Chung Joon-son, left, assistant professor in the signal division at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), poses with Dr. Choi Joong-kyung, chairman of the Korea-America Association (KAA), during the 20th Korea-America Friendship Night at the Grand Walkerhill Seoul, Tuesday, after receiving the Korea-America Friendship Award on behalf of his late grandfather, Chung Se-yung. The late Chung, former chairman of Hyundai Motor Co., was posthumously chosen by KAA as the recipient of the award. /KAA-Yonhap
By Lee Sun-ho

A posthumous award being given to a prominent industrialist who passed away 17 years ago is uncommon. However, such an honor became a reality in an award ceremony at the Grand Walkerhill Seoul on Tuesday.

The ceremony was held during an annual event called the 20th Korea-America Friendship Night, which was organized by the Korea-America Association (KAA), chaired by Dr. Choi Joong-kyung.

The honoree, unanimously chosen by KAA's citation committee, is Chung Se-yung (1928-2005), better known as Pony Chung, former chairman of Hyundai Motor Co. (HMC) and honorary chairman of Hyundai Development Co. (HDC)

Graduating in 1953 from Korea University in Seoul, he went to Miami University in Ohio for his master's degree in political science. He joined the family business in 1957. In 1967, he and his eldest brother, Chung Ju-yung, founded HMC, with the former appointed as its first chief executive.

From its humble beginnings, HMC produced Korea's first native car, the Pony, by assembling British Fords under license and buying technology from Japan's Mitsubishi in 1974.

Bright green Pony taxies were ubiquitous either on Korea's roads or America's urban streets into the 1980s, giving him the cute nickname, Pony Chung. Learning from adversity, he worked tirelessly to improve quality in the diverse American market. He was well-placed to weather the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

His dedication to steady and multinational motives was not just about selling vehicles but symbolized the global rise of Korea's economy, which had been limited to domestic consumption, as well as the starting point of Korea's growth as an economic powerhouse.

His car-making business never grew soft in the protected Korean market, but faced competition from other local competitors and was conditional on meeting the vital American export market.

His exceptional achievements of laying the solid foundation for close collaborations between Korea and America through his dedication to the car industry, with his enterprising spirit and rational management mindset over his 77-year lifespan, should be highly appreciated.

At the end of the award ceremony for the Late Pony Chung, attended by his bereaved only son (virtually), first grandson and his wife (in person) and six staff from HDC, the deceased Korean industrialist left a variety of lessons and legacies not only in Korea but also in many trading partner nations on the globe.

Human life is as short as everyone thinks. Pony Chung's prestigious accolade, however, tells us that a human being's lifelong, relentless challenges and accomplishments shine everlastingly, even after the dedicated figure himself fades away.


The writer (wkexim@naver.com) is a freelance columnist living in Seoul.

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Chung Joon-son, left, assistant professor in the signal division at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), poses with Dr. Choi Joong-kyung, chairman of the Korea-America Association (KAA), during the 20th Korea-America Friendship Night at the Grand Walkerhill Seoul, Tuesday, after receiving the Korea-America Friendship Award on behalf of his late grandfather, Chung Se-yung. The late Chung, former chairman of Hyundai Motor Co., was posthumously chosen by KAA as the recipient of the award. /KAA-Yonhap
By Lee Sun-ho

A posthumous award being given to a prominent industrialist who passed away 17 years ago is uncommon. However, such an honor became a reality in an award ceremony at the Grand Walkerhill Seoul on Tuesday.

The ceremony was held during an annual event called the 20th Korea-America........

© The Korea Times


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