The founder of LG Group, In Hwoi Koo, has been inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame. Considered the Father of Korea’s electronics industry, he was a pioneering entrepreneur who explored the electronics, chemical and energy industries in the early years of Korea’s industrialisation.
Bestowed by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame was created in 2000 to honor the leaders in the consumer technology industry who have shaped and advanced innovation. With In Hwoi Koo’s induction, LG Corp. and its subsidiaries represent more industry pioneers in the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame than any other company in the world.
This honor recognizes In Hwoi Koo’s key role in creating the worldwide consumer electronics business and establishing LG as a global force, while reflecting the emergence of Korea’s electronics industry as the global technology leader.
Founding Chairman Koo (1907-1969) laid the foundation for the modernization of Korea, which ultimately led to global leadership. At a time when Korea was still in the wilderness of technological civilization, every product he laid his hands on, such as plastics, toothpaste, radios, telephones, refrigerators and television sets, became the first of its kind in Korea and brought tremendous change to the Korean people’s lifestyle.
Believing firmly in the principle of creating harmony among people, he valued his customers and his talented personnel. He also stressed the importance of corporate social responsibility and was a model entrepreneur in the business community. Today, the company he founded, LG Corp., is a $120-billion global conglomerate comprising 60 different companies in the electronics, chemicals, telecommunications and services sectors.
“In Hwoi Koo is among the visionary leaders that laid the foundation that our industry continues to build upon,” said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “His vision, drive to excel and enthusiasm helped to create the innovative CE products and services that have improved the lives of consumers worldwide.”
Founding of Korea’s Electronics Industry
LG had its start in 1947 when In Hwoi Koo founded Lucky Chemical (now LG Chem). The early success of Lucky cosmetics cleared the way for his entry into the plastics industry. He marketed various plastic household products, including combs, toothbrushes and dishware. He also developed quality Korean toothpaste that replaced U.S.-made Colgate as the top seller in Korea.
In 1958, In Hwoi Koo produced another notable achievement in the history of Korean industry – establishing GoldStar Co. Ltd. (now LG Electronics). Just a year later, GoldStar produced a radio, the A-501, Korea’s first consumer electronics product, followed by a streak of “Korea’s first” products including telephones, fans, refrigerators, television sets, air conditioners, washing machines, and so on, and brought tremendous change to the lifestyle of Korean people. In Hwoi Koo’s pioneering efforts created the foundation of the Korean electronics industry and accelerated Korea’s rise as a global player in electronics and IT.
He then went on to found a number of companies in the chemical and electronics industries and demonstrated an outstanding pioneering spirit as a forerunner of industrialization. In 1962, he founded a company that manufactured cables for electricity and telecommunications, which played an important role in building the much-needed infrastructure in Korea. He also made significant contributions in establishing the telecommunications infrastructure in Korea by founding a telecom company that produced switchboards and public telephones.
Most Inductees in CE Hall of Fame
With In Hwoi Koo’s induction, LG Corp. and its subsidiaries represent more industry pioneers in the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame than any other company in the world.
The Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame includes eight other individuals associated with LG. Dr. Woo Paik (1948- ), former LG Electronics President and Chief Technology Officer, was inducted in 2004 for his pioneering work in digital HDTV video compression.
Other LG inductees were associated with Zenith Electronics, which is a subsidiary of LG Electronics USA. Inducted in the inaugural class of honorees in 2000 were: Commander Eugene F. McDonald, Jr. (1886-1858), Zenith’s late founder-president who pioneered shortwave radio and subscription television, among many other innovations; the late Dr. Robert Adler (1913-2007), long-time Zenith vice president of research and father of the TV remote control; and the late Carl Eilers (1925-2008), a 50-year Zenith veteran who was co-inventor of standards for Stereo FM and Stereo TV. The late Walter Fisher (1919-1994), former Zenith Chairman, long-time senior sales executive and industry statesman, was inducted in 2001. In 2009, the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame inducted the late Karl Hassel (1896-1975) and the late Ralph H.G. Mathews (1897-1982), co-founders of Chicago Radio Laboratory in 1918, which became Zenith in 1923. Richard Citta (1944- ), retired Zenith researcher, who developed the VSB digital television transmission system at the heart of the U.S. and Korean broadcasting standards, was inducted as part of the 2012 class along with LG’s In Hwoi Koo. The Zenith pioneers were inducted after LG Electronics acquired Zenith in 1999.
Significance of Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame
According to CEA, the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame inductees have made significant contributions to the world, and without their efforts, our lives would not be the same. “We owe these leaders our gratitude for laying the foundation for the marvels yet to come in this century full of opportunity and providing us with inspiration. It is truly amazing what a profound impact an idea can have once it is unleashed on the world. So with this in mind, the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame honors the leaders whose creativity, persistence, determination and sheer personal charisma helped to shape an industry and made the consumer electronics marketplace what it is today.”
CEA is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $195 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at www.CE.org.