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The fall of the House that Kim BuiltThe collapse of South Koreas second largest conglomerate Daewoo Motor is a bankruptcy that could be good for Asia The founder of the firm Kim Woo Choong could look out over the South Korean capital and see the enormous headquarters building of his firm which he founded in 1967 He started out as a shirt salesman 30 years ago and now he has created Daewoo Daewoo is a multinational with sales of around sixty billion dollars and some two hundred thousand employees which half of them are over seas The company made just about anything anywhere ships in South Korea microwave ovens in France and fertilizer in Vietnam The car business had been Kims latest and biggest target He had been determined to turn Daewoo into a global giant But a year ago the Daewoo group began to collapse under its enormous debts some parts were broken up some parts sold Now on November eighth the dream was finally shattered when the Daewoo Motor Company was faced with bankruptcy The collapse of the company has shocked South Korea The government called an emergency cabinet meeting But the firms final day of reckoning was a long time coming The company had been fighting for months with unions to try to agree job cuts that might allow it to be sold Ford had looked the firm over but walked away Americas General Motors and its partner Italys Fiat will remain the only likely suitorsThe bankruptcy of the company however has significance beyond South Korea The company is one of the many casualties of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis Just like other failed companies in Thailand Indonesia and the Philippines and elsewhere instead of expiring under a mountain of debt it has staggered on By the end of June Daewoo Motors assets had shrunk to 178 trillion won however its debts had grown to 182 trillion won It is a similar
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