In his speech at the ceremony to open the memorial museum for the late founder Shin Kyuk-ho, Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, the second son of the late founder, urged Lotte group executives and staff members to take to heart the founder’s spirit and gather everyone’s determination to make the future of Lotte.
“At this place in which the founder’s traces still remain, I think of the responsibility to inherit and evolve his wishes,” Chairman Shin said. “We have the mission to make today new and tomorrow advantageous,” he added.
The memorial museum for the late founder Shin is located in a 680 square meter space on the fifth floor of Lotte World Tower.
It has the late founder’s office, which was created identical to that of his life, in which “geohwachisil,” a Chinese saying meaning pursuing of substance, staying away from gorgeousness, and a painting of Korean agricultural village landscape are hung up.
Lotte World Tower was the embodiment of Shin’s last long-standing dream.
“Hardships facing me and Lotte are the subject of things to be overcome, not that of submission,” the late founder said.
The Lotte World Tower project underwent a myriad of hardships. Asked how many years the investment money could be returned, the late Lotte honorary chairman said in 2000 that it was impossible to be recouped.
He said, “When it contributes to raising the standing of Seoul and Korea, it is invaluable not counted in monetary terms.”
“It will bring about intangible profit over a long period of time, and I hope to create an international landscape over which Korea can take pride,” The late Shin said.
The late Shin was the last of the nation’s first-generation rags-to-riches industrial tycoons, including the late Samsung Group chairman Lee Byung-chul and the late Hyundai Group chairman Chung Ju-yung.
The entrepreneur started a gum business, catapulting it into the nation’s fifth largest business conglomerate which posted 100 trillion won in assets.
Even if the late was a successful businessman in Japan, he retained the Korean nationality, not nationalizing himself to Japan.
His spirit of contributing to the development of the nation through doing business can be found in his long-standing dream wish, Lotte Tower project.
The late founder’s memoirs, titled “Passion Does Not Sleep,” was unveiled on Mov. 3.
The book contains the late founder Shin’s childhood working as a shepherd, launching a business in Japan, expanding Lotte Group’s businesses, and massive investment stories in Korea and untold stories related to the Lotte World Tower.
Lotte Founder Shin, a Self-Made Tycoon who Built Nation’s 5th Biggest Conglomerate
The late honorary chairman was born in Ulsan as the eldest son of a family with five sons and daughters.
At age of 20, he left for Japan to study with money provided by his cousin.
Though he was admitted into the applied chemical department of Waseda University in Tokyo, he had to work as a newspaper deliveryman to make ends meet to continue his study.
The late Shin began his business by setting up a factory to produce a lubricant for machine tools in Japan, but he endured hard times since the plant was burnt down during World War II.
As he made a successful comeback in soap and cosmetics, the late Lotte founder ventured into the chewing gum business before he established the predecessor of Lotte Corp. in 1948.
The late Shin, once a literary enthusiast, loved the German novel, “The Sorrows of Young Werther,” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The current brand Lotte was named after its heroine Charlotte.
Lotte is short for Charlotte. The Lotte Founder rose to stardom as he expanded his business horizon to sectors such as chocolates, candies, biscuits, ice cream and beverage drinks.
He opened Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, Seoul, in 1973 and Lotte Shopping Center, the predecessor of the main outlet of Lotte Department Store, in 1979, finding a path for corporate growth that aligned perfectly with the growth of the national economy.
Lotte, venturing into areas such as chemicals and construction, moved from strength to strength to rise to the nation’s fifth largest conglomerate, with assets worth 100 trillion won.
The Lotte World Tower project, now the nation’s tallest skyscraper, was launched at the behest of the late founder Shin, who purchased a site in 1987, saying he wished to build the tallest landmark structure in Jamsil. The dream became reality 30 years later.
The late honorary chairman became the first business in the tourism sector to be honored with the Order of Industrial Service, Gold Tower.