Bosch Korea Headquarters in Yongin, 2015
History

Bosch Korea Ltd. established in 1989

Clock 5 minutes

For a long time, Korea was a largely unknown market on the Bosch map, even though the company had been represented in Korea through its commercial agent Illies & Co. since 1920.

Modest beginnings

Business in the country was modest, supplying car dealers and private automobile owners with Bosch magneto ignition systems. Bosch was not yet a big enough company to have its own branches in all the markets around the world. Moreover, at the time, Korea had no automakers of its own, and so sales experts didn’t see it as a promising market.

The tiger awakes

For decades, nothing much changed. That is, up till the 1980s, when the dynamic growth of South Korean industry and its ambitious goals first kicked off – and changed everything. Now, Bosch had the opportunity to really get down to business in South Korea. In 1989, KIA Motors, a South Korean automaker that was still largely unknown internationally, announced something that business experts could scarcely take in:

It was to open a car factory with an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles. The targets were ambitious, but the experts at Bosch knew that industry in South Korea took its lofty ambitions very seriously.

Bosch Korea Headquarters in Yongin, 2015
Bosch Korea Headquarters in Yongin, 2015

Local presence

As a potential supplier, Bosch now needed a stronger presence in the country, and so a regional office was established in 1986, followed by a dedicated regional company in 1989. Just two years later, in 1991, Bosch opened the Application Engineering Center, providing a local development site for its regional customers. In subsequent years, Bosch founded numerous joint ventures with Korean partners, most of which are now run as part of Robert Bosch Korea Ltd.

Dietrich Kuhlgatz

Since 1998 I have been at Bosch. I’m working in the Historical Communications department as spokesperson and researcher, in charge of all product history requests. I also take care of contacts to technology and transportation museums.
Before joining Bosch, I studied in history and philosophy at Universities of Konstanz and Hamburg. After graduating, I was editor of a scientific journal and research associate at Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin.

Picture of Dietrich Kuhlgatz

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