A chaebol (/ˈbɒl, ˈɛbəl/,[1][2] Korean: 재벌; lit. "rich family" or "financial clique"; Korean pronunciation: [tɕɛ̝.bʌl]) is a large industrial South Korean conglomerate run and controlled by an individual or family.[2] A chaebol often consists of multiple diversified affiliates, controlled by a person or group whose power over the group often exceeds legal authority.[3] Several dozen large South Korean family-controlled corporate groups fall under this definition. The term first appeared in English text in 1972.[2]

Revised RomanizationJaebeol

Chaebols have also played a significant role in South Korean politics. In 1988, a member of a chaebol family, Chung Mong-joon, president of Hyundai Heavy Industries, successfully ran for the National Assembly of South Korea. Other business leaders were also chosen to be members of the National Assembly through proportional representation.[4] Hyundai has made efforts in the thawing of North Korean relations, not without controversy.[5] Many South Korean family-run chaebols have been criticized for low dividend payouts and other governance practices that favor controlling shareholders at the expense of ordinary investors.[6]

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