By Chung Min-uck
David Chang, 33, state chairman of the Hawaiian Republican Party, is a second-generation Korean-American responsible for the day-to-day operations and financial well-being of party members in Hawaii.
Chang took on the job when he was just 31, the youngest person ever to assume the post.
He is also the founder and CEO of Chang Holding Company, a Hawaii-based investment company comprised of four subsidiaries.
Asked about the key to his swift success in the U.S. both politically and economically, he cited the “typical Korean work ethic” that he learned from his parents.
“The work ethic was important to my achievements,” said Chang in an interview with The Korea Times, Thursday. “I find myself constantly looking to improve.”
Despite his early successes, Chang is still hungry for more.
“I have been the state chairman for little over a year. I plan on continuing to run for higher office,” he said. “On the business side as well. I have a lot of business with Korea.”
The CEO of Chang Holding visited Korea, Monday, to attend the ground-breaking ceremony of GreenFlex (Green and Flexibility), an eco-friendly business complex to be set up in Gangwon Province. Through his personnel connections, he said, he was able to invite former U.S. President George W. Bush who attended the ceremony.
Commenting on the surprise resignation of President Park Geun-hye’s former minister of future-planning and science nominee Kim Jeong-hoon, who is also a Korean-American, Chang said he might have “not understood Korean culture fully.”
“Korea culture and American culture are totally different. We do business in different ways, and politics in different ways,” he said. “Korea is a very regionalist society which Americans don’t understand. America is a lot more individualistic.”
As for a possible career as a South Korean politician he said “I want to continue to do business with Korea but I don’t plan on giving up my U.S. citizenship.”
“If I get involved in Korean politics, it would be from the United States side. I would not fit in.”
Chang is married to Beth Fukumoto Chang, an elected Hawaii State representative.
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