Technology is getting seats at the table, literally

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Technology is getting seats at the table, literally

          Kim Beom-su                        Kim Taek-jin

Kim Beom-su Kim Taek-jin

Tech companies traditionally took a back seat at business lobbying groups in Korea, eclipsed by a strong grip of manufactures with longer corporate histories.  
But the chiefs of gaming and messenger companies are becoming leaders as their market capitalizations grow and their influence increases.  
Kakao Chairman Kim Beom-su and NCSoft CEO Kim Taek-jin were named vice chairmen at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) earlier this week along with the nomination of new chairman Chey Tae-won from SK.  
The duo will work with existing vice chairmen from Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor and Korean Airlines to make key decisions in a regular meeting with the chairman at the association.  
The major lobby explained that the appointments are intended to reflect the increasing clout of the technology companies.  
“The latest reorganization will allow innovative companies at the forefront of future-centric businesses and manufacturers alike to express their voice,” said KCCI Executive Vice Chairman Woo Tae-hee.
The numbers bear out their influence.  
Kakao, for instance, has marched into the top 10 list by market capitalization as the digital transformation, helped by the pandemic, boosted the company’s revenue and prospects.  
Its market cap ranked ninth on the Korea Exchange at 42.96 trillion won based on the closing price on Thursday.  
Gaming publisher NCSoft came at 18th with 21.34 trillion won of market cap.  
Kakao’s annual revenues broke the 4-trillion-won level for the first time last year while NCSoft surpassed the 2-trillion-won mark during the same period.  
Other newly-selected vice chairmen also come from the tech industry, including Chang Byung-gyu, founder and chairman of video game developer Krafton, and Lee Han-joo, CEO of cloud service provider Bespin Global.  
Not all new leaders specialize in IT service and gaming.  
Kim Nam-goo, chairman at Korea Investment Holdings, and Park Gee-won, Chairman at Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, will serve as vice chairmen at KCCI.  
The Federation of Korean Industries, another business lobby, reappointed incumbent Chairman Huh Chang-soo on Thursday to head the organization, saying that Huh is an ideal figure to navigate tough economic conditions thanks to his experience at the top of the federation.  
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