Top 30 Korean Companies and What Koreans Think about Them

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Top 30 Korean Companies and What Koreans Think about Them

Need to know more about Korean companies?

Want to know how Koreans view them?

Korean conglomerates, also known as “Jaebeol (재벌)“, go all out when it comes to expansion.

They take “cradle to grave” literally and provide everything from childbirth at their hospitals to funeral services at their funeral homes.

Here are the top 30 Korean companies, their 2019 financial status and what Koreans think about them.

1. Samsung (삼성)

Total Assets (자산총계)216,180,920,000,000 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)38,310,673,000,000 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)177,870,247,000,000 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)154,772,859,000,000 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)15,353,323,000,000 KRW
Note: 2019 data for Samsung Electronics on financial supervisory service

Most Koreans are very proud of Samsung.

So much that they sometimes call Korea the “Republic of Samsung”.

Founded by Lee Byung-chul, it’s been a family business with Chairman Lee Kun-hee and Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong.

Recently, Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong held a press conference and apologized for non-compliance regarding ongoing trials.

What people paid most attention to was him announcing that his children would not succeed him (he has a 20 year-old son and a 16 year-old daughter).

Only time will tell whether Samsung will be managed by the 4th generation or not.

2. Hyundai Motor Company (현대자동차)

Total Assets (자산총계)74,157,219,000,000 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)20,238,210,000,000 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)53,919,009,000,000 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)49,155,693,000,000 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)2,832,289,000,000 KRW
Note: 2019 data for Hyundai Motor Company on financial supervisory service

Is Hyundai a Japanese company? No, it’s Korean.

It’s a conglomerate in Korea run by the Chung family.

Chairman Chung Mong-koo succeeded Chung Ju-yung, who started from nothing and became one of the richest men in Korea.

Ulsan is the base of the multinational Hyundai Group, and Koreans nicknamed it the “Republic of Hyundai” or “Hyundai Metropolitan City”.

It’s considered a good place to work as they pay a high salary.

3. SK Group (에스케이)

Total Assets (자산총계)22,535,086,000,000 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)9,132,524,000,000 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)13,402,562,000,000 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)3,245,516,000,000 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)1,420,543,000,000 KRW
Note: 2019 data for SK Group on financial supervisory service

SK is the third largest conglomerate in Korea. 

Despite what some people think, SK stands for Sunkyong, not South Korea.

Started as Sunkyong Textile in 1953, the cornerstone of this group is energy & chemicals.

SK Group also owns the largest mobile service provider, SK Telecom, which Koreans consider the most reliable.

It has a somewhat positive reputation in Korea as it doesn’t do anything exceptionally well or poorly.

4. LG (엘지)

Total Assets (자산총계)9,577,961,000,000 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)251,216,000,000 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)9,326,745,000,000 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)874,672,000,000 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)581,161,000,000 KRW
Note: 2019 data for LG on financial supervisory service

Formaly Goldstar, LG is a Korean conglomerate run by the Koo family.

Followed by founder Koo In-hwoi, former Chairman Koo Jakyung and Koo Bon-moo, now Koo Kwang-mo runs the group.

LG is also known for smooth successions without bloody battles between family members, thanks to its strict management training.

Its tagline is “Life’s Good“.

LG is especially famous among netizens.

The reason being, LG makes good products, but their marketing team doesn’t always get the word out, so netizens promote LG products for them.

5. Lotte (롯데)

Total Assets (자산총계)7,796,179,617,620 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)2,395,666,359,495 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)5,400,513,258,125 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)N/A
Net Profit (당기순이익)N/A
Note: 2019 data for Lotte on financial supervisory service

A conglomerate with controversy over its nationality (due to Korea’s history as a colony of Japan).

It’s the only company headquartered in Japan among the top 10 Korean conglomerates.

As you can imagine, Koreans tend to have mixed feelings about this.

Their marketing team seems to be doing its job, because most Japanese people consider it a domestic company.

Lotte was founded by Shin Kyuk-ho, a Korean Japanese person, in 1948.

Then, he expanded his business to Korea with Lotte Confectionery in 1967.

