Keiretsu and Chaebols
Keiretsu - a group of closely related Japanese companies, often with interlocking ownership. Traditionally, there have been both horizontal and vertical keiretsu. Horizontal keiretsu center on a main bank and their companies span various industries. Vertical keiretsu center on a major manufacturer, like Toyota, and include its various suppliers and wholesalers. The keiretsu encourage its members to award contracts to sister companies and cooperate with each other for the overall good of the keiretsu. The keiretsu dominated the Japanese economy in the last half of the twentieth century. More recently, however, the keiretsu have been losing their grip, and the long-term business relationships of the keiretsu are fraying. When written in Japanese, keiretsu comprises two characters, meaning "system" and "row". Thus the term keiretsu is now used more generally to mean an alliance of companies and individuals that work together for mutual benefit Chaebols - The chaebol are the large, conglomerate family-controlled firms of South Korea characterized by strong ties with government agencies. The name, which means business association, is properly pronounced jay BOL but the spelling pronunciation chay bol is considered acceptable by Korean speakers. There were family-owned enterprises in Korea in the period before 1961 but the particular state-corporate alliance came into being with the regime of Park Chung Hee (1961-1979). The chaebol were prohibited from owning a bank. The Park regime nationalized the banks of South Korea and could channel scarce capital to industries and firms it saw as necessary for achieving national objectives. The government-favored chaebol had special privileges and grew large. This gave the impression of economic success for the chaebol that was not always valid. In some cases chaebol grew not because they were profitable but merely because they could borrow vast funds. When the international economy took a downturn these...
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