Woong-Ki Kim

EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Class of 2022, South Korea
Woong-Ki Kim, Chairman of Global Sae-A Group

Fashion pioneer Woong-Ki Kim has given South Korea’s textile industry a bold new look.

Woong-Ki Kim founded textile and apparel manufacturer Global Sae-A Group in 1986 with the aim of revolutionizing the sector’s business practices. “We wanted to make products based not on low wages but on high wages – not cheap goods, but products with high added value,” he said. 

This strategy has seen Woong-Ki Kim become one of the most influential figures in the fashion industry, with his pioneering spirit recognized both in Korea and the global market. Through his leadership, commitment to paying employees fair wages and strong focus on high-quality products, the company has seen exponential growth. Global Sae-A Group now employs over 60,000 people across 10 countries. Through strategic acquisitions, the company is now diversified across apparel production and distribution, textile processing and dyeing, plant equipment, and cardboard manufacturing.  

Woong-Ki Kim and his company have responded to global trends and challenges with agility and philanthropy. In 2020, they exported masks and protective gear worth $250 million to the United States. Global Sae-A Group also donated hundreds of thousands of masks to local communities as part of its corporate social responsibility program. Through this program, the company also donates food and clothing, provides disease prevention education programs, and has established primary and secondary schools in Haiti, where it employs over 10,000 members of its workforce. Woong-Ki Kim actively promotes eco-friendly production management – purifying wastewater from production and finding alternatives to plastic packaging.  

He says, “As we fulfill our social responsibilities as a company, we will aim to be an example for the world.”

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