Quick access to top menu Direct access to main contents Quick access to page bottom

South Korean Office Worker Traveled to Laos with $3,000, Becomes Top Player in Business Sector

KOLAO Chairman Oh Sei Young of LVMC Holdings starts a used car business in Laos with $3,000
Known as ‘Samsung of Laos’

Source: Youtube@ChannelA Canvas

In 1997, $3,000 was worth approximately 3.3 million Korean won. Recently, a former corporate employee who left for Laos with such a small amount of money to start a business has gained attention for his remarkable journey to the top of the business hierarchy in Laos.

The main character of this story is Chairman Oh Sei Young, the head of a Korean-Laotian company known as KOLAO.

Chairman Oh began his career 1988 at Kolon Corporation, overseeing overseas trade. After gaining six years of valuable trade experience, he left the company. This was when Vietnam initiated its economic reforms and opened up to the world. Recognizing this as an opportunity, he left for Vietnam.

After his business failed in 1997, he went to present-day Laos with $3,000. At that time, there were only five Korean cars in Laos, and Japanese cars with right-hand drive, contrary to Laotian roads’ direction, were popular. Chairman Oh recognized this opportunity and began importing used cars from Korea to sell them in Laos.

KOLAO Group was founded when its founder borrowed money from his sister to import five used cars. The company specialized in importing and reselling Hyundai and Kia vehicles, and due to the nature of used cars, they also established an after-sales service center.

As his business expanded, Chairman Oh established a company named KOLAO, which stands for ‘Korea’ and ‘Laos.’

Source: LVMC Holdings

Chairman Oh also showed interest in motorcycles. His market research showed that driving at speeds over 37 miles per hour was difficult due to poor road conditions in Laos. He concluded they needed cheap, reliable motorcycles with plenty of storage space.

No motorcycles that met these requirements were available for import, so Chairman Oh imported parts from other countries and manufactured customized motorcycles. These products quickly gained a market share of over 35% after their launch.

The business rapidly expanded from there. He ventured into the finance sector to provide financial services to people who wanted to buy motorcycles but couldn’t afford them. The IndoChina Bank, established in 2012, became the top private bank in just four years. He started a logistics business with vehicles as the foundation and expanded into the construction and leisure sectors.

Source: LVMC Holdings

Now, KOLAO is known as the ‘Samsung of Laos’. It is the largest private company in Laos, reportedly generating an annual turnover of approximately $1.5 billion.

The tax that the company pays to the Laotian government accounts for about 20% of the total taxes. Chairman Oh has received the highest corporate award and highest merit medal in Laos for his contributions. The company is ranked as the number one company in Laos for which to work.

A few years ago, the company changed its name to LVMC Holdings to target emerging markets in the Indo-China Peninsula.

The company also makes social contributions by providing free education, establishing orphanages, and creating donation culture foundations.

Source: Online Community

Meanwhile, Chairman Oh is currently focusing on the retail business.

The high-end mart Kokkok Mart opened its first store in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, last November. Along with the Korean-style convenience store, Kokkok Convenience Store plans to open about 20 more branches across Laos this year.

On the 22nd of last month, U-Dee, an investment company of LVMC Holdings, signed a master franchise agreement with E-Mart. Under this agreement, U-DEE will use E-Mart’s brand, store design, and operational know-how to pay a portion of its sales to E-Mart.

Chairman Oh has recognized Laos as a market with high retail potential due to its domination by small shops and traditional markets without large marts.

The industry focuses on how much further Chairman Oh and LVMC will expand.

+1
0
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0
pikle's Profile image

Comments0

300

Comments0

Share it on