Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun on Thursday held talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to discuss the carmaker’s market entry and future investment plans, according to the company.
Chung is the first South Korean conglomerate leader to meet President Widodo after his election victory in May.
During the meeting held at the presidential palace in Jakarta, the Indonesian leader reportedly sought more investments by Hyundai in the country, touting the carmaker as the most dynamic company in the world.
Widodo also reportedly said he would support Hyundai’s operations in Indonesia.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo (right) and Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun shake hands prior to their meeting held at the presidential palace in Jakarta on Thursday. (Hyundai Motor)
“Indonesia is very challenging market and it is not easy (for us) to enter the market. But I thank the president and the government of Indonesia for showing their interest. It means a lot for us,” Chung was quoted as saying.
“Rather than merely selling more cars, we will find innovative ways to satisfy Indonesian customers with the right products, services and future technologies.”
The meeting was widely seen as a consolidation of Hyundai’s plans to make inroads into Indonesia, the largest auto market in the region. But nothing has yet been confirmed about setting up factories there, the company said.
Rumors have circulated in recent years that Hyundai might consider building a plant in Indonesia, while reducing its focus on China, where it has been losing its market share due to competition, slowing economy and anti-Korean sentiments.
“Various projects are planned for (Hyundai’s) Southeast Asian market entry, but nothing has been confirmed about building plants (in Indonesia),” officials said.
Demand for cars has been rapidly growing in Indonesia, with carmakers selling around 1.04 million vehicles in 2018, a 4.4 percent increase from a year before.
Hyundai’s presence in the market, which has been dominated by Japanese carmakers for decades, has so far been insignificant, at just 0.1 percent. But it appears to be taking Indonesia as a test bed for its market entry in other Southeast Asian countries.
The carmaker said it is reviewing expanding its partnership with Grab, the largest car-hailing service in Southeast Asia, to other markets in the region, including Indonesia. It is also considering forging a partnership with Indonesian startups.
Hyundai Motor Group’s investment plan not only covers auto but also other areas such as railways and construction. The nation’s second-largest conglomerate has locomotive and construction subsidiaries. Hyundai Rotem supplied Indonesia’s first light rail trains while Hyundai Engineering signed agreements on facility expansion project and a hydroelectric power project in the country.
By Cho Chung-un (email@example.com