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definition - Chaebol

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Chaebol

                   
Chaebol
Hangul 재벌
Hanja
Revised Romanization Jaebeol
McCune–Reischauer Chaebŏl
Korean pronunciation: [tɕɛːbəl]

Chaebol (from chae: wealth or property + pŏl: faction or clan)[1] refers to a South Korean form of business conglomerate. They are global multinationals owning numerous international enterprises. The term is often used in a context similar to that of the English word "conglomerate". The term was first used in 1984.[1]

There are several dozen large Korean family-controlled corporate groups which fall under this definition. Through aggressive governmental support and finance[citation needed], some have become well-known international brand names, such as Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and SK.

The chaebol has also played a significant role in South Korean politics. In 1988 a member of a chaebol family, Chung Mong-jun, president of Hyundai Heavy Industries, successfully ran for the National Assembly. Other business leaders also were chosen to be members of the National Assembly through proportional representation. Since 2000, Hyundai has played a role in the thawing of North Korean and South Korean relations.[citation needed]

Contents

  History

South Korea's economy was small and predominantly agricultural well into the mid-20th century. However, the policies of President Park Chung Hee spurred rapid industrialization by promoting large businesses, following his seizure of power in 1961. Government industrial policy set the direction of new investment, and the chaebol were to be guaranteed loans from the banking sector. In this way, the chaebol played a key role in developing new industries, markets, and export production, helping place South Korea as one of the Four Asian Tigers.

Although South Korea's major industrial programs did not begin until the early 1960s, the origins of the country's entrepreneurial elite were found in the political economy of the 1950s. Very few Koreans had owned or managed larger corporations during the Japanese colonial period. After the departure of the Japanese in 1945, some Korean businessmen obtained the assets of some of the Japanese firms, a number of which grew into the chaebol of the 1990s. These companies, as well as certain other firms that were formed in the late 1940s and early 1950s, had close links with Syngman Rhee's First Republic, which lasted from 1948 to 1960. It was alleged that many of these companies received special favors from the government in return for kickbacks and other payments.

When the military took over the government in 1961, military leaders announced that they would eradicate the corruption that had plagued the Rhee administration and eliminate injustice from society. Some leading industrialists were arrested and charged with corruption, but the new government realized that it would need the help of the entrepreneurs if the government's ambitious plans to modernize the economy were to be fulfilled. A compromise was reached, under which many of the accused corporate leaders paid fines to the government. Subsequently, there was increased cooperation between corporate and government leaders in modernizing the economy.[2]

Government-chaebol cooperation was essential to the subsequent economic growth and astounding successes that began in the early 1960s. Driven by the urgent need to turn the economy away from consumer goods and light industries toward heavy, chemical, and import-substitution industries, political leaders and government planners relied on the ideas and cooperation of the chaebol leaders. The government provided the blueprints for industrial expansion; the chaebol realized the plans. However, the chaebol-led industrialization accelerated the monopolistic and oligopolistic concentration of capital and economically profitable activities in the hands of a limited number of conglomerates.

Park used the chaebol as a means towards economic growth. Exports were encouraged, reversing Rhee's policy of reliance on imports. Performance quotas were established.

The chaebol were able to grow because of two factors—foreign loans and special favors. Access to foreign technology also was critical to the growth of the chaebol through the 1980s. Under the guise of "guided capitalism," the government selected companies to undertake projects and channeled funds from foreign loans. The government guaranteed repayment should a company be unable to repay its foreign creditors. Additional loans were made available from domestic banks. In the late 1980s, the chaebol dominated the industrial sector and were especially prevalent in manufacturing, trading, and heavy industries.

The tremendous growth that the chaebol experienced, beginning in the early 1960s, was closely tied to the expansion of South Korean exports. Growth resulted from the production of a diversity of goods rather than just one or two products. Innovation and the willingness to develop new product lines were critical. In the 1950s and early 1960s, chaebol concentrated on wigs and textiles; by the mid-1970s and 1980s, heavy, defense, and chemical industries had become predominant. While these activities were important in the early 1990s, real growth was occurring in the electronics and high-technology industries. The chaebol also were responsible for turning the trade deficit in 1985 to a trade surplus in 1986. The current account balance, however, fell from more than US$14 billion in 1988 to US$5 billion in 1989.

The chaebol continued their explosive growth in export markets in the 1980s. By the late 1980s, the chaebol had become financially independent and secure—thereby eliminating the need for further government-sponsored credit and assistance.

By the 1990s, South Korea was one of the largest NICs, and boasted a standard of living comparable to industrialized countries.

