South Korea's largest family-run conglomerates may have contributed to the more than 1 trillion won ($910 million) in domestic sponsorship raised for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, but the event is tricky terrain for them to navigate.
Chaebols, Korean conglomerates that are typically family-controlled, played a significant part during South Korea's rapid industrialization, and have historically pitched in whenever mega-events — such as the 1998 Summer Olympics or the 2002 FIFA World Cup — were hosted by the country.
It was a similar story for the Pyeongchang Olympics. The bid to host this year's games, first initiated by the regional Gangwon Province government, was successful after three attempts of bidding in part due to the involvement of the national government and chaebols.
Like other corporations that sponsor the Olympics, export-oriented chaebols participating as sponsors during the games stand to gain by increasing their visibility on a global platform. The games also provide a platform for companies to showcase new products.
Case in point: Samsung's Olympic Showcase in the Gangneung Olympic Park showed off virtual reality technology that lets users experience snowboarding. The tech giant also gave out Galaxy Note 8 smartphones to athletes at the games.