South Korea was dealing with a serious trade deficit during the early 1960s. The nation's domestic market was not strong enough to support domestic businesses. Following WWII, when the Allies divided Korea, all the natural resources were in the territory north of the 38th parallel. North Korea, with its stronger military, wasted little time before invading the South following the withdrawal of the U.S. military. In the year 1953, the nation was finally at peace, and South Korea started an intensive drive towards economic development, transforming rapidly from an agrarian economy to an industrial, centrally planned economy. Determined to never again experience hostile invasions and lack of essential resources, South Korea became an economic miracle. Daewoo Group was established by Kim Woo Choong during this period of economic emergence. Daewoo, that means "Great Universe," was established in 1967.
Even though the company's initial share capital was only $18,000, Kim as well as his partners believed that the business would be successful. This proved true, because Daewoo became among the biggest chaebols, or corporations of the country. The corporation had operations within a wide range of industries, like building ships, motor vehicles, aerospace, heavy industry, consumer electronics, telecommunications, trading and financial services. Exports were greatly promoted and a network of offices was established in various countries. Ultimately, there were over 100 branches throughout the world. The company at its peak sold thousands of different products in over 130 countries. By the latter part of the 1990s the business had become considerably overextended. The company was seriously in debt, and Kim was accused of corporate wrong doing. The South Korean government ordered the company dismantled during 1999 and other corporations bought most of Daewoo's holdings.