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APRIL 14, 2005

LG and Formula 1

LG (or rather Lucky Goldstar to give the company its full name) is one of Korea's famous industrial "chaebols", vast corporations which are involved in a selection of different businesses. LG is involved principally in chemicals, electronics, financial services and trading but it began as company making tooth powder during World War II. The firm was started by Koo In-Hwoi and in 1947 he expanded the business to include detergents, shampoo, face creams and toothpaste. He called the business the Lucky Chemical Company. In the late 1950s he started another company called Goldstar to manufacture electrical appliances. After Koo's death in 1969 his son Koo Cha-Kyung took over the business and there was further diversification but Goldstar used tended to build electronic machinery which was then badged by other companies. The two companies were merged in the 1980s and Lucky Goldstar boomed in the 1990s and began to sell its own brand machinery, using LG. In recent years that programme has accelerated and LG has been looking at different ways to publicize the brand. It began with a small sponsorship of Minardi but recently has taken on a big role in the new FIA World Touring Car Championship and is also backing ITV's Formula 1 coverage in Britain. The company has looked at a bigger sponsorship in F1 but was rather suprised by the way some of the F1 teams did business and retreated. We heard that the Koreans were looking hard at trackside signage but there are now stories that a deal with a team might once again be on the cards.