[Source: Hanwha Group]
Hanwha Group’s financial investment units are turning more aggressive in their investment portfolios doubling down on emerging digital tech firms to accelerate its digital transformation and find new growth engines.
The six financial affiliates of Hanwha Group who had been traditionally heavily invested in manufacturing industries turned more to digital platform, cryptocurrency and content businesses.
At the center of the change is Kim Dong-won, vice president of Hanwha Life Insurance and the 30-something second son of Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seuong-youn.
Under the leadership of younger Kim, Hanwha has expanded investments in digital banking, cryptocurrency and fintech business and is already reaping the rewards from its venture.
Hanwha Investment & Securities and Hanwha Asset Management invested 30 billion in Yanolja back in 2018 when the accommodation reservation platform operator was valued at less than 1 trillion won. Their combined stake in Yanolja has since surged 10-fold as the company’s corporate value is now estimated at over 10 trillion won.
Hanwha Life Insurance invested more than 90 billion won ($80 million) in internet-only bank K bank and digital payment platform PAYCO, and in February, Hanwha Investment & Securities acquired a 6.15 percent stake in Dunamu, operator of crypto exchange Upbit, for 58.3 billion won.
Hanwha is also looking growth opportunities in the emerging Asian countries as well as in advanced U.S. and European markets. Hanwha Asset Management put up $10 million in Singapore-based ride hailing platform Grab in 2017 and $30 million in U.S.-based biotech startup Zymergen in 2018, which went public in New York Stock Exchange in May.
Another investing arm Hanwha Asset Management invested 7 billion won in music copyright sharing platform Musicow late last year and Hanwha General Insurance 1 billion won in pet service provider Sparkpet in June. Officials at the investment units attributed the investments to Kim’s familiarity with trends of the younger generation
Kim is also focusing on supporting the growth of local startups in various fields including fintech, healthcare and education through its startup accelerator program Hanwha Dreamplus.
By Kim Gi-chul and Lee Soo-min
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