Now, the second son of Shin Kyuk-ho, Shin Dong-bin, runs the group.

Shin Kyuk-ho used to manage the conglomerate by spending odd numbered months in Korea and even months in Japan.

His legacy was to build a 123-floor building, Lotte World Tower, which Koreans often call the “Tower of Sauron”.

6. POSCO (포스코)

Total Assets (자산총계)55,710,766,417,120 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)10,096,581,285,877 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)45,614,185,131,243 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)30,373,510,738,515 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)1,175,712,402,299 KRW
Note: 2019 data for POSCO on financial supervisory service

Launched in 1968 with the mission of national industrialization.

It was the first integrated steel mill in Korea.

Posco has grown to produce 41 million tons of crude steel a year.

It’s also a global business with production and sales in 53 countries.

Their reputation is pretty solid in Korea.

Parents would be proud if their children work there.

7. Hanwha (한화)

Total Assets (자산총계)7,931,295,000,000 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)4,507,346,000,000 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)3,423,949,000,000 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)4,433,163,000,000 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)100,270,000,000 KRW
Note: 2019 data for Hanwha on financial supervisory service

Founder Kim Chong-hee was nicknamed “Dynamite Kim” by the US military for his hot temper during the Korean War.

And things haven’t changed much since.

One example of him being overly passionate was:

When a Japanese student attacked a Korean student while attending high school, Kim Chong-hee beat the Japanese student and got expelled from school.

Kim Chong-hee suddenly died at the age of 58 in 1981 with no successor planned.

There was a dispute between the brothers Kim Seung-yeon and Kim Ho-yeon.

The first son Kim Seung-yeon took over at the age of 29.

But the dispute went on for ten years and ended with Kim Ho-yeon taking Binggrae.

Kim Seung-yeon has 3 sons.

His first son is currently the vice president of Hanwha Q Cells and considered to be the third generation successor.

Unlike his gangster father, addict brother, and other street fighter brother, he’s never caused a problem.

Despite the fact that they own the 63 Building, they continue to maintain their gangster image.

8. GS (지에스)

Total Assets (자산총계)6,172,968,000,000 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)758,728,000,000 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)5,414,240,000,000 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)365,336,000,000 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)277,528,000,000 KRW
Note: 2019 data for GS on financial supervisory service

GS Group is a Korean conglomerate.

It’s the 8th largest conglomerate in Korea.

GS Holdings was incorporated in 2004 and officially split from LG Group in 2005.

The Koo family has full control over LG Group and the Huh family runs GS Holdings.

GS has a relatively clean image among Koreans.

Their home shopping network is very popular.

They even have their own chain of convenience stores.

9. NongHyup (농협)

NongHyup became one of the top 10 conglomerate groups in 2010.

NFCF (National Agricultural Cooperative Federation) was established with a merger of agricultural cooperatives and the agricultural bank in 1961.

In the decades since, NACF has played an important role in the growth of the Korean economy.

In 2012, NACF started separate operations for its NongHyup Financial and NongHyup Agri-business groups.

NongHyup has a larger presence outside of Seoul given its agricultural roots.

Most people who live away from the capital do their banking with them.

10. Hyundai Heavy Industries (현대중공업)

Total Assets (자산총계)8,583,906,445,000 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)2,741,696,853,000 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)5,842,209,592,000 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)492,651,093,000 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)590,858,298,000 KRW
Note: 2019 data for Hyundai Heavy Industries on financial supervisory service

Hyundai is so big, it made this list twice.

Hyundai Heavy Industries is one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world.

Headquartered in Ulsan, Hyundai Heavy Industries was founded by Chung Ju-yung in 1972.

Its 4 core business divisions are Shipbuilding, Offshore & Engineering, Industrial Plant & Engineering, and Engine & Machinery.

