Far more than just a car company, Daewoo is (or rather was) one of the largest industrial conglomerates in the world. Founded in 1967 in South Korea it rapidly became one of the true success stories of the Asian Tiger economic boom. Within 15 years the company was producing light and heavy engineering, was one of the world's major shipbuilders, had offices on every continent and was turning over half a billion US dollars every month.

The expansion continued apace throughout the 1980s with forays into chemical production, oil drilling and a mind-boggling array of industrial processes. A major campaign was launched to export their low-priced medium-quality cars to Europe and to the US, and in 1996 they were in the top 10 largest companies in the world.

Then came the Asian economic crash, and Daewoo's fortunes abruptly reversed. Extremely over-exposed to the Asian market Daewoo's huge profits suddenly became equally huge losses. Haemorrhaging millions of dollars every day all kinds of restructuring plans were tried, but eventually the debts became overwhelming and on November 7, 2000 the group was declared officially bankrupt with global debts of over US$10 billion.

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