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Milestones
Learn about our past footsteps, challenges, and innovations.

Milestones : Learn about our past footsteps, challenges, and innovations.

Won Man Lee

Sep. 7, 1904 ~ Feb. 14. 1994

I decided to provide clothes to our people.
I wanted to clothe our people in affordable yet strong garments, liberate women from the toil of washing clothes, and help women lead a more comfortable life without the need for sewing and mending socks.
(From the address celebrating the completion of the nylon yarn plant in August 1963)

Trailblazer of Korean
Textile Industry

Former Chairperson Won Man Lee was the trailblazer of Korean textile industry. He was the first to introduce nylon to Korea in 1953. Then, in April 1957, he founded Korea Nylon in Daegu to manufacture nylon. This became the foundation of today's KOLON Group. With the launch of Korea Nylon came the full-scale dissemination of finer-than-a-cobweb-yet-stronger-than-steel, low-priced-yet-enduring, silk-like nylon. In other words, it opened up the era of synthetic fibers. Lee frequently emphasized that a business was not about selling whatever you can get your hands on but about pursuing excellence while promoting national interests and the well-being of people. Korea Nylon, which upheld his belief, served as the trigger for the revolution of Korea's clothing culture.

Businessman-cum-Politician Who Led the Revival of Korea's Export

Former Chairperson Won Man Lee at the time continually stressed that manufacturing is as important as agriculture and that Korea must seek its growth engine in the manufacturing industries. He contributed to the creation of the framework for Korea's main economic policies by voicing the importance of the focus on export and industrial complexes. In 1963, he assumed the position of the chairperson of the organizing committee for the Korea Export Industrial Corporation and led the creation of the present-day Guro Industrial Complex and Gumi Industrial Complex. Lee, often dubbed the pioneer of the export boom of Korea, received the Presidential Prize in 1968; the Silver Tower Industrial Medal in 1977; and the Gold Tower Industrial Medal after passing away. He was also a respected politician who actively took part in a subcommittee on economic affairs during his service as a member of the Sixth and Seventh National Assembly.