Future founder of «Lotte» was born in 1922 in peasant family of middle class. There were ten children in the family, five sons and five daughters, but parents did not spare the money for the eldest son education Shin Gek Ho, so finally he graduated something like livestock college and for some time he worked for ... inseminating station .
In 1941 Shin Gek Ho went to Japan. It was time of mass migration of Koreans to the metropolis, and – contrary to current myths – this migration till 1942-1943 years was mostly quite voluntary: people went to earn because wages in Japan were much higher.
However, Shin Gek Ho went to Japan not to earn long yen, but to study. He worked as a loader and milk distributor simultaneously graduating full course of Japanese high school and preparing for entrance exams.
He got his diploma in 1946, and immediately arranged his first business: workshop manufactured soap and simple makeup. Such products were immediately sold in war-torn Tokyo, and couple years later young Korean was already the owner of considerable amount. Using this capital he decided to found a new company that was officially registered on June 28, 1948. The company was called "Lotte" and exactly from this, as it is easy to guess, the history of the concern started. At that moment total staff of the company included only 10 people.
Name chosen for new company reflects literary tastes of its founder. Like most young, educated Koreans of his generation, Shin Gek Ho knew and loved European classical literature so concern is named after the heroine of "The Sorrows of Werther", one of the first Goethe works.
Initially “Lotte” company was specialized in chewing gum production but in the early fifties, in terms of Japanese economic boom, Shin Gek Ho decided to produce chocolate and sweets. The Japanese tastes have changed and such products were more and more in high demand. So just within one decade "Lotte" became a powerful force in the Japanese food market, especially sweets. By the sixties Shin Gek Ho, who was only about forty years , already could be considered as sovereign Japanese tycoon, candy king and chocolate baron.
Lotte began its business in South Korea in 1967. Subsequently to food production Shin Gek Ho drew his attention to retailing - practically there were no modern retailing form in Korea that time. And this decision proved to be prescient: today, trading accounts for 40% out of $80 billion turnover of the group. Following to food production and trading, Lotte found new areas of activity, remaining, however close to final customer: construction, hotel business, tourism, amusement parks, financial services...
Explosive growth spurt of Lotte business began 20 years ago, when youngest son of Shin Gek Ho - Shin Dong Bin returned to Korea from London. He came back with new knowledge after six years experience in Nomura investment bank: it is not necessary to borrow money for development only from the banks. Family got reliable source of cheap finance for further expansion after reincorporation of the most of their companies as joint-stock companies but keeping control over them. And during these 20 years, Korean business of Lotte grows by 16% average per year. While the Japanese one stagnates together with Japanese economy. And finally Korean business of the group is 20 times more than Japanese one.
In South Korea, Lotte is a real giant and almost everything connected to retailing and catering belongs to LOTTE: nearly 2000 stores of Lotte of various forms and more than 7,000 supermarkets 7-Eleven, restaurants TGI Friday's and "Lotteria" ... the fast-food chain, coffee shop Angel-in-usCoffee and stores Zara and Uniqlo...