South Korean conglomerates and finance companies were the driving force in Korea’s import-led economic system and also the main culprits of the country’s economic turmoil in the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. The cold reality of the situation began to set in after Korea received the relief package from the International Monetary Fund. At the center of the transition from the government-led economic growth to neoliberalism, which was then considered the “global standard,” was a group of professional bureaucrats. Meanwhile, Kim Woochoong, chairman of Daewoo Group who led the growth of the first Korean general trading company into one of the top four chaebol conglomerates in the industry criticized the government’s response and actively encourages the expansion of imports. The old order and the new order of South Korea’s economy clashed, resulting in the Daewoo Group incident that took place in the summer of 1999.
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