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Lotte pushes to expand footing in India

Lotte, the country's fifth-largest conglomerate, is moving to tap into India as it accelerates its overseas expansion drive in an attempt to make up for feeble growth at home.

The retail giant said Friday its chairman, Shin Dong-bin, held a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi, to propose a plan to build railway shopping complexes in major Indian cities.

The two discussed expanding Lotte's Indian investment as well as opening railway shopping complexes in New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, according to the group. Lotte entered the Indian market in 2004 and operates a choco pie factory there.

The meeting marks the latest in the conglomerate's efforts to expand its footing in emerging economies as Asia's fourth-largest economy is stuttering from anemic consumption and weak exports.

Lotte opened its first overseas shopping complex in Hanoi, Vietnam, last year, and signed an agreement with Ho Chi Minh City earlier this year to build another shopping complex in the city.

The conglomerate is also building a 570,000-square-meter shopping complex in the Chinese city of Chengdu, which is set for completion in 2019.

Earlier this week, Shin met with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to ask for his support for Lotte's business in the country.

Shin's recent overseas visits are also seen as part of efforts to display his bolstered leadership after beating his brother in their fight to gain ownership of the group.

Dong-bin and his older brother, Dong-joo, have been vying to strengthen their grip on the conglomerate that operates businesses in both Korea and Japan. Dong-bin has gained the upper hand after winning support from shareholders in a crucial meeting earlier this month.

The conglomerate, however, also faces the task of reforming its tarnished reputation after the high-profile family squabble prompted public backlash against the group's murky corporate governance structure. (Yonhap)

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