Kumho and Yokohama will cooperate on R&D

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Kumho and Yokohama will cooperate on R&D

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Kumho Asiana Group Chairman Park Sam-koo, right, and Tadanobu Nagumo, chairman and CEO of Yokohama Rubber, signed a Cooperative R&D Agreement at hotel in central Seoul on Saturday. Provided by Kumho Tire

Kumho Tire and Yokohama Rubber, two of Asia’s leading tire makers, yesterday announced a cooperative R&D agreement for joint development of tire technology.

Park Sam-koo, chairman of Kumho Asiana Group, and Tadanobu Nagumo, chairman and CEO of Yokohama Rubber, signed the agreement at the Westin Chosun Hotel, central Seoul, on Saturday, the Korean company said.

Founded in Japan in 1917, Yokohama Rubber has 12 factories in seven countries and recorded 479.5 billion yen ($4.72 billion) in tire sales last year.

As of 2012, it was the world’s eighth-largest tire manufacturer and Japan’s third-largest tire maker. Kumho, Korea’s second-largest tire maker, was No. 11 in the world as of 2012.

Kumho expects the agreement will increase its R&D spending to 5 percent of sales from the current 2 percent.

“We see fierce competition ahead due to the enhancement of technologies at each of the tire companies competing in the global market,” said Kim Chang-kyu, president and CEO of Kumho Tire. “This strategic technology partnership, as well as our efforts to strengthen the capacity of our research institutes at home and abroad and hire more workers, will help us to continuously maintain and further develop our status as a technology powerhouse.”

BY MOON GWANG-LIP [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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