Jay Y. Lee holds meeting with Citic’s chairman

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Jay Y. Lee holds meeting with Citic’s chairman

Samsung said Thursday it agreed to step up a partnership in the financial industry with Citic Group, China’s state-owned investment company, after Jay Y. Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, had a one-on-one meeting with Citic Chairman Chang Zhenming in Beijing on Wednesday.

Lee proposed that the two giants representing Korea and China broaden the spectrum of their partnership to various financial sectors including exporting of exchange traded funds (ETF) by Samsung Asset Management. Citic’s Chang responded by saying the two sides will open a discussion channel to proceed with more concrete business cooperation.

Lee was proposing to introduce to Chinese investors the highly successful KODEX ETF, a brand name for a product managed by Samsung Asset Management. KODEX ETF covers most of the major market indices.

Lee was swinging by the Chinese capital on his way to the annual Boao Forum for Asia, which kicked off on Thursday and is scheduled to last until Sunday in Boao, Hainan Province.

The agreement between the two business leaders came after Samsung Securities, another financial arm in the Samsung group, clinched a strategic business partnership with Citic Group’s securities arm on March 9.

The gathering also showed the intention of Samsung’s heir-apparent to diversify a business portfolio that has excessively relied on information technology.

Fintech, a portmanteau of finance and technology, has emerged as a buzzword in both the finance and IT sectors and is touted as a next-generation growth engine. Samsung Electronics’ acquisition in February of LoopPay, an American mobile payment start-up, is part of the top smartphone vendor’s efforts to combine finance and tech.

Citic Group recently gained attention in Korea after Lee’s younger sister and Hotel Shilla CEO Lee Boo-jin was named an outside director of the 36-year-old company on Dec. 19. She was to receive an annual payment of $45,132 from the conglomerate.

Formerly the China International Trust and Investment Corporation, Citic owns 44 subsidiaries in combined assets of almost $700 billion covering a wide range of business sectors including financial services, real estate, infrastructure, engineering, energy and manufacturing.

The group is also engaged in the cable TV network operations, telecommunications, international trade and even tourism.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]
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