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May 26, 2009

Jaebeol. I can’t help but be awed by their size and omnipresence when I was in Korea.

Jaebeol (a.k.a. chaebol) means the groups of family-owned conglomerates. The Japanese know them as zaibatsu.

And man, they are frickin big. Did you know, for example, that the revenue of the Three Stars Group (also known as Samsung), one of the biggest jaebeols in town, is comparable to the entire GDP of Malaysia in 2007? And that apart from your LCD TVs, microwave ovens and ocean-faring ships, they also constructed Taipei 101 and Tower 2 of the Petronas Twin Towers?

All that coming out of what’s at the core a mom-and-pop business. It makes the billionaires of Hong Kong and Singapore look like little kids in the playground.

Well, I enjoyed my trip immensely, thanks to my wonderful hosts Jeong and Ban for the great company, great food and a fantastic inside look at one of the greatest jaebeols this century.

Here’s Seoul at night. Neo and Agent Smith is probably out there somewhere flying from rooftop to rooftop locked in mortal combat. 🙂

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2009 11:50 am

    well , i read that they had some major problems competing with the japs while building Petronas Twin Towers 😛

    I also heard one of the towers is leaning slightly. Wonder if that’s the one the Koreans built.

  2. May 27, 2009 8:25 am

    that’s why we have the skybridge, to ‘balance’ the 2 towers.

    by the way, the 2 towers are always swaying due to the wind.

    Its like a couple holding hands. I hope its not designed such that if one goes down, so does the other. 🙂

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