Lee Byung-chul

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Lee Byung-chul
Lee Byung-chul (cropped).jpg
Born(1910-02-12)12 February 1910
Died19 November 1987(1987-11-19) (aged 77)
Seoul, South Korea
Alma materWaseda University, Tokyo (dropped out).
Known forFounder of Samsung and CJ Group
Spouse(s)Park Du-eul
ChildrenIncluding Kun-hee and Myung-hee
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Byeong-cheol
McCune–ReischauerYi Pyŏngch'ŏl

Lee Byung-chul (Korean: 이병철 12 February 1910 – 19 November 1987) was a South Korean businessman.[1][2] He was the founder of the Samsung Group, which is South Korea's largest chaebol,[3] and he is considered one of South Korea's most successful businessmen.

Personal life[edit]

Early life[edit]

Byung-chul was the youngest son of four siblings to father Lee Chan-woo and mother Kwon Jae-lim.[4] Byung-chul was the son of a wealthy land-owning yangban family (a branch of the Gyeongju Lee clan).[5] He attended highschool at Joongdong High School in Seoul, and then college at Waseda University in Tokyo but did not complete his degree.[6]

Korean art collection[edit]

After his death, Byung-chul's estate (Ho-Am) 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.[7][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]


The family of Lee Byung-chul[8]

  • Lee Byung Chul (12 February 1910 ~ 19 November 1987) – 1st chairman of Samsung.
    • 1st wife: Park Du-eul (8 November 1907 ~ 3 January 2000)
      • 1st daughter: Lee In-hee (30 January 1929 ~ 30 January 2019) – The founder of Hansol and spouse of its former chairman, Dr. Cho Wan-hae, M.D. (5 August 1925 ~ 1 March 2019).
      • 1st son: Lee Maeng-hee (20 June 1931 ~ 14 August 2015)[citation needed] – Founder of CJ Group (in which he lost the lawsuit[which?]alongside with Lee Kun-hee), father of current CJ Group chairman Lee Jay-hyun.[9]
      • 2nd son: Lee Chang-hee (24 May 1933 ~ 19 July 1991) – Founder of Saehan.[10]
      • 2nd daughter: Lee Suk-hee (1935 ~ ), spouse of LG board director Koo Cha-hak (1930 ~), younger brother of the emeritus chairman, Koo Cha-kyung (1925 ~ 2019) and paternal uncle of the former deceased chairman, Koo Bon-moo (1945 ~ 2018).
      • 3rd daughter: Lee Soon-hee (1939 ~ )
      • 4th daughter: Lee Deok-hee (1940 ~ ), widow of Lee Jeong-gi (1936 ~ 2006).
      • 3rd son: Lee Kun-hee (9 January 1942 ~ 25 October 2020) – 2nd chairman of Samsung, father of 3rd and present Samsung chairman Lee Jae-yong and Hotel Shilla president Lee Boo-jin.
      • 5th daughter: Lee Myung-hee (1943 ~ ), spouse of Chung Jae-eun (1937 ~), chairwoman of Shinsegae group and mother of Chung Yong-jin.[10]
    • 2nd wife: Kuroda (1922 ~ 2007)
      • 4th son: Lee Tae-whi (1947 ~ )
      • 6th daughter: Lee Hye-ja (1952 ~ )



Byung-chul established a trucking business in Daegu on 1 March 1938, which he named Samsung Trading Co, the forerunner to Samsung.[6] Samsung means "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. It was one of the ten largest "trading companies" when the Korean War started in 1950.[11] 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.[11]

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

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.[11]

Federation of Korean Industries[edit]

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, Byung-chul served as chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries and was known as the richest man in Korea.[12][not specific enough to verify]

Other ventures[edit]

In 1965, he established the Samsung Culture Foundation[13] to promote a broad range of programs to enrich Korean cultural life.[14]

In 1969, Samsung Electronics Manufacturing (renamed Samsung Electronics) and later merged with Samsung-Sanyo Electric.[15] Samsung Electronics Manufacturing had 45 employees and about $250,000 sales in 1970 and it made household electronics exclusively.[16]

In 1982, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Boston College[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lee, Kun-hee (10 February 2010). "Business Philosophy of Lee Byung-chull". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 6 July 2021.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Jung-hyun, Bang (11 February 2010). "Hail the Father of Business, Lee Byung-chul". Korea IT Times. Archived from the original on 15 May 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  4. ^ "[Dynasty Korea's corporate roots] Samsung founder Hoam risked it all to succeed". koreajoongangdaily.joins.com. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  5. ^ "이병철씨도 「경이」" [Lee Byung-chul is also from 「Gyeongju Lee」]. 중앙일보 (in Korean). 25 September 1982. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
  6. ^ a b Woo, Jaeyeon (22 July 2011). "Memorializing the Company Founder, With Ads, 3-D and Holograms". WSJ. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.(subscription required)
  7. ^ Ho Am Art Museum, "Official Web Site" Archived 21 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "Samsung boss Lee Kun-hee wins inheritance case appeal". BBC News. 6 February 2014. Archived from the original on 8 February 2014.
  10. ^ a b Herald, The Korea (18 August 2015). "[SUPER RICH] Lee Maeng-hee's death brings Samsung family together". Archived from the original on 14 July 2017. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Watkins, Thaer, "The Chaebol of South Korea", Website, downloaded 22 July 2011, [1] Archived 27 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Samsung's development in chronological order"
  13. ^ "SAMSUNG FOUNDATION OF CULTURE | SAMSUNG FOUNDATION". www.samsungfoundation.org. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  14. ^ "Ho-Am Byung-chull Lee - HOAM". www.hoamfoundation.org. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  15. ^ Lee, Dongyoup (2006). Samsung Electronics: The Global Inc. LEE Dongyoup. ISBN 978-89-89664-03-1.
  16. ^ Lee, Dongyoup (2006). Samsung Electronics: The Global Inc. LEE Dongyoup. ISBN 978-89-89664-03-1.
  17. ^ "Hail the Father of Business, Lee Byung-chul". Korea IT Times (in Korean). 8 February 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
Business positions
Preceded by
Chairman of the Board of the Samsung Group
March 1938 – December 1987
Succeeded by