The de facto heads of South Korea’s two biggest conglomerates met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a state lunch at Cheong Wa Dae, according to industry sources on Friday.
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong and Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun attended the luncheon at the request of the Indian government to discuss their business operations in India.
It was not immediately known what the Indian state leader hoped to discuss with the two businessmen.
Samsung first entered the Indian market in 1995. It currently runs a smartphone factory in Noida, a TV and home appliance factory in Chennai and a research and development center in Bangalore.
The Noida plant opened in July.
Previously, Lee visited India in 2016 and announced plans to invest in the market there after meeting with the Indian prime minister. He also hosted a meeting between Korean President Moon Jae-in and his Indian counterpart at Samsung’s Noida plant last year.
Hyundai Motor established an Indian branch in 1996 and built a plant in Chennai. The automaker had produced a total of 7 million vehicles in India as of 2016.
In order to make a foray into a growing market for electric vehicles in India, Hyundai is planning to expand its Chennai plant.
The auto group’s subsidiary Kia Motors is also building a production facility in Anantapur, and a plant there is set to start operations in the second half of this year.
Chung met Modi in 2015 along with his father, Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-koo, when the Indian prime minister was on a state visit to Korea. The Hyundai Motor heir met the prime minister again in India in 2016.
In February 2018, the younger Chung rode together with Modi in a Nexo, the company’s hydrogen fuel-cell car, at the Korea-India Business Summit in New Delhi.
During Friday’s luncheon, President Moon said in his welcoming speech, “I vividly remember when I and Prime Minister Modi took a metro to attend Samsung’s ceremony for the Noida plant last July.”
Apart from the two business moguls, attendees at the state lunch included Hyundai Rotem Vice Chairman Woo Yoo-chul, Korea International Trade Association Chairman Kim Young-joo, Korea Investment and Trade Promotion Agency CEO Kwon Pyeong-oh and 60 other business, academic and cultural figures.
By Song Su-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)