ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Corporate Korea shares spirit of Thanksgiving
Publication Date : 18-09-2013
Chuseok is a time when tens of millions of Koreans visit their hometowns to reunite with their family and friends. It is also a chance to be reminded that the spirit of sharing lives on.
Subcontractors were among the recipients of the spirit of Chuseok, as the Federation of Korean Industries, the largest business lobby group comprised of Korea’s biggest conglomerates, announced last week that its members would make pre-payments of up to 4.8 trillion won (US$4.4 billion) to their vendors.
Among them, Hyundai Motor Group and Hyundai Heavy Industries paid 1 trillion won and 170 billion won, respectively, earlier than scheduled, with the latter pre-paying more than 1,200 of its vendors from September 1-10.
This is done so that the subcontractors won’t have to worry about cash flow ahead of the Chuseok holidays.
The FKI also encouraged members to buy more Onnuri gift certificates, which are available at community markets, and buy local agricultural and marine products.
SK Group has purchased up to 10 billion won worth of Onnuri gift certificates.
“Our hope is to help the merchants at our traditional markets and offer help to the underprivileged of our society,” an official from the company said.
Some executives literally rolled up their sleeves for Chuseok.
S-Oil CEO Nasser Al-Mahasher and 100 executives and company officials distributed songpyeon, a type of seasonal rice cake, that its employees had made to some 800 low-income households in Mapo-gu, Seoul, where its headquarters are located.
“We hope that our small help will be a warm gift to those who might be spending a lonely holiday,” said Al-Mahasher, who helped deliver the songpyeon. “This event was more meaningful in that it was a voluntary effort. S-Oil will continue to work together with our community.”
A group of SK CEOs, including Yoo Yong-jong from SK Smile Microcredit Bank, Lee Moon-suk from SK Chemical and Cho Ki-haeng from SK E&C, visited a local traditional market in Jangwi-dong, northern Seoul, and introduced micro credit programmes available for merchants and bought goods at the market. They also donated the purchases to a nearby welfare facility.
Meanwhile, up to 1,000 employees of Samsung Display paid a visit to local community welfare facilities, centres that run after-school programmes for children from low-income families and homes of the elderly living alone in Cheonan and Asan.
These areas are where Samsung Display’s factory lines are located. Together, they made songpyeon, and the company donated fruit to more than 2,400 households.
Other companies kept their factories running over the holidays.
Most of Samsung Electronics’ plants for handsets and electronics will be officially closed from Wednesday to next Monday, but its semiconductor assembly lines will be an exception.
“For plants producing electronic gadgets or home appliances, they can prepare sufficient quantities ahead of holidays. However, semiconductor plants must run without stopping as it generally takes a month to produce one chip,” said Lee Won-ho, an official from Samsung Electronics’ corporate communications team.
Chemical company LG Chem also said it would not close down its plants during Chuseok. “Petrochemical factories should operate around the clock as they use liquid materials to roll out products. If they are halted, the products will harden,” said Yoon Jung-han, a corporate communications official from the chemical firm.
The nation’s three leading mobile carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus set up their own emergency task forces with around 1,500 personnel each during the holiday period to make sure everyone had access to communications networks, whether landline or wireless. They also beefed up networks at highways, intersections, rest areas and toll gates where mobile traffic is expected to surge.
“SK Telecom will set up a situation room to prevent smishing (SMS phishing, an illegal activity to acquire personal information such as passwords and credit card details) as those looking for victims could be on the prowl during the holiday period,” Hur Jae-suk, a SK spokesperson, said.