15 January 2020
The Weekly
South Korea

Lotte Group lost its founder Shin Kyuk-ho on Sunday. Shin, who was 97, was suffering from several age-related ailments and was hospitalized in Seoul, South Korea, where he died at 4:29 pm, read a statement from Lotte Group. Shin started a small business of manufacturing chewing gum in Japan and turned it into the fifth largest South Korean multinational company. Shin was also the last of the South Korean entrepreneurs who started a family business and successfully turned it into a conglomerate. Shin migrated to Japan during the 1940’s and started making chewing-gum in 1948. Shin manufactured chewing-gum as a small family business while in Japan. He later returned to South Korea and collaborated with the government in the 1960s to rebuild the war-torn country. The country's rapid industrialization saw Lotte, along with other prominent names like Samsung and Hyundai, turned the family-run industrial group, also known as chaebol, into the fifth largest conglomerate in South Korea. Lotte chewing-gum became popular with the US soldiers who were posted in Japan at that time. The brand started gaining popularity and by 1963, Shin has more than 3,000 employees. He expanded the business as a confectionery brand and later ventured into baseball and also advertising. Today, Lotte has 95 brands ranging from petrochemicals to giant baseballs to department store.