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Moon to visit Hyundai’s new China plant in Chongqing

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will visit Hyundai Motor’s newly built assembly plant in Chongqing, southwest China, Friday during a state visit, Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday.

The plant is the fifth manufacturing facility in China for Hyundai. A 50:50 joint venture set up by Hyundai Motor and Beijing Automotive Group invested a combined $1 billion to build the plant capable of producing 300,000 vehicles a year.

Hyundai Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun is expected to accompany the president, the company said without giving further details.

The visit comes as part of Moon’s state visit, kicking off Wednesday. The president is to be accompanied by a large group of business representatives seeking opportunities to restore business and trade ties damaged by diplomatic bickering between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of a US anti-missile system.

The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced the list of 260 business delegates Monday evening. The size of the delegation is the largest ever, it added. Moon had only 52 corporate leaders with him on his state visit to the US in June, while his predecessor Park Geun-hye had 156 for her trip to Beijing in 2015.

Samsung Vice Chairman Yoon Boo-keun will fill in for the conglomerate’s jailed heir Lee Jae-yong, while Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung stands in for his father Chairman Chung Mong-koo. SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won will take part in the trip along with CEOs of the group’s energy and chipmaking units, the KCCI said. LG Vice Chairman Koo Bon-joon, Doosan Chairman Park Chung-won and CJ Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik are also on the list. Posco Chairman Kwon Oh-jun will not attend, replaced instead by China expert and Chief Operating Officer Oh In-hwan.

The four-day trip is crucial for many, as Korean businesses have suffered from alleged retaliatory actions from Beijing over Seoul’s decision to deploy a US anti-missile system. Moon is scheduled to meet business leaders both from Korea and China in a series of business forums during the trip.

The trip will provide momentum for Hyundai and Lotte, the two Korean companies said to have suffered the most over the diplomatic row, to bring their operations in the neighboring country back on track, according to market watchers.

Lotte Chairman Shin Dong-bin, currently on trial, will miss the trip.

Meanwhile, Hanwha Chairman Kim Seung-youn visited a solar cell manufacturing unit in Jiangsu, northeastern China, which the group acquired seven years ago, the company said Tuesday.

By acquiring the Chinese production facility, Hanwha Q-Cells, the South Korean company that specializes in manufacturing photovoltaic solar cells, has become the world’s leader in solar cell production, officials said. 

By Cho Chung-un (
Korea Herald daum