Born to a poor farmer in the village of Asan-ri, Songjeon-myeon, Tongcheon-gun, Gangwon-do, Asan Chung Ju-yung was a creative entrepreneur whose legacy is written in the history of modern Korea.
With his pioneering spirit and fierce determination to pull the nation out of the destruction of the Korean War, Asan founded the Hyundai Motor Company and Hyundai Heavy Industries. Furthermore, with the establishment of the Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company, he led many historic projects around the world, including the building of the Jubail Industrial Harbor in Saudi Arabia and the construction of the Seosan Seawall.
As the head of the Bidding Committee for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, Asan also played a principal role in Korea’s successful bid to host the Games, which not only brought great honor to the Korean people but also increased recognition of Korea around the world. In 1998, in the first opening of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) since the division of the country, Asan transported hundreds of cattle to North Korea and paved the way for further inter-Korean exchanges.
In the belief that gains in business should be used to improve the welfare of all citizens, Asan implemented various welfare programs. In 1968, when the concept of social welfare was almost unknown in Korea, he launched the “local community education movement” to reflect his conviction that schools should contribute to resolving issues in local communities and assist in local development. In 1977, under the motto of “Helping those who are most in need in our society,” Asan founded the Asan Social Welfare Foundation, which provides social and medical services, research support, and scholarships for disadvantaged students. To provide modern medical services to rural residents, Asan prioritized the building of hospitals in remote regions. In 1989, with the aim of building a world-class medical institution in Korea, the Asan Medical Center was established in Seoul.
In October 2011, to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Asan Chung Ju-yung and to pass on and develop his pioneering spirit, the former lawmaker Chung Mong-joon, members of the founder’s family, and relevant companies established the Asan Nanum Foundation. Through this foundation, the spirit of Asan, who was personally a shining example of corporate social responsibility, lives on in the Asan Nanum Foundation.