KGC: The Global Leader in Ginseng


The history of Korea ginseng corporation is integrated into the history of the Korean government. KGC and our Cheong-Kwan-Jang brand have a long and time-honored hundred year legacy as the leader in Korean ginseng. Exerting all possible efforts to make Cheong-Kwan-Jang Korean red ginseng into a globally-recognized and honored, KGC has established branch offices and distribution networks throughout the world.



A brief history of Korea Ginseng Corporation is as follows:



1899 Established as Sam-Jeong-Gwa (Ginseng Management Division) within the royal palace of Korea's Daehan Empire (36th year of the reign of King Gojong).
1908 Ginseng Division transferred to the Bureau of Taxation, Ministry of Finance. Korean Red Ginseng Monopoly Law enacted.
1940 Began to use the trademark "Cheong-Kwan-Jang." It was first used on the label of red ginseng manufactured by the Bureau of Monopoly of the Joseon Chongdokbu (the Japanese Government-General in Korea) to distinguish government authorized red ginseng from privately manufactured red ginseng products and from forgeries. It since been used as Korea Ginseng Corporation's trademark to indicate products manufactured from KGC's 6-years-old Korean red ginseng.
1848 Transferred to the Department of Monopoly of the Ministry of Finance. 1951 Moved the Gaesong Monopoly Branch to Buyeo, Chungnam province during the Korean War.
1952 Organizational status promoted to Monopoly Bureau.
1978 Completed construction of the Korea Ginseng Factory in current Buyeo.
The mega-facility is the largest ginseng processing plant in the world. 1987 Reformed as Korea Monopoly Corporation.
1988 Authorized for Drug Manufacturing and Drug Product Licensing.
1989 Established the Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Corporation.
1994 Established the Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Hong Kong Ltd.
1995 Recognized as adhering to or surpassing KGMP (Korea Good Manufacturing Practice) standards.
1996 The Red Ginseng Monopoly Law was abolished.
1999 Re-established as Korea Ginseng Corporation.
2000 KGC red ginseng selected as Korea's Millennium Product.
2001 Nominated and selected as a Korean World-Class Product.
2003 Established KGCUS Branch office.
2006 Established KGC Japan Branch office.
2007 Established KGC China (Shanghai) Branch office.
2009 Re-organized the foreign KGC US Branch office into a local California domestic corporation (KGCUS) to better serve North America.
2011 Established KGC Canada Branch, under the North American KGCUS regional corporation


In the beginning of our history, Korean ginseng had been exported to Shanghai and elsewhere in China since 1900 via the exclusive consignment distributor, Samjeong Production Co., Ltd., formed following the monopolization of Korean red ginseng in 1899, the original seed organization of KGC. As privately produced red ginseng and forgeries became prevalent at the end of the Japanese empire in the early 1940s, a Bureau of Monopoly of JoseonChongdokbu (the Japanese Government-General in Joseon) established the use of the mark of "Cheong-Kwan-Jang" on the label of Korean ginseng exports, which had been governmentally recognized as authentic. The issuance of the Cheong-Kwan-Jang brand differentiated this ginseng from non-government-sanctioned products and indicated a trusted, reliable product.





After the establishment of a new Korea government, Cheong-Kwan-Jang was increasingly exported worldwide as the representative, high-quality Korean ginseng. By 1963, a red sticker including the Cheong-Kwan-Jang emblem would be attached to all our ginseng exports destined for certain nations such as Hong Kong and Singapore. This emblem would come to symbolize a mark of trust and be synonymous with Korean red ginseng by the time it was exported to Japan in 1972 and had a permanent, established usage. By 1995, the Cheong-Kwan-Jang mark had become so well-known internationally as a high-quality product that it would come to be included on all domestic, Korean sold products as well.

The government monopoly eventually gave way to the establishment of the semi-governmental KT&G Corporation, established to preserve key Korean agricultural interests. While this newly established corporation continuously ran into red figures, we did not give up our core mission and maintained the thousands of year old national legacy of Korean ginseng. In the 1990s, the corporation put forth a tremendous effort into developing value-added products to overcome the difficulties faced and extend the red ginseng market base through awareness. Although the Asian financial crisis briefly intervened and economic conditions deteriorated, the Korean red ginseng division was spun-off as a special business organization subsidiary, resulting in the formation of KGC. This transformation led the way to product innovations and extremely popular products such as Korean red ginseng extract capsules, pills, drinks and tonics.

Such products have contributed to an expanding the base of users of value-added red ginseng products. This effect was amplified as the wonderful efficacy of red ginseng had increasingly become known to the general public with a boom of interest in healthy natural herbs, even once resulting in global stock shortages. By virtue of this large demand, KGC achieved sales and increases of 500% on a year-to-year basis. Since then these ginseng products have had a long and steady run. Through scientific research on the efficacy, developing products that reflect customer needs, and continuously offering high-quality, reliable products, KGC has become the global leader in ginseng.