By Donna Kreutz
In 2014, ChungHo Nais introduced the world’s first water purification system that not only could produce purified hot and cold water and crystal-clear ice but also make a capsule coffee with the taste of authentic Italian espresso. Five years in development, the self-cleaning WHI Caffe quickly received wide acclaim in Italy and Germany and is now spreading throughout Europe.
This is the same company that in 2016 introduced the Baby’s Water-Tiny machine with a seven-stage filter system that can remove/reduce 142 types of harmful substances from water. The product was designed for infants, but also for children, seniors and others who are more vulnerable to water contaminants. (In the coming year, the company plans to release the first sparkling RO water purifier, designed not only to dispense purified water but also purified sparkling water.)
William Joung and his business partners founded ChungHo Nais in South Korea in May 1993 with “a strong belief in providing the best water quality and eco-friendly products that would benefit all populations,” he said. From its inception, ChungHo was committed to making significant investment in research and development. “ChungHo Nais is shifting the paradigm of what water purification systems should look like and what functions should be included to meet worldwide consumer needs and desires.”
Today, ChungHo is the leading company in South Korea’s environmental health industry, especially in water purification. The company manufactures water and air purification products, bidets, softeners and dehumidifiers. ChungHo serves both residential and commercial customers throughout South Korea and exports its products to more than 60 countries. It holds hundreds of patents and has also diversified its business portfolio to include the environmental and health industries.
Delivering consistent quality, customer satisfaction
“ChungoHo Nais is dedicated to pursuing the best efforts in everything we do. We will continue to introduce unique new products to the market. We believe that we can change the landscape of the water/beverage industry worldwide,” Joung said. “The world’s best companies should be based on innovation and reliability of the products they produce and on how well they stand behind them. Company reputations ride on their ability to deliver consistent quality, and most importantly, customer satisfaction. With all our team members, ChungHo will not spare any effort to become such a company.”
A native of South Korea, Joung came to the US to earn a doctorate in chemical engineering, then worked as a senior engineer for an environmental-related company. At that time, (the early 1990s), South Korea’s industries were focused on rapid growth, but not environmentally friendly manufacturing. The result was ever-increasing contamination and poorer water quality. In 1991, the Nakdong River (the water supply for 20 percent of the population) was contaminated with phenol, a type of carbolic acid. This spurred an increased awareness of the need for clean, safe, potable water.
While in the US, Joung gained knowledge of many different water purification technologies. He returned to South Korea and was able to successfully transfer that knowledge to a local company, where he developed the first RO water filtration products in South Korea. He also was involved in developing other water and air purification products.
Launching creative products
Two years later, Joung established ChungHo Nais, determined to develop and build (in-house) new and better products that would contribute to the improvement of people’s health. “We provide superior products based on the best technologies available. Innovation and developing advancement in design and technology are the driving forces behind our success.” ChungHo was the first to install an RO desalination plant in Dokdo, a remote islet in the East Sea, as well as for Ieodo, the submerged rock that serves as the foundation for Ieodo Ocean Research Station, a project of the Korean Ocean Research and Development Institute (KORDI).
“ChungHo has launched creative products which others cannot even imagine, much less make. ChungHo is not limited to the production of water/air purification products. We also manufacture and supply the filtering and fitting/tubing products with our subsidiary companies, MicroFilter and MCM, respectively. Our expertise on every single part widens the quality gap with our competitors, who focus only on the assembly of supplied parts. We can customize our products to meet customer and market needs. In addition, our OEM/ODM services are trusted by many renowned companies, including 3M, Culligan and Samsung.
Early on, ChungHo began exporting products and has built especially strong relationships in the US, Germany, Italy, Singapore and India. In 2006, the company expanded its operation full scale into the Chinese market, establishing a joint corporation with Guangdong Media Group, the largest household appliance company in China, for the manufacturing and sale of water purifiers and filters. “Currently domestic sales volume is larger than international sales, but ChungHo has plans to expand its market to 100 countries by forming partnerships with global companies around the world,” Joung said.
ChungHo Nais has received numerous awards from prestigious institutions in Korea. “For 15 consecutive years, we have received the Technology Innovation Award granted by the Korean Standards Association. Only ChungHo Nais and Samsung Electronics hold this record,” he said. “This is the result of employing highly specialized and educated personnel who are dedicated to high quality and a belief in delivering the finest service possible. This kind of management dedication to consumer orientation and customer satisfaction also has been highly regarded by the Korean Fair Trade Commission.”
Serious commitment to job training
Headquartered in Seoul, the company also operates a research and development center and a manufacturing center. ChungHo employs 1,200 people in management and more than 6,500 in sales and service. It has 35 sales branches and hundreds of sales offices and service centers that operate 24/7. It has a strong, long-time commitment to training for quality and customer service. Joung was the first South Korean to obtain WQA CWS-V certification (now Master Water Specialist). “Every sales and service staff member receives ongoing job-performance training in a facility where 2,200 people can train at the same time with practice and discussion.”
ChungHo Nais also is a good corporate citizen, contributing to a variety of social programs for personal and social development. “We offer a scholarship program to provide funding to outstanding students nationwide. Our Sharing Love Campaign promotes voluntary donations by employees and has a matching grant component to support and sponsor nursing homes, orphanages and rehabilitation centers.
”ChungHo Nais made its mark by introducing innovative products that people had not thought of before,” such as a water purifier that doubles as a wine cellar and a special refrigerator for kimchi, the spicy, fermented vegetable mix that is the national dish of Korea.
“We contribute to society’s advancement by developing products which improve human lifestyle. Each product contains the technology and know-how accumulated over the past 20 years and has helped to revolutionize our way of living.”