President Kim Young-sam began to challenge the chaebol, but it was not until the Asian financial crisis in 1997 that the weaknesses of the system were widely understood. Of the 30 largest chaebol, 11 collapsed between July 1997 and June 1999. The chaebol were heavily invested in export-oriented manufacturing, neglecting the domestic market, and exposing the economy to any downturns in overseas markets. In competing with each other, they had built up unsustainable overcapacity—on the eve of the crisis South Korea, with a population only ranked at #26 in the world, had seven major automobile manufacturers.

Many of the chaebol had become severely indebted to finance their expansion, not only to state industrial banks, but to independent banks and their own financial services subsidiaries. In the aftermath of the crisis when they could not service their debt, banks could neither foreclose nor write off bad loans without themselves collapsing. The most spectacular example came in mid-1999 with the collapse of the Daewoo Group, which had some US$80 billion in unpaid debt. At the time, it was the largest corporate bankruptcy in history.

Investigations also exposed widespread corruption in the chaebol, particularly fraudulent accounting and bribery.

  Management structure

Some chaebol are one large corporation, while others have broken up into loosely connected groups of separate companies sharing a common name. Even in the latter case, each is almost always owned, controlled, or managed by the same family group.

South Korea's chaebol are often compared with Japan's keiretsu business groupings, the successors to the pre-war zaibatsu. While the "chaebol" are similar to the "zaibatsu" (the words are cognates, from the same hanja, or kanji), there are major differences between chaebol and keiretsu:

  • Chaebol are still largely controlled by their founding families, while keiretsu are controlled by groups of professional managers. Chaebols, furthermore, are more family based and family oriented than their Japanese counterparts, Indeed, a fundamental difference in the concept of "family members" between the Japanese and Koreans exists, The Japanese concept of family consist of two meanings. One is the concept of family based strictly on blood relationship. The other is the concept of the household or clan which is not only based on blood relationship but also on adoption. The Korean concept of family, on the other hand, is strictly based on blood relationship.
  • Chaebol are centralized in ownership, while keiretsu are more decentralized.
  • Chaebol often formed subsidiaries to produce components for exports, while large Japanese corporations often employed outside contractors.
  • The major difference between Korean Chaebols and the Japanese keiretsus is that chaebols do not all have their own financial institutions. This has traditionally made them much more dependent on government approval. Chaebol are prohibited from owning private banks, partly in order to increase the government's leverage over the banks in areas such as credit allocation. In 1990, government regulations made it difficult for a chaebol to develop an exclusive banking relationship. Keiretsu have historically worked with an affiliated bank, giving the affiliated companies almost unlimited access to credit, although this is no longer a universal feature of keiretsu.

The model of chaebol rely a lot on a complex system of interlocking ownership. The owner of the Chaebol, with the help of family members, family-owned charity and senior managers from subsidiaries, only has to control three of four public companies, who themselves control other companies that control subsidiaries. The good example of this practice would be the owner of Doosan, who controlled more than 20 subsidiaries with only a minor participation in about 5 companies.[3]

  Reforms

Under President Kim Dae-jung, elected in the wake of the crisis, the government made several efforts to reform the economy:

  • Instead of competing in every industry, the chaebol were pressured to focus on core businesses and spin off unrelated enterprises.
  • The chaebol were to decentralize their management and encourage the hiring of professional managers.
  • Accounting regulations were strengthened to limit the ability of chaebol to hide losses and debt at underperforming subsidiaries.
  • A crackdown on antitrust laws and inheritance taxes would impede the ability of families to retain control over their chaebol.

Both Kim and his successor, Roh Moo-hyun, have had mixed success. The chaebol continue to dominate South Korea's economy. Hyundai and SK Group have been implicated in separate scandals involving both presidents.[citation needed][4] Samsung President Lee Kun-hee resigned amid charges of tax evasion and breach of trust in April 2008.

The Federation of Korean Industries, a consortium of chaebol, has taken a leading role in resisting changes.

  Regulation

Laws passed to limit the expansion of chaebol include:

  • Law for separate finance from industry (ko:금산분리법;金産分離法 : Chaebol can't have banks) enacted in 1982
  • Law for limit of investment (출자총액제한;出資總額制限 : Law to limit a chaebol's growth by M&A) abrogated in 2009
  • Law for limit of assurance (상호출자채무보증제한;相互出資債務保證制限 : Law for defending the insolvency of a chaebol's affiliates)

Formally, Korea's governmental FTC (Fair Trade Commission : 공정거래위원회;公正去來委員會) announces a limited Chaebol list every year as size of industrial assets (not including financial companies).

