The founder of Hyundai was born to an impoverished family of peasants in what is now North Korea. In 1998, he sent 1001 cows to his hometown in North Korea as a repayment 1000 times over for a cow that he stole in the early 1930s to afford his train ticket to Seoul and escape from poverty.

Chung Ju-yung

This is a Korean name; the family name is Chung.

Chung Ju-yung or Jung Joo-young (November 25, 1915 – March 21, 2001), was a South Korean entrepreneur, businessman and the founder of Hyundai Groups of South Korea. Raised as the eldest son of a poor Korean farmer, he became the richest man in South Korea. Chung was an integral part to the rapid development of Korea’s economy, growing Hyundai Heavy Industries to be the largest ship builder in the world, as well as growing Hyundai Motor Group into the largest automobile manufacturer in Korea, and the third largest in the world. Chung was also a vital contributor to the development of South Korea’s infrastructure after the Korean War’s destruction on much domestic infrastructure by construc… Continue Reading (10 minute read)

8 thoughts on “The founder of Hyundai was born to an impoverished family of peasants in what is now North Korea. In 1998, he sent 1001 cows to his hometown in North Korea as a repayment 1000 times over for a cow that he stole in the early 1930s to afford his train ticket to Seoul and escape from poverty.”

  1. soyfox

    The Hyundai founder’s lifestory is one of hardship, but unfortunately all too common among Koreans who were born during this period of Japanese occupation and the Korean war. Many families were torn apart during the war, and never got to see their loved ones or their hometown again. Even the current South Korean president has relatives that he never metback in the North, since was born in a refugee camp under North Korean refugee parents during the Korean war.

    Another interesting story about Chung Ju-young, the Hyundai founder, is how he entered the shipbuilding industry in the 70s:

    >The country back then had only small, outdated shipbuilding facilities, too primitive to meet international requirements.

    >The shipyards badly needed capital to buy more suitable facilities and develop the technology to build state-of-art ships, to get orders to fill the shipyard. At the beginning, Chairman Chung had to tackle all of three fundamental tasks by himself, namely borrowing money, importing the technology and securing the orders.

    >They were not independent factors but all interconnected. Before they would talk about loans, bankers had to be convinced that new building orders were in hand at the new yard. The ship buyer, on the other hand, liked to see that the yard was ready with sufficient equipment, before they placed orders. It was like the old question; which came first, the chicken or the egg.

    >There is a well-known story about how Chung Ju-young persuaded a British bank to provide loans to an unfamiliar Korean company with no shipbuilding experience. Chung recalled that he showed not only his plan but also a picture of the Turtle Ship, a historic warship of the Joseon Dynasty, on a 500-won Korean banknote to describe the nation’s long history of shipbuilding to the head of Barclays Bank.

    >He finally persuaded Barclays to open a line of credit and to help HHI win orders for two very-large crude carriers (VLCCs) from Greek magnate George Livanos while HHI’s shipyard was still in the planning stages.

    Today, Hyundai Heavy Industries is the world’s largest shipbuilding company.

  2. TaylorSwiftsClitoris

    I like to imagine the cows just showed up one day without warning.

  3. Jasper455

    Did he dropp them from a plane?

  4. Hypochlorite_Tank_2

    I wonder if they were pumped about all those cows at once or were just like wtf are we supposed to do with all these goddamn cows?

  5. Thedrunner2

    Did he send 99 red balloons to German automakers for cutting into their market share?

  6. SomethingIsntWhite

    I wonder if those cows ever made it to his hometown and not the soldiers stomachs.

  7. Timbo_007

    And I bet 999 of these cows ended on the banquet tables of the communist parties headquarter.

  8. dmh2693

    The Hyundai symbol is supposed to represent two people handshaking and making a deal.

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