Korean biz groups raise hope for improved business environment under Yoon

2022.05.11 09:46:56 | 2022.05.11 10:08:30

[Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]이미지 확대

[Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]

South Korea’s top conglomerates are raising anticipation for improved business environment under President Yoon Suk-yeol pledging private-led economic growth and full assistance to technology and innovations.

Top tycoons and business association leaders were invited to the banquet on the inauguration night Tuesday at Shilla Hotel in central Seoul. It was the first time for conglomerate leaders to be included in the guest list for presidential inauguration dinner.

Invitees included Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee, SK Group and Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Chairman Chey Tae-won, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun, LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo, Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-min, POSCO Chairman Choi Jeong-woo, Shinsegae Group Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin, and Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Won-tae. Also attending were Korea Enterprises Federation Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik, Federation of Korean Industries Chairman Huh Chang-soo, Korea International Trade Association Chairman Koo Ja-yeol, Korea Federation of SMEs Chairman Kim Ki-moon, and Federation of Middle Market Enterprises of Korea Chairman Choi Jin-shik.

KEF Chairman Sohn relayed the president stopped at each table to share greetings with each guest.

To business leaders, he reiterated he would uphold “market economy principles” as he declared in inauguration speech.

Last week, the Yoon government in announcing 110 state agenda vowed to support unmatchable leadership in chips, AI, and batteries where big companies have been investing heavily.

Business leaders are expected present investment plans to match encouragement from the new government.

Samsung Group had pledged to spend 240 trillion won ($187.9 billion) over the next few years, which would fall under Yoon’s term. Its investment focus are chips, bio, AI, and next-generation telecommunications.

It has high hopes of Lee receiving full repatriation on Aug. 15 Liberation Day, when the president usually grants special pardon.

Lee is expected to meet with Yoon when U.S. President Joe Biden is in town for a summit May 20-22. Yoon is expected to accompany Biden who plans to tour Samsung Electronics’ chip plant.

Conglomerate leaders clap hands at the inauguration ceremony of President Yoon Suk-yeol held at National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul, Tuesday. From left are SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, KITA Chairman Koo Ja-yeol, KEF Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik, Korea Federation of SMEs Chairman Kim Ki-moon, Kolon Honorary Chairman Lee Woong-yeol, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun, Doosan Chairman Park Jeong-won, LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo, Shinsegae Group Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin, Hanjin Group Chai이미지 확대

Conglomerate leaders clap hands at the inauguration ceremony of President Yoon Suk-yeol held at National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul, Tuesday. From left are SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, KITA Chairman Koo Ja-yeol, KEF Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik, Korea Federation of SMEs Chairman Kim Ki-moon, Kolon Honorary Chairman Lee Woong-yeol, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun, Doosan Chairman Park Jeong-won, LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo, Shinsegae Group Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin, Hanjin Group Chai

SK Group has been eagerly investing in battery, bio, and chips. Over the last 10 years since it acquired SK hynix in 2012, the conglomerate spent 46 trillion won in expanding facilities. It plans to spend 120 trillion won to build four plants in a chip cluster in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province. Yoon may attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the chip cluster in Yongin.

Hyundai Motor Group is expected to accelerate moves to expand electric vehicle supply in line with the new government’s administrative agenda. The auto making group plans to expand EV lineup – IONIQ 6 this year and EV9 next year – and build an EV-exclusive factory in the United States.

LG Group is also enhancing investment in battery, display, and AI – sectors in which the Yoon government has designated as future strategy industries. LG Energy Solution is boosting its presence in the U.S. market by building a fourth joint battery plant with General Motors this year.

Lotte Group is seeking to reform its business portfolio focusing on retail and petrochemical more to bio and healthcare. Lotte – after 55 years since inception – has announced a big transformation to a bio and healthcare business. It is expected to actively engage in merger and acquisitions in the next five years and carry out new investments.

Business lobby group chiefs that attended the dinner event expressed expectation over Yoon’s regulatory reform policies. They are hoping the new president would see through his promises to reform regulations, labor, and public sectors.

By Lee Seung-hoon, Oh Soo-hyun, Won Ho-sup, and Lee Eun-joo

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