Hanwha and Minnesota look for new business

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Hanwha and Minnesota look for new business


Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn, left, with Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton yesterday. Provided by the company

Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn met Mark Dayton, the governor of the U.S. state of Minnesota, yesterday. The talks centered on ways of enhancing bilateral cooperation in solar energy, new renewable energy sources and biological drug development.

Dayton’s delegation of 35 people, including politicians and entrepreneurs based in Minnesota, are visiting Seoul this week to boost economic ties with Korean companies.

“Hanwha recently acquired shares of two U.S. companies, OneRoof Energy [a residential solar power provider] and Crystal Solar [a photovoltaic company], and we’re aggressively pushing forward penetrating into the U.S. solar energy market that has the potential to grow in the long term,” Kim told Dayton.

Hanwha invested $23 million in total to acquire the controlling share of the two American solar energy firms in September, hoping to raise Hanwha’s market share in the U.S. solar energy market in the future.

Governor Dayton said he believed solar energy would become a major business.

He said he was aware that Hanwha had entered the solar energy business in China and hoped that it would also increase its investments in the U.S. market as well.

Minnesota delegates and Hanwha officials discussed plans in solar energy and in other areas such as bioengineering, agriculture and stock-breeding.

Some major export items produced in Minnesota, a midwestern state along the Canadian border, are agricultural products, iron ore, paper and high-end medical machinery.

Korea is Minnesota’s sixth-largest export destination and its 14th-largest source of imports, according to Hanwha Group.

Originally founded in 1952 as a explosives company, Hanwha Group is now Korea’s ninth-largest conglomerate and has 50 affiliates engaged in solar energy, chemical manufacturing, construction, finance, retail and leisure businesses.

By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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