Business titans go on world tours for Busan, their companies
Heads of Korea's top companies are making overseas trips to promote Busan's bid to host the 2030 World Expo and deal with other challenges like supply chain disruptions and rising raw material prices and interest rates.
Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, embarked on a business trip to Tokyo Thursday. This followed a trip to Paris from Sunday to Wednesday. Chey is also the chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
Chey’s visit to Tokyo was mainly to support the bid for the 2030 Busan World Expo. He will meet with the chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry while also carrying out meetings related to SK’s businesses.
In Paris, where meetings of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) are held, Chey attended luncheons and dinners, including with Prime Minister Han Duck-soo.
“Business cards were exchanged and introductions were made with ambassadors to France from various countries,” said a business insider. “Chey introduced himself as the private sector chairman of the Busan Expo bidding committee, the chairman of SK Group, and the chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and conversed in fluent English."
A private sector-led committee to promote Busan's bid was launched last month comprised of business leaders led by Chey.
“Chey met countless people from morning to night, almost by the minute,” the insider continued. “After giving a presentation, he visited several local embassies.”
SK hynix Vice Chairman Park Jung-ho and SK Supex Council’s Social Value Committee Chairman Lee Hyung-Hee accompanied Chey.
In a meeting with local correspondents on Monday, Chey stressed the importance of future environmental technologies, mobility technologies such as drones, and biomedical technologies, and said that these will have become commonly used technologies by the time the expo takes place.
“Korean companies’ lead in these fields will be positive in the competition for the Expo bid,” he said.
“Compared to competitor countries, our start seems a little late, but we will do our best to reach the finish line first,” Chey said. The venue of the Expo will be decided by votes from 170 BIE member countries in November 2023.
On Wednesday, Chey was awarded the Legion d’Honneur by the French government in recognition of his contribution to Korea-France economic cooperation. The Legion d’Honneur recognizes people in fields such as politics, business, culture, religion, academia, and sports.
Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin is also on a trip to Europe. Shin participated in the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) global summit in Dublin on Tuesday to promote Busan's bid.
Shin also promoted the bid in business meetings with CEOs of companies such as Pepsi, P&G, Walmart, and REWE.
Shin will hold a meeting with the heads of Lotte subsidiaries in Busan next month in an aim to make additional plans to promote the bid.
According to Lotte, Shin visited the Lotte Cluster in Hungary's Tatabánya Industrial Complex on Saturday. He visited the Lotte Aluminum plant, which will begin mass production next month, and checked on prototypes. Shin decided to increase the production scale of anode foil by investing an additional 110 billion won ($84.9 million).
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong visited five countries – Hungary, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France – for 12 days from June 7. In the Netherlands, Lee met with Peter Wennink, CEO of ASML, a semiconductor company, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
In Leuven, Belguin, Lee visited Imec, the largest semiconductor research institute in Europe, and toured research facilities in cutting-edge fields such as artificial intelligence, bio science, life science and future energy.
“The first priority is technology, the second priority is technology and the third is also technology,” Lee told reporters on his way home to Korea.
Posco Holdings Chairman Choi Jeong-woo visited Australian resource development companies from Monday to Tuesday to establish business relations and source secondary battery materials such as steel, lithium and nickel. Choi seems to have concentrated on Australia, which is rich in recourses.
Choi met with Hancock Chairwoman Gina Rinehart on Tuesday, and visited First Quantum Minerals, a company specializing in mining development and smelting, on Wednesday. In addition, Choi visited Pilbara Minerals, which is involved in the development and production of lithium raw materials, to expand the supply of lithium concentrates.
Company executives are also pitching in.
Rhee In-yong, president of Samsung Electronics, attended events in Paris on Tuesday to support Busan's bid. Samsung Electronics has been operating a bid task force with Co-Vice Chairman Chung Hyun-ho as its leader since the middle of May.
Cho Joo-wan, CEO of LG Electronics, attended the Milan Design Week 2022 from June 6 to June 12 to strategize what the company dubbed a "Cross Device Experience (CDX)." CDX is the name of LG's plan to connect different products and services offered by the company to heighten user experiences.
In response to the travel by Korea Inc. leaders, an industry insider said, “Recently, the need for global supply chain cooperation among allied countries is being emphasized, and the trips are happening because Europe is also a key partner in supply chain cooperation.”
BY BAEK IL-HYUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]