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Management Report

Management reports, briefs issued by Samsung Economic Research Institute

The Rise of Korean Companies

The Rise of Korean Companies

KIM Jong-Nyun

May 16, 2005

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South Korean companies have achieved remarkable growth from the ruins of the Korean War. In 1955, two years after the war ended in an armistice, Korea had just 8,600 manufacturing companies. Nearly half a century later in 2003, the number of companies had increased by over 13 times to 113,000. Many of them were no longer shoestring operations, as they had been in the post-war years. They have become globally known corporations. The number of workers in the manufacturing sector has likewise swollen from 220,000 to 2,740,000 during this period, a jump of no fewer than 12 times.

Moreover, Korean companies have survived a trial by fire, successfully rising from the two oil shocks in the 1970s and a debilitating economic crisis in 1997. They have moved into the global marketplace with all kinds of goods in an astonishingly short time. They have grown with the power of momentum for expansion, by moving aggressively into new business sectors, and by constant innovation. They owe their stellar performance to close cooperation with government and consumers. Thus was born the story of Korea, Inc.


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