The collective effort from the local corporate sector played a pivotal role in giving PyeongChang its long-coveted wish of hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics.
####CaptionIOC member and Samsung Group chief Lee Kun-hee (front) and Bid Committee and Hanjin Group chairman Cho Yang-ho visit the Durban Riverside Hotel on Monday, where the Korean delegation is staying to promote PyeongChang’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. (Yonhap News)
Led by Hanjin Group chairman Cho Yang-ho, head of the hosting committee, companies all across South Korea had cheered on PyeongChang right up until the last minute.
Cho had even attended the wedding of Monaco’s Prince Albert just days ahead of the announcement to meet members of the International Olympic Committee and enlist their support for PyeongChang.
“The message from Durban is what will realize our dream of bearing the five rings of the winter games,” the chairman said.
He recalled that when he took the job as the committee chair in September of 2009, it was based on his strong belief that he must “be of service to this great national venture.”
In total, Cho has participated in over 30 international events involving winter sports or where he knew he could meet with IOC members to coax their votes.
Lee Kun-hee, owner of Samsung Group and one of the world’s most famous business leaders, also played a crucial role, despite having to stay behind the scenes due to his position as a member of the IOC.
Park Yong-sung, chairman of Doosan Heavy Industries and head of the Korean Olympic Committee, also joined his fellow business leaders in the campaign.
The corporate efforts for PyeongChang, in its third bid for the Olympic games, actually began months before the announcement -- as early as the beginning of this year.
In addition to serving as the mouthpiece for Korea to showcase PyeongChang’s capacity as the best candidate, the local companies had rolled up their sleeves to provide the necessary infrastructure.
During the due diligence period in February, KT Corp., the nation’s largest fixed-line carrier, provided high-speed telecom services.
In terms of funding support, Nonghyup topped the list by offering 1 billion won ($937,000), while Hyundai Motor Group gave 500 million won.
SK Group and Lotte each forked out more than 800 million won, while GS Group gave 500 million. Hanwha Group and LG Group provided 400 million won and 800 million, respectively, to support the campaign.
Since then, companies have been holding individual campaigns to gather South Koreans together to support PyeongChang.
By Kim Ji-hyun (email@example.com