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Industry magnates lay out New Year’s plans

By Korea Herald

Published : Jan. 2, 2012 - 16:25

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Business leaders pledge to turn crisis into opportunity


Chiefs of major conglomerates laid out their New Year’s goals and plans for their businesses on the first day of work this year.

Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee said the country’s biggest conglomerate should think outside the box and place more emphasis on new projects, new products and new technologies in his New Year’s message on Monday.

Lee said the group’s competitiveness not only comes from its people and technologies but also from society’s trust, indicating the group must focus on social responsibility tasks.

“We need to make revolutionary changes to the company’s culture to create a more open and flexible working environment,” Lee said. “The group must concentrate only on what is new and go for continuous challenges thinking that failures could be accepted by the company.”

Samsung’s rival LG Group chairman Koo Bon-moo said that its employees must compete until the very end with determination in his New Year’s message.

Stating that the information and technology industry is expected to face faster changes and fiercer competition from its rivals, the time has come to get results from projects that are labeled as those which must be accomplished, said Koo.

He also said the group must set the direction for all of its businesses in a bid to establish differentiated customer values.

“There must be drastic and specific changes to create customer values that are different from others,” he said. “We can’t make differentiated values if we just follow the footsteps of other rivals. We must set the direction earlier than others like we did last year with our 3-D television and fourth generation network technology Long Term Evolution.”

He added that drastic investments have to be made when going forward with new projects with a mind to conquer that certain market.

“We have to prepare for the future with a courageous attitude by setting the right directions and looking for methods not experimented by others,” said Koo.

Koo Bon-joon, Koo Bon-moo’s younger brother and also the chief of LG Electronics, said he intends to inject more research and development investment sums for the group’s future to turn it into one not affected by any crisis situation in the next three to five years.

“If we devise thorough preparation measures, we will not only raise our own competitiveness but will be able to brace for the future,” he said. “As a priority task, we must secure product leadership that will enable us to produce differentiated items and drive the global market.”

Koo also said the group must gear effort towards conquering new markets through research and development investments.

“Centering on the R&D investments, we must work on finding the human resources we need at an early stage and also put effort into nurturing such workforce,” he said.

Hyundai Motor Group set this year’s global sales target at 7 million units, up from 6.6 million units last year.

Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo called for smooth communication and cooperation among production plants and sales corporations worldwide to proactively deal with market changes.

“Last year, Hyundai-Kia firmed up our status as the world’s fifth largest automaker by producing and selling 6.6 million cars, and Hyundai Steel gained a foothold as a global steelmaker with the groundbreaking of its third blast furnace,” Chung said during the conglomerate’s first meeting of the New Year.

“In 2012, the growth of the auto industry is expected to slow down and competition among companies will intensify.”

With Beijing Hyundai’s third factory and Hyundai Motor’s Brazil plant slated to begin production this year, the automaker will have 30 factories across nine countries.

Chung called for stronger quality management and vowed increased investment in research and development of eco-friendly vehicles and core technologies for electronic control systems.

POSCO chairman Chung Joon-yang said the steelmaker will focus on improving profitability this year in the company’s New Year presentation.

“Our goal this year is to expand the gap in operating profit ratio with our global rivals to more than 2 percentage points through a POSCO-style ‘paradox management’ that combines development of new products, a cost-cutting process and global total-solution marketing,” Chung said.

The world’s third largest steelmaker will also secure more than 2,000 new talented employees by 2014 to lead new businesses, he said.

Hanwha Group chairman Kim Seung-youn urged his employees to become leaders of creative change, global green growth and share in his New Year’s message.

Kim underscored the conglomerate’s latest efforts to settle its solar energy business as Hanwha celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

STX Group set this year’s sales target at 33 trillion won, up 43 percent from last year, and aims to win 43 trillion won in new orders, a 14-percent increase from last year.

“The impact of the European debt crisis and global economic uncertainties will continue this year,” STX Group chairman Kang Duck-soo said in his New Year’s message.

“All of us must put ‘responsible management’ into practice to make use of the fast-changing environment as opportunities.”

GS Group chairman Huh Chang-soo urged affiliate companies to invest more, create more jobs, expand the portion of exports and bolster liquidity management.

“With the overall business environment getting tougher, it will take long for major overseas markets to normalize,” Huh said in a New Year’s meeting with about 150 heads of affiliates and executives.

“It is not easy to expand investment in this time of recession, but major investments that can reshape GS should be made at times like this because the strengths and weaknesses of companies and industries clearly reveal themselves when the economy is stagnant.”

Huh expressed high expectations for the group’s energy business, with a new holding company GS Energy to be launched this year.

GS Group plans to invest its biggest-ever amount of 3.1 trillion won this year, aiming at sales of 75 trillion won.


By Kim So-hyun and Cho Ji-hyun
(sophie@heraldcorp.com) (sharon@heraldcorp.com)