CEO, Kumnam Choi
(Source : 윤준식 기자, 시사N라이프)
Hello, I am Kumnam Choi and running a metalworking factory called Kumsung Metal Precision.
I was born into a family of a mid-level officer in North Korea. Thanks to his hardworking and rank, my family lived in clover. So did I. After 15 years as a tank crew in the military and some years in an aircraft part factory, I started a family on my own. However, the happiness did not take long to turn upside down. My father was falsely accused and executed because he did not flatter. Years after, my brother also got tortured for nothing and died from it.
Then, I decided to defect from North Korea for the freedom and safety of my family. The journey was excruciating. I and my family had to hide in mountains for a month and strayed 20 miles a day for five days. Not to mention, I nearly got caught several times.
After ups and down, my family eventually made it to South Korea. Although I had nothing to survive, I could get a job through an acquaintance. For the six years of working at the company, I learned skills in metalworking and many lessons about the economy and how to live with it in Korea.
One of the priceless lessons I learned for the six years is that anyone, even I can have a dream and hope in Korea. I always wanted to have a factory of my own, so I decided to start a metal processing company, Kumsung Metal Precision.
Starting the company was no easy task. I needed as much help as I could get. Fortunately, I got a big help from an owner of a factory my wife was working. He was so generous that he gave me a lot of pieces of advice when it came to running a factory. What’s more, he let me use a small corner of his factory, equipment as well as necessary information for the business. I owe him a lot and thanks to that, I moved to a decent space from the corner with a bunch of canopies.
Kumsung Metal Precision. particularly produces weld test coupons used in practical tests for acquiring craftsmanship in welding. As the factory is located nearby large metal processing companies, many students are willing to acquire the craftmanship and take the examination for a job. Due to the high demands, the factory could settle in short period of time and produce a handful of orders.
Kumsung promises to produce at minimum price with maximum effort. Some test coupons are too poor to start welding, which makes students do extra work besides welding. To keep them in the welding practice, I put more effort and time to produce clean test coupons. Now, more and more customers started to acknowledge the effort. One day, someone came in and thanked me for the product which helped him pass the exam. That is when all my effort and struggle paid off.
Now, I run the factory and produce more lines of metalworking. I got small orders of parts for building airports and successfully delivered them. Also, I opened up online stores for more sales channels. I am spending busy days and nights, but never get tired thanks to those I owe a lot.
Now it is time for me to return the favor. I hope Kumsung Metal Precision. can set an example of a small-scale manufacturer by North Korean defectors. If the unification of Korea happens, I want to contribute not only to the development of the South but also to the North and my hometown. In the future, I will build a manufacturing factory for underdeveloped industries in the North and help young generations who wish to start small-scale manufacturing like me.
Nonetheless, I still face many challenges. There are only two of us, me and my wife, running the factory, and the machines are old. They break up from time to time, which costs me a lot of money and time.
With impact donation, I will improve the productivity by replacing the old with new machines. Also, I’d like to train and employ defectors like me for their self-reliance. Please watch me and Kumsung contribute to manufacturing in the unified Korea and its development.
Please support Kumsung Metal Precision. for the day of building the factory for the unification!