OWL Magazine Korea

Lim Jong-won: “Lotte and Shin Kyuk-ho, there is no border in challenging passion”

As I entered the second semester of my senior year in college, there was something unavoidable – the pressure of “employment.” Eventually, facing graduation, I ended up submitting job applications to various companies. Whether it was because my major was in humanities rather than business, or the job market conditions were unfavorable, or my skills were lacking, I received more notifications of “application rejection” than notifications of “application acceptance.”

After repeated rejections, occasionally I would receive a “application acceptance” notification. During the semester, I applied to “Lotte Department Store” and got a call, securing an opportunity for an interview.

“The time when I prepared for interviews with various books about companies”

While preparing for employment, individuals have their own methods of preparation. The most common approach was through “employment study groups,” where students gather to conduct mock interviews and prepare for employment. Personally, instead of preparing in that way, I chose to read various books about companies to prepare for both resumes and interviews. After receiving a notification of application acceptance from Lotte Group, I visited the library and borrowed about 4-5 books related to “Lotte.” One of the books I came across was “Lotte and Shin Kyuk-ho, there is no border in challenging passion.”

“Founder and leader of Lotte Group, Chairman Shin Kyuk-ho”

Chairman Shin Kyuk-ho, who founded and led Lotte Group, is no longer in this world. Born in 1921, Chairman Shin Kyuk-ho passed away on January 19, 2020, at the age of 98.

Chairman Shin Kyuk-ho conducted business between Korea and Japan, starting from a small company and building it into a major conglomerate known as “Lotte Group.”

This book was published while Chairman Shin Kyuk-ho was still alive, providing insights into his management philosophy and the values pursued by Lotte Group.

“A book covering the values pursued by Lotte Group and Chairman Shin Kyuk-ho”

The story of how the name “Lotte” was derived from the character “Charlotte” in the work “The Sorrows of Young Werther” is now well-known. The book also introduces this story and defines “Charlotte” as a character representing the lover of all mankind.

In reality, behind Lotte World Tower in Jamsil, Seoul, you can find a statue of the writer Goethe, who wrote “The Sorrows of Young Werther.” The statue was moved from Berlin’s Tiergarten Park to Jamsil, South Korea, and the entire process of production, transportation, and installation cost a total of 1.6 billion won.

“The values pursued by Lotte: 3L”

The book naturally explains how the company Lotte was established, how it developed, and what management philosophy it adopted. Starting as a company producing gum in Japan, Lotte gradually expanded its business and now provides not only food in Korea but also aims to go beyond basic necessities and establish a culture industry encompassing proper shopping and entertainment culture.

To achieve this, Lotte pursues the values of “3L,” which stands for “Love, Life, Liberty.” This can be translated into Korean as “사랑 (Love), 삶 (Life), 자유 (Liberty).” This is reminiscent of Bentham’s “utilitarianism,” as Lotte’s pursued values align with the idea of “the greatest happiness for the greatest number.”

Through “3L,” Lotte aims to provide the foundation of life, which is “basic necessities,” to everyone. Furthermore, the ultimate goal of Lotte is to build a cultural industry centered around department stores, encompassing shopping and entertainment beyond basic necessities.

“Chairman Shin Kyuk-ho’s dedication to the construction of Second Lotte World”

The reason Chairman Shin Kyuk-ho was dedicated to the construction of Second Lotte World in Seoul’s Jamsil area was precisely for this reason. He felt a sense of regret that South Korea lacked a proper entertainment culture. To address the shortage of buildings or areas with entertainment elements in Seoul, he wanted to construct Second Lotte World, providing people with such cultural and service offerings.

  • “(The Republic of Korea) cannot keep showing only palaces to foreign tourists forever. There must be something in the world’s best that will attract foreigners. A building that can be the world’s best can become automatically good advertising and promotion. It could be a trade center or an entertainment facility.”
    • An interview with Chairman Shin Kyuk-ho conducted decades before the construction of Lotte World Tower Signiel in Seoul

At the time the book was published, the construction of “Second Lotte World” was facing difficulties, and there was only a plan with no details about what would happen afterward. However, as we already know, “Second Lotte World” was eventually constructed in Jamsil and became the tallest building in South Korea.

“Do your best in the present, cherish people, and think about the future.”

The book also delves into various business ventures carried out by Lotte. Details such as building Lotte Department Store in Sogong-dong, importing and installing top-quality tiles from abroad, are also introduced. Specific aspects like these can be confirmed by reading the book.

Finally, a memorable sentence from the book is, “Do your best in the present, cherish people, and think about the future.” This is a phrase that is not only suitable for companies but also for individuals living their lives.

Doing your best every moment, living without regrets is the most important mindset.

Reading the book “Lotte and Shin Kyuk-ho, there is no border in challenging passion,” which contains the history of Lotte Group, provided an opportunity to correct the critical thoughts I had about Lotte Group.

“Lotte and Shin Kyuk-ho, there is no border in challenging passion”

  • Author: Lim Jong-won
  • Publication Date: July 15, 2010
  • ISBN13: 9788935208357
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