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Park calls on conglomerates to increase investment, hiring

Park calls on conglomerates to increase investment, hiring

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Published : 2013-12-17 20:16
Updated : 2013-12-17 20:16

President Park Geun-hye called on leading conglomerates Tuesday to increase investment and hiring to help keep the recovery trend in South Korea’s economy going.

“Though the global economy is in a difficult situation, the recovery trend in our economy is becoming visible little by little,” Park said during a visit to the Federation of Korean Industries, the country’s largest business lobby representing conglomerates.

“If the current recovery trend is going to take root as a sustainable trend, more active investment and job creation are needed and your entrepreneur spirit is important,” she said.

She made the visit for a ceremony marking the completion of a new FKI building in western Seoul.

Park also asked conglomerates to improve fair competition and work together with smaller firms to target overseas markets for shared growth.

The federation, which represents the interests of South Korea’s large family-owned conglomerates, used the dedication ceremony to highlight economic gains it helped make in the last 50 years.

Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok and top executives of member companies attended the ceremony.

In the more than five decades since its founding in 1961, the FKI helped transform war-ravaged South Korea into the eighth-largest trading nation in the world and the 15th biggest economy in terms of gross domestic product.

In the opening address, FKI Chairman Huh Chang-soo pointed out that member companies possessed the indomitable spirit to contribute to the modernization of the country and stressed that South Korea is standing at a crossroad.

“In order for us to tackle the next 100 years, we must have a new vision,” Huh said. The head of South Korea’s GS Group, an energy and retail conglomerate, vowed that the business federation will continue to play a role in the opening of a brighter future for the country based on the ideals of creativity, cooperation and prosperity.

The FKI already announced it has set its sights on pushing up South Korea’s GDP to $5 trillion and improve per capita income to $100,000 by 2030, which will effectively make the country the 10th largest economy in the world.

The new tower, built on the site of the old building that was completed in 1979, is a 245-meter, 50-story structure with six basement levels and has a floor space of 168,681 square meters.

It is three times as large as the old FKI building and the third tallest in Yeouido, the financial and business hub in western Seoul. It is also the first skyscraper in the country to be certified as being highly energy efficient.

It has solar panels built into the window walls that can generate 730 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power 274 household for an entire year. The facility along with the use of thermal energy can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 394 tons per year.

“The enlarged proportion of the headquarters building, in effect, showcases the role played by the FKI as the largest and most influential business organization in the country,” said Park Chan-ho, the federation’s executive director.

The other top five business organizations in the country are the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business, the Korea Employers Federation and the Korea International Trade Association.

The building was designed by the Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture firm that built the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest man-made structure in the world. FKI sources said Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co., the main contractor, used innovative construction techniques as cable net walls, three dimensional film glass and pipe trusses. (Yonhap News)

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