CKJ History

Korea Ginseng Corporation is the manufacturers of Cheong-Kwan-Jang.

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.

Korea Red Ginseng (China) Co., Ltd. (KRG) has been an agent of Cheong-Kwan-Jang in mainland China, Hong Kong & Macao. In 1999, KRG got an exclusive distributor rights – sole agent in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao, mainly responsible for and distribution network in Hong Kong and Macao, in cooperation with Dongguan Medicines, Eu Yan Sang, CRCare, Wai Yuen Tong, HKJEBN, Yue Hwa Chinese Products, IBNest and so on, to provide high quality & reliable products to our end consumers.

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.
1948 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 獲得KGMP(Korea Good Manufacturing Practice)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 as 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.

There are very few certified growers of genuine 6-years-grown Korean red ginseng. Most ginseng is mass-manufactured on farms outside of ideal growing conditions for much shorter periods of times, using lesser species of ginseng processed with less care. Korea Ginseng Corporation’s CKJ brand of 6-years-grown Korean red ginseng is guaranteed to be grown for 6 years under strict quality control. KGC has active Good-Manufacturing Practices certificates designated by 4 different countries, including South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia. We fully meet FDA requirements for the US market. Rather than using alcohol or other method extractions, KGC’s Korean red ginseng is water-extracted to meet the FDA’s standard of a pure original substance. Purity and quality assurance is key to our CKJ brand.

This dedication to high-standards and a quality product has allowed the CKJ brand to prosper for more than 115 years. KGC’s CKJ brand of 6-years-grown Korean red ginseng astoundingly represents more than 70% of the Korean ginseng market. We could not reach this level of success without the trust of our customers and continuous innovation. KGC invests $20M annually in R&D to constantly innovate in best practices and this dedication has allowed Korea Ginseng Corp. to receive sanction from the Korean-FDA to allow CKJ branded ginseng to claim multiple health benefits, backed by hard research, a remarkable achievement in the dietary supplement industry.

Sought by sportsmen and herbal enthusiasts alike, 6-years grown Korean red ginseng stands apart from other species and is renowned for its great efficiency and the level of healthy components found in each 6-years grown root. KGC guarantees that the ginseng in each of our products is grown for no less than 6 years. While competitors turn over their soil seasonally, using 1-4 year old roots to use ginseng as a catch-word ingredient, KGC invests in a mature, quality end-product, which allows our customers to feel the difference.

Cheong-Kwan-Jang (CKJ): Synonymous with Trust

KGC’s brand of Korean red ginseng, CKJ, is known as “Cheong-Kwan-Jang” in different countries. This may be roughly translated as “a government-assured, reliable product, packaged in a government-sanctioned factory.” It is the world’s representative brand of Korean ginseng and boasts over one hundred years of national tradition. The Cheong-Kwan-Jang emblem itself was designed using the national motif of Korea’s historical Taeguk mark with modern characters representing red ginseng and six stars symbolizing the six-years of cultivation dedicated to each ginseng root, our commitment to only the best quality products. The red background symbolizes the passion put into every effort to produce the world’s best Korean red ginseng. Cheong-Kwan-Jang products are now exported to over 40 countries all over the world and our brand is recognized as a trusted, high-quality brand valued locally and abroad.

Many ginseng fans declare a miraculous efficacy of Korean red ginseng when compared to less herbs and consume it regularly as a marvelous supplement for healthy living. So well-regarded is this “King of Herbs” that, in November 1995, when the Chinese head of state, Jiang Zemin, visited Korea, a gift of Heaven’s Grade (the highest grade of) Korean red ginseng was presented to him as an honor. As a first among all Korean health foods, Cheong-Kwan-Jang brand ginseng has been sold through Harrods Department Store of UK, amongst other prestigious department stores throughout the world. More than 50 Cheong-Kwan-Jang brand stores have been established in 8 countries such as the U.S., Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Australia and others. In 2009, by achieving Saudi GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), Cheong-Kwan-Jang is even gaining a foothold in the Middle East. In fact, in North America, we have over 30 brand stores, which sell our products, exclusively (as of the writing of this article). KGC guarantees the safety of all Cheong-Kwan-Jang products by carrying out ginseng sample analysis, soil analysis and cultivation method education throughout the cultivation period. Our production is done within state-of-the-art facilities, the world’s largest ginseng factory, and we guarantee that the quality of our product materials cannot be imitated by any competitor. Trusted for over 115 years, today, CKJ branded products can be found in over 1,000 stores worldwide.

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