Lee Kun-hee, chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., on Thursday lashed out at a recent proposal by former Prime Minister Chung Un-chan for large businesses to share their excessive profits with smaller companies.
The rare attack from usually reticent Lee, 69, came as he was on his way to a monthly meeting of the executive board of the Federation of Korean Industries, the largest business lobby in Korea.
“I have studied economics from early on as I was raised in an entrepreneurial family, but I have never heard of profit-sharing and I simply don’t understand what it is or what it means,” Lee told reporters.
Lee Kun-hee , chairman of Samsung Electronics Co. (Yonhap News)
The concept, apparently new even to the country’s richest man, was proposed late last month by Chung, who now heads the new state commission on “shared growth for large and small companies.”
Chung, 64, said his commission was working to introduce a new system through which large conglomerates can voluntarily share their excess profits with their suppliers and other smaller firms.
The proposal, however, has been criticized as a socialist concept, even by senior lawmakers of the ruling Grand National Party.
The Samsung chairman agreed the concept resembled socialist ideas.
“Apart from whether or not I am against the idea, I have never seen it from any text book and I don’t even know whether the concept is used in a socialist country, a capitalist country or a communist nation,” he said.
Lee controls Samsung Group, Korea’s largest business group that has tech titan Samsung Electronics and dozens of subsidiaries under its wing. (Yonhap News)