Kim Chong-hee

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Kim Chong-Hee
Born (1922-11-12)November 12, 1922
Cheonan, Korea (today South Korea)
Died 1981
Alma mater Yonsei University
Occupation Chief executive officer
Website Hyonam Memorial Hall
Kim Chong-hee
Hangul 김종희
Hanja 金鍾喜
Revised Romanization Kim, Jonghui
McCune–Reischauer Kim, Chonghui

Kim Chong-Hee (1922–1981) was founder of Hanwha Group and a pioneer in the South Korean explosives industry.

Korea Explosives Corporation[edit]

Kim established the Korea Explosives Corporation, a forerunner of the Hanwha Corporation, in 1952. Recognizing that the explosives industry is essential to the country's industrial development, he devoted himself to the localization of explosives all his life. He succeeded in domestically producing dynamite in 1957, and began its commercial production from 1958, significantly contributing to South Korea's industrial growth by enabling the construction of the national infrastructure, including bridges, tunnels and highways.


Outside the explosives industry, Kim also upgraded the domestic bearing industry to a world caliber status by taking over Shinhan Bearing Industrial in 1964 and advancing it forward, as well as leading the growth of the domestic petrochemical industry by establishing Korea Hwasung Industrial (currently, Hanwha Chemical and Hanwha L&C). He also made contributions to the development of South Korea's dairy industry by acquiring Daeil Dairy in 1973.

Diplomatic activities[edit]

Kim was also a pioneer in private diplomacy in South Korea. Kim was named an honorary consul-general to Greece in 1968, and in recognition of his contributions to advancing relations between the two countries, he was awarded the Venus Cross Medal of Honor, Greece's highest honorary medal, by the Greek government in 1972.

Business advocacy[edit]

Kim had been an active advocate of business, representing the Korean business community as the vice chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries from 1977 until he died at the age of 59 in 1981. The South Korean government posthumously awarded him a Gold Tower Order of Industrial Service Merit for his exceptional service to the country's economy.


As a pioneer of the explosives industry, Kim played a key role in South Korea's economic development. His life story was presented by the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry in its publication Hyeonam Kim Chong-Hee, a Pioneer of the Korean Explosives Industry, as a part of its series of comic books on the biographies of South Korean CEOs in 2009. A commemorative medal was also issued on his selection as a "Figure of Korea" by the Korea Mint Corporation.

External links[edit]