Korea Inc call for innovation, change, and synergy in 2018

By Cho Chung-un
  • Published : Jan 2, 2018 - 17:13
  • Updated : Jan 2, 2018 - 17:13
Amid fierce competition as markets move toward the “fourth industrial revolution,” leaders of major Korean companies on Tuesday urged their businesses to seek innovative ideas and responsible management as well as to secure key technologies for the future while embracing challenges in the new year.

Emerging protectionism, geopolitical uncertainties as well as fast-changing market environments will be hurdles for Korean businesses this year, they said in their New Year’s messages, adding that changes in business operations, management and strategies are crucial to survive. 

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo said the carmaker should take the lead in future auto technologies and respond rapidly to the fast-evolving market. To do so, Chung said in an email that he would grant more authority to the carmaker’s regional offices to better manage sales, production and profits in local markets.

In a noticeable change at the South Korean carmaker, which has controlled global operations from its headquarters in Seoul so far, the chairman appears to be planning to distribute the head office’s centralized power and functions to regional offices around the world, according to officials.

Samsung Electronics CEO Kim Ki-nam, who leads the tech giant’s chip and display businesses, urged employees not to be complacent about the company’s record-breaking profits last year but to seek changes to open a new chapter in technological advancements in the future. Kim suggested creating a corporate culture that centers on creativity and innovation, and an organization that is flexible and boundless. 

SK Chairman Chey Tae-won (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, SK Chairman Chey Tae-won said he would apply a “double bottom line” to the group’s business model, stressing the importance of investing not only for financial returns but also social returns.

“SK’s profit grew 200 times over the last 20 years, but we still pursue the ‘old business’ and (should) seek ways to improve it,” said Chey. “By breaking out of the shell, we need to change the previous business model and pursue both economic and social value, making this a new year for new SK.”

LG Vice Chairman Koo Bon-joon urged the company to make a leap forward by strengthening its capabilities in research and development. The group opened its R&D center, named LG Science Park, to seek convergence between industries and boost the manufacturing capabilities of the group’s affiliates.

LG Vice Chairman Koo Bon-joon

Lotte Chairman Shin Dong-bin asked employees to push for the digital transformation of the retailer and renew the company’s brand value, which was tainted by a corruption scandal last year. He also vowed to improve transparency in the company’s governance structure and create more jobs.

GS Chairman Huh Chang-soo also called for securing market competitiveness and a new growth engine. “Through collaboration with other affiliates, we have to discover businesses that could have synergy,” he said. “If we can increase our strength and share burdens with each other, we’ll be able to create a new growth engine.”

By Cho Chung-un (