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Lee Byung-chul

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Lee Byung-chul
Lee circa 1950
Born(1910-02-12)12 February 1910
Died19 November 1987(1987-11-19) (aged 77)
Seoul, South Korea
EducationJoongdong High School, Waseda University[1]
Years active1938–1987
(m. 1926)
Children10, including
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Byeong-cheol
McCune–ReischauerYi Pyŏngch'ŏl
Art name
Revised RomanizationHo-Am
McCune–ReischauerHo Am

Lee Byung-chul (Korean이병철; 12 February 1910 – 19 November 1987[3]) was a South Korean businessman who founded the Samsung Group, the country's largest chaebol (conglomerate). Lee founded Samsung in 1938, at the age of 28.[4] He is recognized as the most successful businessman in South Korea's history.

Early life and education


Lee was born on 12 February 1910 in Uiryeong County, South Gyeongsang Province, Korean Empire. He was born the youngest son of four siblings to father Lee Chan-woo and mother Kwon Jae-lim.[5] He was the son of a wealthy land-owning yangban family, a branch of the Gyeongju Lee clan.[6]

He attended high school at Joongdong High School in Seoul, and then enrolled in the Department of Political Economy at Waseda University in Tokyo and then received honorary doctor in 1980's.[2][7]





Lee established a trucking business and real estate business in Daegu on 1 March 1938,[8] which he named Samsung Trading Co, the forerunner to Samsung. Samsung means (Korean삼성; lit. Three Stars) which explains the initial corporate logos.

By 1945, Samsung was transporting goods throughout Korea and to other countries. The company was based in Seoul by 1947.[9]

Korean War


Samsung was one of the ten largest "trading companies" when the Korean War started in 1950.[10]

With the conquest of Seoul by the North Korean army, Lee was forced to relocate his business to Busan. The massive influx of U.S. troops and equipment into Busan over the next year and a half of the war proved to be highly beneficial to Lee's trading company.[10]

Lee (left) and his son Lee Kun-hee (right) in 1950

Federation of Korean Industries


In 1961, when Park Chung Hee seized power in the May 16 coup, Lee was in Japan and for some time he did not return to South Korea. Eventually, a deal was struck and Lee returned but Samsung had to give up control over the banks it acquired and follow economic directives from Park's government.[10]

The first step of the Federation of Korean Industries was established in August 1961. The association was founded by Samsung Group chairman Lee Byung-chul.

Later in life, Lee served as chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries and was known as the richest man in Korea.[11][not specific enough to verify]

Cultural and art


In 1965, he established the Samsung Culture Foundation[12] to promote a broad range of programs to enrich Korean cultural life.[13]

Samsung Electronics


In 1969, Samsung Electronics Manufacturing (renamed Samsung Electronics) and later merged with Samsung-Sanyo Electric.[14] Samsung Electronics Manufacturing had 45 employees and about US$250,000 sales in 1970 and it made household electronics exclusively.[14]

Personal life


In 1982, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Boston College.[15]



After his death, Ho-Am Art Museum was opened to the public for tours. His collection of Korean art is considered one of the largest private collections in the country, featuring a number of art objects that have been designated "National Treasures" by the Korean government.[16][promotional source?] Ho-Am is located a short distance from the Everland park, one of South Korea's popular amusement parks (Everland is also owned by the Samsung Group).[citation needed]

Family tree


Lee's family tree[17]


Lee's children with Park Du-eul [ko]

  1. 1st daughter: Lee In-hee [ko], The founder of Hansol and spouse of its former chairman, Dr. Cho Wan-hae, M.D
  2. 1st son: Lee Maeng-hee [ko][citation needed], Founder of CJ Group (in which he lost the lawsuit[which?]alongside Lee Kun-hee), father of current CJ Group chairman Lee Jay-hyun[18]
  3. 2nd son: Lee Chang-hee [ko], Founder of Saehan[19]
  4. 2nd daughter: Lee Suk-hee, spouse of LG board director Koo Cha-hak, younger brother of the emeritus chairman, Koo Cha-kyung and paternal uncle of the former deceased chairman, Koo Bon-moo
  5. 3rd daughter: Lee Soon-hee
  6. 4th daughter: Lee Deok-hee, widow of Lee Jeong-gi
  7. 3rd son: Lee Kun-hee, 2nd chairman of Samsung, father of 3rd and present Samsung chairman Lee Jae-yong and Hotel Shilla president Lee Boo-jin
  8. 5th daughter: Lee Myung-hee, spouse of Chung Jae-eun, chairwoman of Shinsegae group and mother of Chung Yong-jin.[19]

Lee's children with Kuroda

  1. 4th son: Lee Tae-whi
  2. 6th daughter: Lee Hye-ja


  1. ^ http://www.hoamfoundation.org/eng/hoam/hoam_intro.asp
  2. ^ a b "Lee Byung-chul". The Chosun Ilbo. 28 February 2024. Retrieved 15 June 2024.
  3. ^ Lee, Kun-hee (10 February 2010). "Business Philosophy of Lee Byung-chull". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 6 July 2021.
  4. ^ Lankov, Andrei (12 October 2011). "Lee Byung-chull: founder of Samsung Group". The Korea Times. Retrieved 11 April 2019. It is still run by the numerous descendants of Lee Byung-chull and the centenary of his birth in 2010 being celebrated with much pomp.
  5. ^ "[Dynasty Korea's corporate roots] Samsung founder Hoam risked it all to succeed". Korea JoongAng Daily. 27 March 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  6. ^ "이병철씨도 「경이」" [Lee Byung-chul is also from 「Gyeongju Lee」]. JoongAng Ilbo (in Korean). 25 September 1982. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
  7. ^ http://www.hoamfoundation.org/eng/hoam/hoam_intro.asp
  8. ^ Jung-hyun, Bang (11 February 2010). "Hail the Father of Business, Lee Byung-chul". The Korea IT Times. Archived from the original on 15 May 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  9. ^ Cain, Geoffrey (17 March 2020). Samsung Rising: The Inside Story of the South Korean Giant That Set Out to Beat Apple and Conquer Tech Paperback. New York: Currency (Crown Publishing Group). ISBN 978-0593236703. OL 20839400W.
  10. ^ a b c Watkins, Thaer, "The Chaebol of South Korea", Website, downloaded 22 July 2011, [1] Archived 27 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Samsung's development in chronological order"
  12. ^ "SAMSUNG FOUNDATION OF CULTURE | SAMSUNG FOUNDATION". www.samsungfoundation.org. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  13. ^ "Ho-Am Byung-chull Lee - HOAM". www.hoamfoundation.org. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  14. ^ a b Lee, Dongyoup (2006). Samsung Electronics: The Global Inc. LEE Dongyoup. ISBN 978-89-89664-03-1.
  15. ^ "Hail the Father of Business, Lee Byung-chul". The Korea IT Times (in Korean). 8 February 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  16. ^ Ho Am Art Museum, "Official Web Site" Archived 21 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Meet Samsung's billionaire Lee family, South Korea's most powerful dynasty". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Samsung boss Lee Kun-hee wins inheritance case appeal". BBC News. 6 February 2014. Archived from the original on 8 February 2014.
  19. ^ a b "[SUPER RICH] Lee Maeng-hee's death brings Samsung family together". 18 August 2015. Archived from the original on 14 July 2017. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
Business positions
Preceded by
Chairman of the Board of the Samsung Group
March 1938 – December 1987
Succeeded by