Super rich: Chung family makes mark in corporate Korea

Super rich: Chung family makes mark in corporate Korea
Chung Mong-koo, chairman of South Korea's Hyundai Motor group.

There's a memorial hall in Ulsan where a tattered pair of white cotton gloves and three pairs of worn-out shoes are on display. They belonged to none other than the late founder and honorary chairman of Hyundai, Chung Ju-yung.

Chung built Hyundai with his bare hands, and these memorabilia are a reflection of his life and his family.

There are now 183 fully operational Hyundai companies that together raked in 252 trillion won (S$304 billion) in sales in 2013.

The amount is seven times the government's national defence budget (35.8 trillion won) and 14 times its research and development budget (17.5 trillion won) for 2014.

In fact, just the stock assets alone of some of the family's major figures are said to exceed 15 trillion won.

Hyundai lives on in Chung Mong-koo and Chung Eui-sun

Hyundai Motor chairman Chung Mong-koo and his son Chung Eui-sun, the vice chairman, are currently the biggest heavyweights of the Hyundai family.

After Chung Mong-pil, the late founder's eldest son, died in a car accident at age 49, the second son Mong-koo assumed his older brother's role.

Going back in history, a long-standing squabble between Chung Mong-koo and the late Chung Mong-hun - the fifth son and former chairman of Hyundai Group - had been no secret.

Despite such feuds, the Hyundai family continues to faithfully gather at Chung Mong-koo's home for the traditional ancestral rites and family duties.

Today, these rituals serve to reinforce the status of the Hyundai Motor chairman.

Chung Mong-koo, who was already in charge of the family's primary subsidiaries such as Hyundai Motor, Kia Motor and Hyundai Steel, took over Hyundai E&C in 2011 to further extend his influence.

Hyundai Motor Group, led by him and his son, currently consists of 57 affiliates that attained combined sales of 158.8 trillion won, or 63 per cent of the family's entire revenue, in 2013.

Chung Mong-koo alone owns about 7.12 trillion won worth of stocks in companies such as Hyundai Motor, Hyundai Steel, Hyundai Mobis, Hyundai Hysco and Hyundai Glovis, while Chung Eui-sun's shares amount to roughly 3.5 trillion won.

Although the chairman also has three daughters, none of them are directly involved in management affairs.

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