South Korea was going through a serious trade deficit in the early 1960s. The domestic market of the country was not really that strong to support domestic businesses. After WWII, when the Allies divided Korea, all the natural resources were in the territory north of the 38th parallel. With its stronger military, North Korea, wasted little time before invading the South after the withdrawal of the U.S. military. During the year 1953, the country was finally at peace, and South Korea began an intensive drive towards economic development, rapidly transforming from an agrarian economy to a centrally planned, industrial economy. Determined to never again experience hostile invasions and lack of vital resources, South Korea became an economic miracle. Daewoo Group was established by Kim Woo Choong during this period of economic emergence. Daewoo, which means "Great Universe," was established in the year 1967.
Even though the company's initial share capital was just $18,000, Kim and his partners believed that the business will be successful. This proved true, and Daewoo went on to become among the nation's biggest chaebols, or companies. The company had operations within a wide array of industries, like for instance shipbuilding, motor vehicles, aerospace, heavy industry, consumer electronics, telecommunications, financial services and trading. Exports were greatly promoted and a network of offices was established in different nations. Ultimately, there were over 100 branches throughout the world. The business at its peak sold thousands of different items in over 130 nations. By the latter part of the 1990s the company had become considerably overextended. The business was seriously in debt, and Kim faced charges of corporate wrong doing. The South Korean government ordered the company dismantled in the year 1999 and other businesses purchased most of Daewoo's holdings.