  • Appointment: Fair Trade Commission of Korea (공정거래위원회;公正去來委員會 www.FTC.go.kr)
  • Inclusion : industrial groups (Assets : 5 Trillion Won, more)
  • Exclusion : Bank and Financial Group

Chaebol that limited assurance (상호출자제한기업집단;相互出資制限企業集團)

  • Year Chaebol Affiliates: Assets
  • 2007 : 62  : 1,196 Ent : 979.7 Tri Won (Not include Bank and Financial Group by Korean Law)
  • 2008 : 79  : 1,680 Ent : 1,161.5 Tri Won (more than 2 Trillion Won)
  • 2009 : 48  : 1,137 Ent : 1,310.6 Tri Won (more than 5 Trillion Won)
  • Samsung Group's total assets are 317 trillion Won (Billion $), but FTC recognize only 174 Trillion Won that excepted Financial subsidiary.
  • Nonghyup's total assets are 400 trillion Won (Billion $), but FTC recognize only 2 Trillion Won that excepted Financial assets because Nonghyup is Financial Group by Korean Law.

  Chaebol by Revenue

The following charts list chaebol in order by different categories.

  • Management : chaebol controlled by the owner's family or the largest shareholders
Chaebol by family groups Won Total Assets Family Groups
Samsung family group 252 Trillion 348.7 Shinsagae + Homeplus + CJ + Hansol Groups
Hyundai family group 203 Trillion 204.4 Motors + Heavy + Steel + insurance + trade + construction
LG family group 191 Trillion 148.4 LG 115 + GS 49.8 + LS 20.5 + LIG 6.5 Groups (Revenue)
  • Business Area: a chaebol that has several monopolies.
Chaebol by each Groups Won Total Assets Business Areas
Samsung Group 221 Trillion 317.5 Electronics, insurance, Card, Construction & Shipbuilding
LG Group 115 Trillion 69.5 Electronics, insurance, Chemicals, Telecom & Trade
Hyundai Kia Automotive Group 107 Trillion 128.7 Motors, Steel & Stock
SK Group 105 Trillion 85.9 Energy, Telecom, Trade & Construction
GS Group 49.8000 39.0 Energy, Shopping & Construction
Lotte 41.4000 54.9 Construction, Food, Energy, Hospitality & Shopping
Hyundai Heavy Industries Gp 31.2882 42.8 Heavy industry (including Hyundai Mipo Shipbuilding)
Hanwha 27.2399 75.7 Explosives, Chem, insurance
Hanjin 26.1231 29.1 Korean Air,Jin Air, Shipping, Heavy industry
Kumho Asiana Group 23.4000 43.9 Asiana Air,Air Busan, Construction, Petrochemical, Tire
Doosan 21.4279 32.7 Heavy industry, Atomic Energy[5]
  • Organization : a chaebol that has other chaebol as affiliates
Chaebol by each unit Won Total Assets Business Areas
Samsung Electronics 121.2943 105.3 Electronics, LCD, TV, Mobile Phone, Semiconductor[6]
LG Holdings 90.2224 64.7 Holding (consolidated result by share rate)[7]
SK Holdings 88.8249 68.9 Holding (consolidated result by share rate)[8]
Hyundai Motors 79.7363 103.2 Motors[9]
LG Electronics 63.2803 42.3 Electronics, LCD, TV, Mobile Phone, Air conditioner[10]
SK Energy 52.6063 24.9 Energy[11]
GS Caltex 34.4242 18.0 Energy[12]
Hyundai Heavy Industries 27.4835 38.3 Heavy industry (Excluding Hyundai Mipo Shipbuilding)[13]
Samsung Life 25.2948 121.6 insurance[14]
SK Networks 22.6516 9.0 Trade[15]
Kia Motors 22.2176 25.5 Motors[16]
LS Group 20.5330 14.5 Steel, Cable & Energy[17]
Samsung C&T Corporation 20.4834 15.4 Trade & Construction[18]
Doosan Heavy Industries 19.2317 30.1 Heavy industry (including Doosan Infracore)[19]
LG Display 16.2636 17.3 LCD[20]
Hyundai Oil Bank 14.8347 4.8 Energy[21]
GM Daewoo Motors 14.7623 9.5 Motors[22]
LG Chem 14.5548 9.3 Chemistry[23]
Daelim Group 14.5000 11.0 MotorCycle, Construction & Petrochemical
Dongbu Group 15.4950 24.7 Semiconductor, Steel & insurance
SK Telecom 14.0209 22.4 Telecom[24]
Hyundai Mobis 13.8472 10.4 Motor parts[25]
Kyobo Life 13.5155 47.8 insurance (07)[26]
Daehan Life 12.7776 50.9 insurance (08) Hanwha Group's company[27]
Lotte Shopping 12.8393 16.9 Shopping[28]
CJ Group 12.4100 12.3 Food & Shopping
Daewoo Shipbuilding 12.2207 17.4 Shipbuilding[29]
Samsung Fire 11.8633 23.0 insurance[30]
Daewoo international 11.4263 3.4 Trade [31]
LG International 11.2626 3.7 Trade [32]
Hyundai Steel 11.2519 12.2 Steel [33]
Shinsegae 11.0520 10.7 Shopping [34]
Samsung Heavy Industries 10.6895 26.5 Shipbuilding [35]
Korean Air 10.4844 17.7 Hanjin Group's company [36]
LS Cable 10.4560 7.6 Cable[37]
NH Nonghyup insurance 10.1827 27.8 insurance[38]
Kumho E&C 10.1335 18.6 Construction[39]
  • Consolidated IR Reports : DART (Data Analysis, Retrieval and Transfer System : 電子公示시스템) of Financial Supervisory Service (金融監督院)
  • Korea has about 100 Chaebol (more than 5 trillion Won) by Revenue.
  • Korea's Total Financial Assets is 8.665 quadrillion Won by The Bank of Korea's Report[40]

