Top business groups convene strategy meetings

A woman walks past the Samsung Electronics factory in Vietnam's Bac Ninh province on June 11, 2024. A new report accuses South Korean electronics giant Samsung of illegal and dangerous releases of potentially toxic chemicals for years at its Vietnamese factories, allegations the firm has denied. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP)

SEOUL: Top conglomerates in South Korea are set to hold their strategic meetings this month to navigate the ongoing economic slowdown and geopolitical uncertainties according to industry sources.

Samsung Electronics, the country’s biggest conglomerate in terms of assets, will kick off its series of strategic meetings from today till Thursday.

Top executives are expected to convene to discuss the company’s global strategies in key technology sectors, including artificial intelligence (AI), which touches all of its businesses, from smartphones to home appliances to chips.

The company’s smartphone and home appliance business divisions will present their mid to long-term goals and strategies this week. Its chip business division will hold the meeting on June 25, the first meeting after vice-chairman Jun Young-hyun took office as the head of the division in May.

Having suffered its worst earnings last year, Samsung, the world’s largest memory chip maker, replaced its semiconductor business chief. Jun, an engineering specialist, is tasked with consolidating Samsung’s memory leadership and accelerating its push for AI chips.

Keen attention is also being paid to the upcoming meetings as they are held after Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Jae-yong’s two-week business trip to the United States. Lee held some 30 meetings with tech leaders, including those of Meta, Amazon and Qualcomm.

SK Group, the country’s second-largest conglomerate, will hold its top executive meeting June 28-29 to review business plans across affiliates.

This year, the theme is known to be “going back to the basics”, the management philosophy established during the tenure of late chairman Chey Jong-hyun in the 1970s.

At the meeting, chairman Chey Tae-won, son of the late chairman, and other members of the founding family, including SK Innovation vice-chairman Chey Jae-won and SK Supex council chairman Chey Chang-won, are expected to attend, along with other heads of SK companies.

The group’s overall business portfolio is expected to be reviewed to improve management efficiency and nurture new growth drivers. Following chairman Chey’s recent divorce settlement ruling worth US$1bil, the meeting is also likely to discuss risk-management measures.

Hyundai Motor Group, third in line in terms of assets, will convene a global strategy meeting later this month, with executive chair Chung Euisun in attendance.

After years of aggressive expansion in the all-important US market, especially in the burgeoning electric-vehicle (EV) sector, its executives are expected to discuss strategies to navigate the Inflation Reduction Act in the US and the post measures to the November presidential election.

Last year, Hyundai Motor and Kia hit the one-million-unit milestone in US exports, largely driven by strong sales of EVs and hybrids.

The executives are also expected to discuss growth plans in India and South-East Asia, the two strategic markets for the carmaker to de-risk with regards to Russia and China.

Hyundai Motor India recently filed for an initial public offering on the Indian stock market, reportedly aiming to raise up to US$3bil – the largest in India’s IPO history.

LG Group, the fourth largest group in South Korea, had already conducted strategic meetings for two weeks last month, with key affiliates, including LG Electronics and LG Innotek reporting their performance and sharing their operation plans for the next half of this year.

According to news reports, chairman Koo Kwang-mo is taking off to the US this week to meet with business partners, especially those in batteries, AI and biopharmaceuticals. His US trip comes almost 10 months after his previous one in August last year.

The production site of Ultium Cells, LG Energy Solution’s battery joint venture with GM, in Tennessee, and Silicon Valley are cited as potential stops for Koo’s trip. — The Korea Herald/ANN

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