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Companies join forces for Busan’s World Expo bid

Civilian committee, led by SK chairman, launched to support port city’s bid to host Expo 2030

President Yoon Suk-yeol (center), Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Chey Tae-won (third from left) and other business and political leaders pose to celebrate the launch of a civilian committee supporting Busan’s bid for 2030 World Expo on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
President Yoon Suk-yeol (center), Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Chey Tae-won (third from left) and other business and political leaders pose to celebrate the launch of a civilian committee supporting Busan’s bid for 2030 World Expo on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
A business-led civilian committee was launched Tuesday to support Busan’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo, one of the world's biggest international events, in the realm of the World Cup and Olympics.

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, who doubles as chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, leads the committee, while top executives of 11 conglomerates are joining to add weight to the bid from South Korea’s second-largest city.

The 11 businesses include: Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, SK, LG, Lotte, Posco, Hanwha, GS, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Shinsegae and CJ. The KCCI said the final list could be extended in the coming weeks.

A presidential committee is also expected to be launched soon, and the SK chief will serve as co-chairman alongside Prime Minister Han Duck-soo.

During a launch event held in Busan, the KCCI chief stressed “one team,” saying collaborate efforts between the government and businesses are crucial to host the national event.

“Communication is key to become one team. I’ll make best efforts to better communicate with the government and participating companies.”

Chey especially pinned high hopes on the extensive global networks secured by member companies, saying full-fledged lobbying activities will start as soon as companies are assigned with target markets based on their business operations around the world.

According to him, the committee plans to send delegations to countries in Latin America and Africa that have not yet decided on who they will support for the 2030 Expo. 

Chey himself is also scheduled to head to Paris later this month to attend the general gathering of the Bureau International des Expositions, the supervisory organization for international exhibitions, to seek support from participating countries.

Upon the launch of the committee, the first meeting was also held in the port city, where participants pledged their full support.

“Samsung will make all-out efforts by taking advantage of its global infrastructure and network,” said Lee In-yong, president of Samsung Electronics. “We hope to use our latest technologies such as 6G, robotics, metaverse and augmented and virtual reality to support the Expo bid.”

Hyundai Motor President Gong Young-woon said the carmaker has already operated a separate team supporting the Expo bid following their role in hosting the Yeosu Expo back in 2012.

“Adding to promotional activities at home and abroad, we will ramp up support for lobbying activities in BIE countries,” he added. 

According to KCCI estimates, the 2030 World Expo is expected to create economic effects of 61 trillion won ($49.3 billion) in the local economy.

Busan is considered one of the key competitors for the 2030 event, with chief rivals being Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Italy’s capital Rome. The host nation will be decided in November 2023 in a vote among the 170 BIE member countries.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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