Half of South Korea’s conglomerate heirs marry within chaebol community

Posted on : 2018-09-30 15:21 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Marriages into political or official families decrease by a third from parents’ generation
The headquarters of the GS Group
The headquarters of the GS Group

A new survey has found that up to half of the second generation (children) from chaebol families married partners from within the chaebol community. While marriages into political or official families accounted for only 7.4%, a one-third reduction from their parents’ generation.

The survey, conducted by corporate evaluation company CEO Score and released on Sept. 27, looked at the marriages of family members in the top 100 Korean conglomerates headed by a single figure (including divorces and second marriages), finding that pairings between individuals within the corporate world accounted for almost half of all marriages in both the first and second generations of chaebol families. The figures for the first and second generations were 49.3% and 52.5% respectively.

It was discovered that GS had in-law relations with seven other chaebol groups, the highest number among the chaebols surveyed; Kumho Petrochemical, SeAH, Taekwang, LIG, JoongAng Ilbo, ASEA and Sampyo. LS had in-law relations with six other groups including Hyundai Motors, Doosan, OCI, BGF, Sampyo and Sajo, while Doosan was connected to four other groups (LS, Kolon, LIG and SPC) through marital relations.

A number of the chaebols had in-law relations with three other groups including Hyundai Motors, Kumho Asiana, Dongkuk Steel, LIG, Aekyung and Sampyo, while OCI, SPC, Daesang, Taekwang, Iljin and ASEA were each connected to two other groups. For Samsung, the marriage between vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong and Lim Se-ryung (from the Daesang Group) is the only case of marriage between chaebol families, but the marriage between Chairman Lee Kun-hee and Hong Ra-hee was treated as a union with political or official families.

Marriages between chaebol families and ‘powerful’ political or official families reduced by a third between the first and second generations. The figure was 23.4% for the first generation, but only 7.4% for the second generation. It appears that the gradual erosion of cozy relations between politics and business has also loosened the marital bonds that held these families together.

Meanwhile, the proportion of marriages between those in the corporate world and members of the general public doubled between the two generations, rising from 12.7% to 23.5%.

By Choi Hyun-june, staff reporter

Please direct comments or questions to [english@hani.co.kr]

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