Economic Power in South Korea Increasingly Concentrated in Chaebol

SEOUL — The Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ), a prominent progressive civic group, warned on Wednesday that the concentration of economic power within South Korea's chaebol, or large family-run conglomerates, is intensifying. The group highlighted that the combined assets of the country's five largest conglomerates now exceed 60 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP).

According to Yonhap News Agency, the total assets of the top five chaebol — Samsung, SK, Hyundai Motor, LG, and Lotte — reached 1,324.8 trillion won (approximately US$1 trillion) as of 2022, which accounts for 61 percent of the nation's GDP of 2,161.7 trillion won. The group pointed out that in 2007, the assets of these conglomerates were 350.2 trillion won, or 32 percent of the GDP, indicating that their assets have increased nearly 3.8 times over the past 15 years, doubling their share of the national GDP. The civic group has called on the government to implement measures to prevent the chaebol from further increasing their assets through real estate investments and indiscriminate business expansion.

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