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Korean business leaders set to give up vacation

Publication Date : 18-07-2012


Chiefs of major business groups are expected to have one of the busiest weeks between late July and August despite the summer holiday season.

Aside from mapping out contingency plans to cope with negative impacts from the ongoing eurozone fiscal crisis, some of the business leaders will have to engage in corporate sponsoring for the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee is scheduled to leave for London in the coming days for the Olympic Games which will kick off on July 28 (Korean time).

Lee, as a member of the International Olympic Committee, will attend an annual IOC meeting in late July and has been invited to the Olympics’ opening ceremony. Samsung Electronics is a main sponsor of the London Olympics.

As chief of Samsung Electronics, the flagship unit of Samsung Group, Lee is also closely monitoring the situation as more and more eurozone countries see poor consumer sentiment.

The combined sales of global television manufacturers dropped by 16 per cent in the European market during the first quarter, compared to the same period last year.

The European market accounts for more than 20 per cent of the memory chipmaker’s total sales on average.

A spokesman said the company is considering making inroads into emerging markets such as countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Under its diversification business policy, a managing director in charge of Samsung Electronics’ sales operations in China has recently been promoted to a deputy chief executive.

The company recently held a meeting, dubbed “Global Management Strategies”, in late June in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province. Heads of regional corporations participated in the gathering.

As a result, it seems that the chairman has no particular plan for this summer vacation, according to Samsung Group spokespeople.

SK Group Chey Tae-won is likely to give up his vacation due to the Olympic Games, his spokespeople said.

Chey, as head of the Korea Handball Federation, has been active in encouraging players and engaging in a variety of sponsoriship programs.

Amid the eurozone woes, the SK chief has also been aggressive in tapping more overseas trade partners.

He has already met with political and business leaders in Thailand, Turkey and Myanmar for joint resource development activities.

In Turkey, Chey signed a memorandum of understanding with Dogus Group, a Turkish conglomerate giant that covers a multiple of sectors including finance, energy, automotive and construction.

In Thailand, the chairman had a head-to-head meeting with Pailin Chuchottaworn, CEO of PTT Group, a leading state-run Thai energy firm.

“Our chairman is scheduled to meet with officials in more emerging countries during the second half,” a group executive said.

Hanjin Group chairman Cho Yang-ho will also visit London. He is vice chairman of the Korea Olympic Committee and chairman of the Korea Table Tennis Association.

Cho is also set to give up his vacation during this summer holiday season.

Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo and vice chairman Chung Eui-sun are sponsoring the national archery team.

The auto giant also plans to conduct active marketing activities in Britain during the 17-day Olympic Games.

A Hyundai Motor Group executive stressed the importance of enhancing tailored-marketing in Europe.

While the automaker has been suffering persistent weak private consumption at home, it is also struggling to avoid an additional slump in exports.

LG Group chairman Koo Bon-moo is also spending busy summer days as the group predicts that the eurozone debt crisis could damage economies in the Middle East and Africa.

Differentiated marketing would be a key factor in diversifying new export destinations, a group spokesman said.

“Amid unfavourable external factors, superficial business goals with only slogans are not enough to become the market leader,” Koo told his staff at a meeting.

GS Group chairman Huh Chang-soo recently stressed the importance of workplace innovation at a group forum, describing it as the conglomerate’s future growth engine.

Huh said innovative efforts outside the office would be the key to the group’s development in the future.


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