You know about the news that Hyndai Motors soon starting manufacturing cars in Bangladesh, now read about the inspiring story how the South Korean car-maker and how it came to be one of the most reknowed automobile brands in the world.
The Hyundai Motor Company was founded in 1967 by Chung Yu-Tang. Hyundai operates the world's largest integrated automobile manufacturing facility in Ulsan, South Korea which has an annual production capacity of 1.6 million units; employs about 75,000 people worldwide. In 2019, the company had a revenue of $90 billion dollars.
Here is the fascinating story of cows to cars journey of Hyundai Motors:
A farmer's son who stole and sold his father's cow to climb up
Chung Yu-Tang (1915—2001) was an ordinary boy born to a poor peasant family in Tongchon-present North Korea. He was the eldest son and his Father harboured hopes that he would take over the family farm.
Chung barely managed to finish elementary school as he spent most of the time labouring on his parents' farm. However, this life-style was far from satisfactory to Chung and thus he started crafting his escape route from the village and poverty.
At the age of 16 he attempted his first escape from Tongchon. Chung and one of his friend packed their bags and trekked over 15 miles over dangerous pathways across Peachon valley in attempt to find work at Kowon, North Korea. They started working at the construction site until his father recovered his whereabouts and ordered him to return.
But Chung wasn't about to give up just yet, once everyone forgot about his first stint, he attempted another escape- this time to Seoul, South Korea. He sold one of his family cows and bought a train ticket to Seoul for KRW 70. The mission would have been successful, but his father found him two months later and returned him to Tongchong.
Rising through rice shop
Killing Chungs ambition wasn't as easy as his family thought. At the age of 18 he made his final escape. He left at night- once again bound to Seoul. Upon his arrival, he took up any jobs he could find to make ends meet.
Eventually he was employed by a rice store as a delivery man. Soon he became the integral part of the shop and was promoted to bookkeeper and accountant within first six months of employment. Chung drove moderate rice shop to prosperity and therefore upon the existing owner's death he inherited the shop and became sole proprietor of his first business.
He changed the name of the shop to Kyungil rice shop and made good returns. During the Japanese occupation, his business ran into trouble due to colonial policies and thus his first business came to an end.
From cows to cars
Chung, however, was not one to give up and even though he spent few years back in his family's home, he had no intention to return to farming. He hatched a new plan and soon was on route to Seoul on his fifth escape from hometown.
After some consideration he decided to open a service garage, the venture was successful and soon grew from 20 to 70 employees.
However, in 1943 Japanese occupational government merged the garage with steel plant and he was forced out of his dream and once again on a train back to his farm.
Once Korea gained independence from Japan in 1946, Chung saw another opportunity to escape the farm. He returned promptly to Seoul to take advantage of the post-war rebuilding and founded company called Hyundai.
He won number of significant contracts with Korean Nuclear Plants and Railways. His brother spoke good English and therefore they were able to secure some American Military contracts which made his business even bigger success.
From there on Hyundai was on its pathway to become one of the largest and most successful conglomerates started in South Korea. Along with its 32.8 percent owned subsidiary, Kia Motors, and its 100 percent owned luxury subsidiary, Genesis Motor, and electric vehicle subsidiary, Ioniq, altogether comprise the Hyundai Motor Group.
The word "Hyundai" in Korean means "modernity." It is a fitting name considering the brand's current slogan: New Thinking. New Possibilities.
While the "H" in Hyundai's automobile logo does stand for the company's name, it is also a stylised picture: a silhouette of two individuals shaking hands. One individual is a company representative and the other is a satisfied customer. Their exchange is a handshake of trust and satisfaction between company and consumer. Also notice how the "H" is slanted forward, actively to the right, rather than passively to the left.
The oval around the figures indicates Hyundai's global expansion, its aim to flourish in the worldwide market beyond the Asian continent.
Hyundai vehicles are sold in 193 countries through some 5,000 dealerships and showrooms.
A repayment in cows
In 1998 Chung led 500 cows across the Demilitarised Zone between North and South Korea as a repayment for the cow he stole from his father to make his escape to Seoul.
Chung hoped cattle would support struggling families in North Korea and pose as a symbolic gesture for re-unification of the peninsula.