SK Planet deal with China firm may not appear

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SK Planet deal with China firm may not appear

SK Planet, a subsidiary of SK Telecom that operates e-commerce platform 11st, failed to attract investment worth 1.3 trillion won ($1.14 billion) from China Minsheng Investment as hoped.

The companies had been negotiating since last year amid mounting tension between Korea and China over the installment of a U.S. missile defense system here.

Local media outlet Dong-A Ilbo reported Thursday that the investment plan laid out by China Minsheng Investment, which had been making progress since early last year, stopped abruptly without reason in the latter part of 2016.

Korea decided to install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system in July 2016.

“China Minsheng Investment Group withdrew their intention to invest in SK Planet in the latter part of last year,” multiple sources were quoted as saying.

“SK Group was quite taken aback by such a sudden decision,” the source added.

However, SK Planet said the final withdrawal hasn’t been decided.

“China Minsheng Investment has been one of many options that showed interest to invest in SK Planet,” the company spokesman said. “Whether it finalized its decision to withdraw its investment plan has not been made officially yet.”

SK Group, the country’s third largest conglomerate, has made various moves recently to advance into China under Chairman Chey Tae-won’s “China insider” initiative.

Attracting investment from Chinese investors was one of SK’s attempts to make its foray into the neighboring country.

SK Planet has had a positive reception in other Asian countries.

After its first overseas advancement in 2013 in Turkey, it consecutively launched 11st in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The e-commerce operator hasn’t made any official advancement in China.

China Minsheng Investment is the country’s biggest private investment group founded in 2014 with 50 billion yuan ($7.27 billion) in registered capital and 59 members comprising private companies and investors. It now has assets of more than 260 billion yuan.

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