  See also

  Notes

  1. ^ a b "chaebol". Merriam-Webster. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chaebol. Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
  2. ^ South Korea: A Country Study. Andrea Matles Savada. P.152
  3. ^ Interlocking Ownership in the Korean Chaebol, by Dong-Woon Kim, April 2003, Corporate governance: an International Review
  4. ^ Coverage of Roh Moo-hyun campaign financing scandal: Donald Macintyre (Monday, Dec. 01, 2003). "Losing Face". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,552164,00.html. 
  5. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331002103&dcmNo=2189362&eleId=5&offset=72801&length=49666&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  6. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331002645&dcmNo=2192105&eleId=5&offset=47162&length=18242&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  7. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331002569&dcmNo=2191694&eleId=5&offset=50471&length=32324&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  8. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331002939&dcmNo=2193642&eleId=5&offset=75395&length=33477&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  9. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331002465&dcmNo=2191255&eleId=5&offset=75847&length=41461&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  10. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331002214&dcmNo=2189897&eleId=5&offset=51635&length=23933&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  11. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331001463&dcmNo=2185803&eleId=5&offset=71473&length=30219&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  12. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090218000194&dcmNo=2110225&eleId=5&offset=62112&length=23190&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  13. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331003120&dcmNo=2194629&eleId=5&offset=81774&length=41965&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  14. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090604000223&dcmNo=2326665&eleId=5&offset=69348&length=39796&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  15. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331002594&dcmNo=2191831&eleId=5&offset=80981&length=46784&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  16. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331002941&dcmNo=2193644&eleId=5&offset=75185&length=36886&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  17. ^ http://www.lsholdings.com/eng/invest/fhighlights.asp
  18. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331002892&dcmNo=2193404&eleId=5&offset=71429&length=21670&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  19. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331002833&dcmNo=2193137&eleId=5&offset=52897&length=22605&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  20. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090324000134&dcmNo=2163577&eleId=5&offset=46200&length=20352&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  21. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090413001349&dcmNo=2233088&eleId=5&offset=49572&length=25848&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  22. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090430000710&dcmNo=2276259&eleId=5&offset=63587&length=37762&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  23. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331002973&dcmNo=2193841&eleId=5&offset=62532&length=39634&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  24. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090330000922&dcmNo=2175924&eleId=5&offset=77566&length=41062&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  25. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090401001638&dcmNo=2199316&eleId=6&offset=72404&length=43269&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  26. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20080630000426&dcmNo=1972674&eleId=91&offset=7197&length=316949&dtd=dart2.dtd&displayImage=hide
  27. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20080804000005&dcmNo=1991766&eleId=207&offset=23209&length=227744&dtd=dart2.dtd&displayImage=hide
  28. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090428000944&dcmNo=2269615&eleId=6&offset=84256&length=48675&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  29. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090324000250&dcmNo=2163847&eleId=5&offset=88173&length=48895&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  30. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090608000174&dcmNo=2329117&eleId=5&offset=6180&length=189404&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  31. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331000689&dcmNo=2181942&eleId=5&offset=6408&length=178057&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  32. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090429000492&dcmNo=2271860&eleId=5&offset=67815&length=26010&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  33. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090330000408&dcmNo=2173860&eleId=5&offset=78005&length=40140&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  34. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331003015&dcmNo=2194044&eleId=5&offset=77794&length=42938&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  35. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331002781&dcmNo=2192820&eleId=5&offset=68818&length=29211&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  36. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090330001265&dcmNo=2177459&eleId=5&offset=81640&length=43168&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  37. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331001586&dcmNo=2186501&eleId=5&offset=78757&length=30073&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  38. ^ http://www.nonghyup.com/intro/data/insu_2008_44.pdf
  39. ^ http://dart.fss.or.kr/report/viewer.do?rcpNo=20090331002560&dcmNo=2191649&eleId=5&offset=98071&length=24657&dtd=dart3.xsd&displayImage=hide
  40. ^ http://www.bok.or.kr/down.search?file_path=/attach/kor/559/2009/06/1244775597209.xls&file_name=200914FOF.xls

  References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.

   
               

 

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