Kim Chang-soo: A Life of Perseverance.

Kim Chang soo 1 scaled

Biography of Kim Chang-soo


Kim Chang-soo is a self-made billionaire from South Korea who made his fortune in the energy and construction industries. He is the founder of the SK Group, one of the largest conglomerates in South Korea, which is involved in various industries such as energy, chemicals, telecommunications, and construction. As of 2021, his net worth is estimated at $3.1 billion, according to Forbes.

Early Life and Education

Kim Chang-soo was born on November 16, 1937, in Seoul, South Korea, during the Japanese colonial period. He grew up in a poor family, and his father was a street vendor who sold rice cakes. Despite his humble beginnings, Kim was an excellent student and earned a scholarship to attend Yonsei University, one of the most prestigious universities in South Korea. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1960.

Career and Achievements

After graduation, Kim Chang-soo worked for a trading firm called Daewoo Corporation, where he gained valuable experience in the international trade and business. However, he soon realized that he wanted to start his own business, and in 1962, he founded his own trading company, which later became the SK Group.

Under Kim Chang-soo’s leadership, SK Group expanded rapidly and diversified into various industries. One of the company’s most significant achievements was the acquisition of Korea Oil Corporation (KOC) in the 1980s, which made SK Group the largest oil refiner in South Korea.

The company’s success continued in the 1990s, with expansion into the telecommunications industry, where SK Telecom became the top mobile carrier in South Korea. Kim also oversaw the construction of the world’s tallest building, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in the late 1990s.

Kim Chang-soo retired as the chairman of SK Group in 2003 and handed over the company to his son, Chey Tae-won. However, he still maintains a strong influence over the company’s management and continues to serve as an advisor.

Personal Life

Kim Chang-soo is known for his modest lifestyle and philanthropic activities. He is a devout Buddhist and has built many temples in South Korea and other countries. He has also donated millions of dollars to various charitable causes, including education, healthcare, and disaster relief.

Kim is married and has four children, including his son Chey Tae-won, who is the current chairman of SK Group.


Name Kim Chang-soo
Born November 16, 1937
Country South Korea
Sector Energy and construction
Companies SK Group
Net Worth $3.1 billion
Forbes URL
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