South Korean companies operating in Vietnam have provided a total of 9.2 billion won ($7.8 million or 180 billion dong), in donations to help the Southeast Asian country secure COVID-19 vaccines, according to officials in the South Korean Embassy in Vietnam and local media reports Tuesday.
If donations from South Korean individuals are counted, the combined contribution to Vietnam’s vaccine fund could surpass 10 billion won, they said.
Forking out the biggest amount was Samsung Electronics, which has provided 3.8 billion won so far to the central and provincial governments there.
SK Group, South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate, has chipped in $1 million. Although the amount is around one-third of Samsung’s donation, it shows the conglomerate’s commitment to helping out, given its relatively small presence in the country.
The total number of people employed by SK Group in Vietnam is just around 400 -- 20 in Hanoi, 80 in Ho Chi Minh City and 300 in Vung Tau.
Last month, SK Group’s officials in Vietnam also reportedly promised the Vietnamese government that it would try to provide the country with the COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently under development by SK Bioscience.
Other Korean companies that have made donations include LG Group, Lotte Group, Hyosung Group and CJ.
LG Group’s affiliates, including LG Electronics, LG Display and LG Innotek, donated a combined 1.6 billion won to the local government of Haiphong, a port city in northeastern Vietnam where LG Group operates manufacturing facilities.
Lotte Group has donated 10 billion dong, while CJ and Shinhan Bank contributed 6.4 billion and 6 billion dong, respectively.
A series of donations by South Korean firms and communities in Vietnam started after the Vietnamese government in May announced the launch of the state-led vaccine fund, in a bid to fight the resurgence of coronavirus infections.
Meanwhile, Korean companies that had contributed to the Vietnamese vaccine fund have started vaccinating their workers, with jabs procured from the Vietnamese government.
Samsung was previously provided with enough COVID-19 vaccines to complete the first round of vaccinations for some 42,000 employees, and the workers have also recently started receiving the second shots.
SK and CJ too received enough vaccines to cover the first shots for their 400 and 2,000 employees, respectively.
LG Group companies, however, have had trouble securing shots, which local reports said stemmed from its decision to make the donations to provincial governments only. The group last month started vaccinating some 100 factory workers and is yet to receive enough COVID-19 vaccines for some 23,500 employees in Haiphong.
By Shim Woo-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org