Jay Y. Lee may meet with Xi on upcoming visit

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Jay Y. Lee may meet with Xi on upcoming visit

Jay Y. Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and heir-apparent to Samsung Group leader Lee Kun-hee, is likely to meet Xi Jinping when the Chinese president makes a state visit to Korea on July 3-4, according to local news reports yesterday.

Xi, whose visit comes after President Park Geun-hye met him in China in June last year, is expected to go to several industrial sites of Korea’s largest conglomerate and Jay Y. Lee will escort him, the reports said, citing unidentified industry sources.

Jay Y. Lee, the only son and oldest child of Samsung Electronics chairman Lee, has built up a friendly relationship with Xi over the years. In April last year, the vice chairman met with Xi during the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan province, China - considered the Asian equivalent of the World Economic Forum - and discussed possible cooperation between Samsung and Chinese companies.

Xi has also shown interest in Samsung Group, which controls top global companies including Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone vendor, and memory chip and TV makers.

When he served as the governor of Zhejiang Province between 2002 and 2007, Xi visited Samsung assembly lines in Suwon and Giheung, both in Gyeonggi. He also visited Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor manufacturing plant in Suzhou, China in 2007.

One site that Xi may visit next month is the Samsung Innovation Museum, which the group opened in April in Samsung Digital City in Suwon.

The group declined to verify the media reports, saying that no plan has been confirmed yet.

“[Chinese] President Xi Jinping will likely visit some places in Korea and people presume that Samsung will be one of the places based on the vice chairman’s friendly relationship with him,” one Samsung official said, adding that “Samsung also recently built a semiconductor plant in Xian.”

Last month, the company started operations at its first semiconductor fabrication factory in China in Xian, the capital of Shaanxi Province.

On his visit, Xi is expected to bring a pair of pandas as a present for Park, according to local news agency Newsis.

Samsung Everland, the operator of the country’s biggest theme park which also contains a zoo, will likely accommodate the animals, Newsis said.

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

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