Gyung Jae Lee is passionate about energy saving and the world of lighting. A mechanical engineer who started out life working for the then Lucky Goldstar that later morphed into ‘LG’ Mr. Lee has started scouting around for his latest venture. It’s not like he is not busy at 75.
The company he established in 1987 is today a truly global operation – it has two manufacturing and assembly plants in China, two in Mexico and one in Hanoi, Vietnam. The worldwide workforce exceeds 3,000 and Mr Lee is looking to expand whilst simultaneously encouraging the use of LED solutions.
Guyun Jae Lee started his professional career in 1966 as a freshman mechanical engineer. In those days he worked on mechanical switchboards in a time which he admits development of technology was slow in relative terms.
Leadership and vision he says are critical. Explaining his rationale Mr Lee asks us to consider these startling statistics: In 1964 Korea’s exports had a volume of USD 100 million. In 2017 the value of exports from Korea was a phenomenal USD 580 Billion. That was achieved in 53 years. He attributes this to dynamic political leadership and as he says, “we had brains, labour and technocrats.”
In 1969 he joined Samsung Group which even then was a huge Korean Group. In the 70’s the Korean government wanted to embark on a drive to ensure that they became a USD 10 billion economy. This was achieved in 1977. The key here was that everyone in Korea were bundled together in this drive. The people were actively informed as to the effects this would create and everyone was aware. “in those days we had zero components but in time we changed that situation ad today Korea is a dynamic operation”. Clearly visionary leadership has helped propel success and boosted the entrepreneurial spirit.
Huge Korean conglomerates emerged along with the spectacular economic growth. Companies like Samsung already huge and Hyundai became globally known and placed Korea firmly on the road to prosperity.
Mr Lee says the Korean leadership had packages of 5-year development programmes which enabled the country to prosper economically in a very strategic manner. The people of Korea were as one almost always with the notion ‘How to make Korea great’. Mr Lee says he was part and parcel of that great progress and the Koreans embraced technology from companies like Siemens and NEC of Japan. At that time he says, Korea had no component they imported everything. The scenario s markedly different now, with the majority of components manufactured locally. He noted that initially Korea was just assembly but with planning and investment it is a robust economy truly manufacturing whilst also having assembly plants.
In 1987 Gyung Jae Lee created SamjinInd Co and he quis, ‘I still work for it’. He and his family remain the largest stockholders of the company which is listed on the Korean exchange KOSDAQ. This was done in 2004 and it enjoys a healthy market cap.
He seeks opportunities in this region – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and is attracted to Sri Lanka as his base.
LED technology Mr Lee says, is an attractive propostion for more ways than one. It saves energy, in fact it uses 70% less energy than conventional lighting and will aid countries like Sri Lanka that are ever so dependant on importing coal and fuel.
The aspect of LED technology that excites Mr Lee is the concept of ‘Human Centric Lighting’. Explaining this exciting concept we saw Mr Lee burst with passion and excitement. Says he, “Human Centric Lighting can adjust people’s daily rhythms and improve their motivation, well-being, and productivity.”
Light has a great effect on us humans. Not only does it allow us to see. Light stimulates us, and influences our moods and activity levels. Because our physiological response to light depends on the light’s characteristics such as colour spectrum, intensity and timing, the characteristics of the artificial light in our surroundings will be of significance if we spend a lot of time indoors. Human Centric Lighting solutions can support the human circadian rhythm, enhance concentration, prevent sleeping disorders and improve our overall well-being.
The new use of light is made possible because of the new knowledge on the biological effects of light, and because of recent innovations in lighting technology. With the introduction of LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, tuneable white light can be achieved in an energy-efficient manner, which is easy to control with advanced control systems. New, smart, connected lighting systems create endless possibilities with better user control.
As Samjin and Mr Lee explore the myriad opportunities in Sri Lanka and they hope to broadbase the use of LED technology on the island, Mr Lee says he is excited that a country like Sri Lanka is on the cusp of greatness and economic progress.