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Biz leaders circle the Earth more than 64 times to drum up Expo supportBy Park Han-na
Published : April 4, 2023 - 15:40
Top conglomerate leaders have traveled over 2.5 million kilometers, equivalent to the distance of 64 1/2 rounds around the Earth, to lead diplomatic efforts in support of Busan’s bid to host the World Expo 2030.
Since June last year, the World Expo Bidding Committee, a business-led civilian organization made of 11 companies including SK, Samsung and Hyundai, have visited 84 countries for negotiations related to the final vote regarding the host city of the global fair, according to the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The host city is to be decided via a vote in November by Bureau International des Expositions member states at a General Assembly.
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, who serves as co-chair of the Busan Expo bidding committee and is also the chairman of the KCCI as well as Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong delivered a personal letter from President Yoon Suk Yeol to each country.
"Regardless of the results of the vote for hosting the Expo, the promotion campaign was also a chance for Korean companies to see untapped markets and discover new business opportunities," a company official said.
Chey has visited three European countries -- Spain, Denmark and Portugal -- as a presidential envoy.
Prior to this, Chey attended the 170th BIE General Assembly in June to support competition presentations, and met with the BIE's secretary-general and ambassadors from each country to garner support for Busan's bid. In the fall of last year, he visited Japan and met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for the first time among Korean business leaders to ask for support.
The committee has been carrying out its promotion campaign by designating countries for each member company. Among them, Samsung is in charge of 31 countries. Meanwhile, there are 24 countries for SK, 21 countries for Hyundai Motor and 10 countries for LG.
Samsung Chairman Lee visited the UK and Mexico as a presidential envoy, and met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who visited Korea at the end of last year.
In March, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Eui-sun also attended an event inviting US ambassadors in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific coast during his business trip to the US to drum up support.
In October last year, Chung visited the Czech Republic and Slovakia, where Hyundai Motor and Kia have European production bases, and met with the prime ministers of the two countries to ask for support.
During the BIE delegation's six-day visit to Korea which began on Sunday, Hyundai Motor provided Genesis G80 electric vehicles for their on-site inspection. LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo also visited Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in October last year and asked for his support.
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