South Korea’s richest man who sold a cow to start life..

South Korea’s richest man Chung Ju-yung started life as a poor son of a farmer.

He once had to sell a cow to escape harsh life in North Korea.

He tried escaping many times but was captured and brought back home by his father.

But he did succeed eventually and went on to excel in business in Seoul, South Korea.

When he died in 2001, he was one of the richest men in South Korea, if not the richest.

As the Founder of Hyundai Group, he contributed tremendously to the early development efforts of South Korea and was recognized as one of the key figures who fueled the expansion projects at the time.

What lessons can we as entrepreneurs learn from Chung Ju-yung?

Many actually.

He never gave up on his dream –

Every time his father discovered his son had run away from home, Chung was hauled back home.

But the young man never gave up – he tried again and again until he succeeded.

He knew he had a dream and did everything he could to pursue it.

He knew what he was capable of-

How many of us know what we are capable of when incomes to talent and skill?

Chung knew he could achieve success step by step. He went on to achieve one success after the other, eventually growing a worldwide business.

He knew his talents and where he could put them to good use.

He was innovative and left a unique legacy –

Even today, Hyundai acknowledges the innovation and far sightedness Chung left as a legacy for his company.

He is still considered one of Korea’s most admired businessmen who didn’t just build a brand – he built a unique heritage that continues to be a part of Korean business landscape long after he is gone.

He didn’t rely on experience but insights –

His story is one of powerful insights.

Although he didn’t have any experience in shipyard building, he went on to build a shipyard eventually becoming successful at ship building.

His unique insights enabled him to build vessels and the shipyard at the same time.

He cared about his people and his country –

He was a true patriot who always thought the two Koreas could and must unite.

He realized what a highly developed South Korea could do for national reconciliation.

He even ran once for the South Korean Presidential election but was not successful.

Chung reached out to North Korea with various economic assistance and once even sent 1,000 cows as a gift to the country – as a consolation step for the cow he stole from his father back when he was a struggling young man seeking to get out.

He is credited with making the Seoul 1988 Olympics happen – he lobbied extensively for it.His efforts have been recognized by the ICC as well.

he didn’t stop at merely becoming successful in business.

His philanthropy came much earlier than the versions we see today being announced by corporate bigwigs.

His Asan Foundation, which has a parallel to the Ford or Rockefeller Foundation, engaged in social welfare, medical support, research and development and awarding of scholarships.

He has also been recognised by the American Academy of Achievement who awarded him their esteemed Gold Plate Award.

His story is one that should inspire every entrepreneur – showing us why we should never give up hope and the spirit of entrepreneurship that enable us to climb the heights of success with hard work and commitment.

“Our people succeeded because they devoted their enterprising spirits. They used the forces of other mind. Conviction… creates indomitable efforts. This is the key to (true) miracles… Man’s potential is limitless.” – Chung Ju-yung


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