Lee Byung Chull

Lee Byung-chul
Portrait of Lee Byung-chul, Founder of Samsung Group
Born (1910-02-12)February 12, 1910
Uiryeong, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea
Died November 19, 1987(1987-11-19) (aged 77)
Seoul, South Korea
Nationality Korean
Alma mater Waseda University in Tokyo
Occupation Founder of Samsung Group

Lee Byung-chul (February 12, 1910 Uiryeong, Gyeongsangnam-do – November 19, 1987 Seoul) was the founder of the Samsung Group and one of South Korea's most successful businessmen. With the breakup of the Hyundai chaebol, Samsung is now South Korea's largest business group[1]


He was the son of a wealthy landowning family (a branch of the Gyeongju Lee clan). He attended college at Waseda University in Tokyo, but he did not complete his degree. Upon the early death of his father, he used his inheritance to open a rice mill in his home town of Gyeongnam. That endeavor was not especially successful so he established a trucking business in Daegu on March 1, 1938, which he named Samsung Trading Co, the forerunner to Samsung.[2] Samsung means "Three Stars" which explains the initial corporate logos.

By 1945 Samsung was transporting goods throughout Korea and to other countries. The company was based in Seoul by 1947. It was one of the ten largest "trading companies" when the Korean War started in 1950.[3] With the conquest of Seoul by the North Korean army, Lee was forced to relocate his business to Pusan. The massive influx of U.S. troops and equipment into Pusan over the next year and a half of the war proved to be highly beneficial to Lee's trucking company.[3]

In 1953, he founded Cheil Sugar (currently CJ CheilJedang) which became very successful and profitable. Using the income from Cheil Sugar, he founded numerous other companies which sold products in a wide variety of markets: textiles (Cheil Wool Textile Co.), cars, insurance, department stores (Shinsegae), and consumer electronics.

In 1961 when General Park seized power, Lee was in Japan and for some time he did not return to South Korea. Eventually a deal was struck and Lee returned but Samsung had to give up control over the banks it acquired and follow economic directives from Park's government.[3]

Later in life he served as chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries and was known as the richest man in Korea.[1]

After his death, his estate (Ho-Am) was opened to the public for tours. His collection of Korean art is considered one of the largest and finest private collections in the country and it features a number of art objects that have been designated "National Treasures" by the Korean government.[4] Ho-Am is located a short distance from the Everland park, South Korea's most popular amusement park (Everland is also owned by the Samsung Group).

The Ho-Am Prize was founded in 1991, named after Lee's Art-name.


See also

External links

  • Biography on Ho-Am Prize Website
  • [호암캠프] 호암 이병철의 사회 공헌 활동“조상의 아름다운 전통을 잇는 데 큰 관심”
  • 죽은 이병철의 산 교훈 미디어오늘 2011-12-21
  • 이병철 회장 "신앙인은 때때로 광인, 공산당원과…" 중앙일보 2011.12.17


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