, which greatly contributed to the Korean economy at the time.

When looking back at his achievements in automobiles, shipbuilding and construction, one realizes that Asan built an extraordinary enterprise that could not even be imagined at the time.

Between 1974 and 1988, I assisted Asan at the Federation of Korean Industries. At the time, market experts and other businessmen just shrugged him off as someone who simply pushed forward business projects brazenly because of his lack of education.

But his epochal business achievements have made Asan the glue that held together the rapid growth of the Korean economy.

BY PARK JUNG-WOONG and MAY TECH INTERNATIONAL [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]







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