Chaebol announce their donations to Olympics

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Chaebol announce their donations to Olympics

Major conglomerates are chipping in to make the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics a success.

Hyundai Department Store released plans to donate 10 billion won ($8.35 million) and Lotte Group surpassed that by pledging 50 billion won.

Hyundai Department Store Group became an official supporter of the international event on Tuesday as it signed a deal with the PyeongChang organizing committee to donate 10 billion won.

Group Vice-Chairman Lee Dong-ho and President Lee Hee-beom of the PyeongChang Olympics organizing committee inked the contract at the committe’s Seoul office in Jamsil, southeastern Seoul. This is the first official support offered by Hyundai’s retail arm for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Its automobile affiliate Hyundai Motor had already promised in 2015 to manufacture bobsleighs for the Korean team competing.

“The decision was made with high hopes for the success of the PyeongChang Olympics,” said the company’s vice-president Lee. “The company will offer full support for the chance to publicize Korea’s capacity to organize major international events.”

Lotte Group decided to donate 50 billion won, with Lotte Department Store and Duty Free offering 25 billion won each, according to the company Tuesday.

The group was already a partner with the PyeongChang Olympics since last March when it signed a contract with the organizing committee to invest 60 billion won in related sporting events, including the Winter Games, test events and the Paralympic Games.

Companies contributing to the Olympics are divided into four groups according to the size of their donations: partners, sponsors, suppliers and supporters. As Lotte’s promised sum was over 50 billion won, which is the standard for a top group, the company was registered as a partner along with KT, SK, LG and Posco. It is the only retailer on that list.

Partners are allowed to use their title as an Olympic partner for marketing as well as organizing branding activities on site during the Olympics.

The group’s drive for the 2018 Winter Olympics is said to be strongly supported by Lotte Chairman Shin Dong-bin, who was a ski racer in his college days and has been president of the Korea Ski Association since 2014. However, Lotte’s contribution to the event aroused some suspicions after Shin was summoned by prosecutors to be questioned about Lotte Group’s donations to the K-Sports Foundation of President Park Geun-hye’s controversial confidante Choi Soon-sil.

The Choi scandal, which led to the impeachment of Park, is a cause of general concern to the PyeongChang Olympics organizing committee, since it involved donations from big companies to government projects.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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