11. Shinsegae (신세계)

Total Assets (자산총계)7,265,903,910,527 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)3,494,702,199,945 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)3,771,201,710,582 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)1,557,606,954,646 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)705,956,104,999 KRW
Note: 2019 data for Shinsegae on financial supervisory service

12. KT (케이티)

Total Assets (자산총계)27,733,854,000,000 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)14,837,153,000,000 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)12,896,701,000,000 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)18,204,751,000,000 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)431,828,000,000 KRW
Note: 2019 data for KT on financial supervisory service

13. Hanjin Group (한진)

Total Assets (자산총계)1,913,421,079,849 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)373,030,693,449 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)1,540,390,386,400 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)N/A
Net Profit (당기순이익)32,069,046,829 KRW
Note: 2019 data for Hanjin Kal on financial supervisory service

14. CJ (씨제이)

Total Assets (자산총계)2,311,282,516,146 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)2,047,886,723,143 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)263,395,793,003 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)1,046,370,346,744 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)-66,062,360,898 KRW
Note: 2019 data for CJ CGV on financial supervisory service

15. Doosan (두산)

Total Assets (자산총계)11,360,877,605,101 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)7,920,170,221,035 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)3,440,707,384,066 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)3,708,635,207,378 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)-495,190,677,202 KRW
Note: 2019 data for Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction on financial supervisory service

16. Booyoung (부영)

17. LS (엘에스)

Total Assets (자산총계)287,961,695,936 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)12,493,520,970 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)275,468,174,966 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)N/A
Net Profit (당기순이익)6,079,714,496 KRW
Note: 2019 data for LS Cable & System Asia on financial supervisory service

18. Daelim (대림)

Total Assets (자산총계)10,072,030,499,443 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)4,625,408,469,816 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)5,446,622,029,627 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)7,347,747,862,631 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)396,878,717,263 KRW
Note: 2019 data for Daelim on financial supervisory service

19. Mirae Asset Financial Group (미래에셋)

20. S-Oil (에쓰-오일)

Total Assets (자산총계)16,455,433,000,000 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)9,969,313,000,000 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)6,486,120,000,000 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)24,393,980,000,000 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)62,602,000,000 KRW
Note: 2019 data for S-Oil on financial supervisory service

21. Hyundai Department Store (현대백화점)

Total Assets (자산총계)5,795,560,155,000 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)1,963,854,413,000 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)3,831,705,742,000 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)1,385,243,797,000 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)195,656,742,000 KRW
Note: 2019 data for Hyundai Department Store on financial supervisory service

22. Hyosung (효성)

Total Assets (자산총계)3,186,012,395,511 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)2,242,082,228,246 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)943,930,167,265 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)3,110,979,030,962 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)11,919,974,352 KRW
Note: 2019 data for Hyosung Heavy Industries on financial supervisory service

23. Korea Investment Holdings (한국투자금융지주)

24. DSME (대우조선해양)

Total Assets (자산총계)11,067,648,301,949 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)7,436,139,441,145 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)3,631,508,860,804 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)8,317,581,776,350 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)-57,722,248,994 KRW
Note: 2019 data for DSME on financial supervisory service

25. Young Poong (영풍)

Total Assets (자산총계)2,282,953,196,769 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)462,704,604,322 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)1,820,248,592,447 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)1,347,979,587,535 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)76,098,143,168 KRW
Note: 2019 data for Young Poong on financial supervisory service

26. HARIM Co., Ltd. (하림)

Total Assets (자산총계)1,614,029,486,351 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)507,805,818,077 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)1,106,223,668,274 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)N/A
Net Profit (당기순이익)1,478,669,797 KRW
Note: 2019 data for Harim on financial supervisory service

27. Kyobo Life Insurance (교보생명보험)

28. Kumho Asiana Group (금호아시아나)

29. Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Corporation (KT&G) (케이티앤지)

Total Assets (자산총계)9,112,777,639,505 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)1,332,693,987,094 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)7,780,083,652,411 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)2,942,618,858,461 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)891,380,827,802 KRW
Note: 2019 data for KT&G on financial supervisory service

30. KOLON Group (코오롱)

Total Assets (자산총계)1,272,530,111,868 KRW
Total Liabilities (부채총계)772,185,761,350 KRW
Total Shareholder Equity (자본총계)500,344,350,518 KRW
Sales Revenue (매출액)60,462,264,683 KRW
Net Profit (당기순이익)9,146,518,952 KRW
Note: 2019 data for KOLON on financial supervisory service

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