45% of Korean people bear the family name Kim, Lee, or Park
Lee, Yi, Rhee
Jung, Jeong, Chung, Cheong
Choi (Korean: 최, Chinese: 崔) is a common Korean family name. In English speaking countries, it is most often anglicized Choi, and sometimes also Choe. Ethnic Koreans in the former USSR prefer the form Tsoi (Tsoy) especially as a transcription of the Cyrillic Цой.
According to Samguk Sagi, the Gyeongju clan originates from chief Sobeoldori (소벌도리, 蘇伐都利) of Goheochon (고허촌, 高墟村), one of six villages that united to found Silla; The Gyeongju clan traces their origin back to Choi Chiwon (857-10th century), a noted Korean scholar, philosopher, and poet of the late Unified Silla period (668-935).
The Haeju clan is an offshoot of the Gyeongju clan; one theory of origin suggests that Haeju clan's progenitor Choi Choong (최충, 崔沖, 984–1068) was given the surname 崔 during the reign of Goryeo king Mokjong.
The progenitor of the Chungju clan is General Choi Seung (최승, 崔陞), also known as Choi Woo (최우, 崔偶), of Silla (known as Cui Sheng in Tang Dynasty)
The progenitor of the Nangju clan is Choi Heun (최흔, 崔昕) of Silla who was a native of Yeongam (Nangju) of the southern Jeolla region.
There are roughly 160 clans of Chois. Most of these are quite small. However, Choi is the 4th most common surname in Korea. The largest by far is the Gyeongju Choi clan, with a 2000 South Korean population of 976,820. The Gyeongju Choe claim the Silla scholar Choe Chi-won as their founder.
In Korean, 최 is usually pronounced [tɕʰwe] except by some older speakers who pronounce it [tɕʰø] (this vowel sound is similar to the German ö [ø]). In English-speaking countries, it is pronounced most often as "Choi" /tʃɔɪ/ in its anglicized form (rhymes with "soy").
崔 is Romanized as Cuī and pronounced [tsʰwéɪ] in Mandarin Chinese. It is Cheuī[tsʰɵ́y] in Cantonese and Chhui[tsʰuí] in Hokkien.
List of prominent people with the surname Choi