Biggest businesses plan to boost investment

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Biggest businesses plan to boost investment

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Yoon Sang-jik, minister of industry, trade and energy, speaks at a meeting with heads of Korea’s top 30 businesses yesterday. [NEWSIS]

Korea’s top 30 businesses plan to increase total investment by 7.7 percent and do slightly more hiring this year.

The companies announced they will make a combined 148.8 trillion won ($131.7 billion) in investments during a meeting with Yoon Sang-jik, minister of industry, trade and energy, at a hotel in central Seoul yesterday.

CEOs Kim Jong-joong of Samsung, Chung Jin-haeng of Hyundai Motor, Kim Young-tae of SK, Cho Seok-je of LG, Chae Jung-byung of Lotte and Park Ki-hong of Posco, among others, attended the meeting.

Facility investment will account for 91.1 trillion won, up 9.6 percent from a year earlier. The companies plan to invest 29.4 trillion won in research and development, up 13.8 percent from 2012.

The businesses said they will hire a total of 128,000 new employees this year, up 1.5 percent from last year.

Sources say Samsung is likely to make a 49 trillion won investment this year, but the group’s official position is the plan might change due to economic situations. The figure is 10 percent more than what the group invested last year.

The country’s No. 1 conglomerate has a plan to employ 26,100 new workers this year, similar to last year.

Hyundai Motor Group is expected to invest about 14 trillion won this year. Sources say the figure could reach 15 trillion won.

SK Group plans to make a 16.6 trillion won investment, up 10 percent from last year.

LG earlier said it will invest 20 trillion won, up 19 percent from the previous year and the most ever by the company.

Main areas of investment include automobiles, semiconductors, displays, communications, petrochemicals and steelmaking.

Automakers will focus on developing hybrid electric cars, while chipmakers will expand facilities for next-generation memory chips and system semiconductors.

The companies are also on track to increase investment in development of OLED TV panels, improvement of the Long Term Evolution network and expansion of facilities to produce high-value-added petrochemical products.

“Investment and employment by conglomerates are crucial to surviving the slowdown,” said Minister Yoon.

The Industry Ministry, Federation of Korean Industries and conglomerates agreed to set up a quarterly based committee to monitor investment and employment trends of the private sector in the coming months and try to detect and reform regulations that hinder business investment.


By Song Su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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