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Corporate leaders stress innovation, growth for 2011

By Choi He-suk
Korea’s top companies are bracing for the New Year challenges of both consolidating their market leadership and developing new growth businesses.
Innovation, quality, future growth, core capabilities and human resources are keywords in the New Year’s messages of leading companies as they put out strategies to tackle global uncertainties, a slowing overseas demand and tougher challenges from emerging competitors.
They are also committing themselves to closer cooperation with smaller partners and their social responsibility in a new business environment in which effective networks and customer recognition are emerging integral to competitiveness.
Lotte Group expects to lay the foundation this year for its leap into the league of Asia’s 10 largest conglomerates by 2018.
In his New Year speech, Lotte chairman Shin Kyuk-ho emphasized that the group needs to consolidate its existing businesses at home and abroad and maximize the impact of new growth strategies. Shin also called on the Lotte firms to secure and develop human resources and organizational structure able to fully function in the global market.
Hyundai Heavy Industries chairman Min Keh-sik emphasized the importance of establishing a “systematic strategy” and “clear direction” if the company is to consolidate its position as a global leader.
In his end of the year speech, Min said that despite the company’s achievements so far, it should strengthen its technological capabilities and introduce an “efficient corporate culture” to better prepare itself for the intensifying competition from Chinese shipyards and continuing uncertainties within the market.
Meanwhile, SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won highlighted “people,” “corporate culture” and “business model” as the three key words for the group for 2011, while LG Group will be focusing its resources on preparing for the future, implementing accurate investment strategies and increasing value for customers.
Maintaining the momentum and seeking growth from change are also high on the agenda for local business leaders.
Chief executive Jean Marie Hurtiger of Renault Samsung Motors Co., whose sales figures came in at record levels last year, has called on the employees to use the past 10 years to prepare for the next decade, while GM Daewoo Auto and Technology is hoping to seek growth through a massive lineup overhaul.
While the heads of the country’s largest conglomerates including Samsung Group and Hyundai Motor Group have yet to make their New Year speeches, observers say that their plans for the year will focus on a handful of key objectives as they seek to strengthen their operations.
Samsung Group’s plans for the year are likely to be based on the 10 main tasks, including securing technological leadership, seeking out new growth engines and establishing a standing risk management system, selected by the corporate strategy group at the end of last year.
With quality having become a major issue in the global automotive industry, Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo has been reiterating the importance of quality for some time and is likely to continue to do so as the group eyes 6 million in annual sales.
In addition, the auto giant is said to have plans for increasing support for parts makers, and speeding up its eco-friend vehicle development programs.
(cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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