The heads of major South Korean conglomerates mentioned change and innovation as their common keywords for this year in the middle of trade protectionism, political risks and the trend of low growth.
At the New Year’s opening ceremony of the Samsung Group that took place on January 2, Samsung Electronics CEO Kwon Oh-hyun stressed the urgency of a complete overhaul. “We need to take a lesson from the recall of the Galaxy Note 7 of last year to achieve a complete overhaul,” he said, continuing, “Quality is the very foundation of competitiveness that must be put first in any case.”
Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo, in the meantime, promised in his New Year’s message to sell at least 8.25 million cars this year while focusing on responsible management and back to basics. “Uncertainties are on the rise to an unprecedented extent as trade protectionism is spreading, competition is intensifying and the slow growth of the global economy is ongoing,” he remarked, adding, “We will increase our investment in R&D to sharpen our competitive edge in terms of core technology and lead the future of the industry.”
SK Group chairman Choi Tae-won made mention of a deep change for new value creation based on innovation and ambition. Chairman Koo Bon-moo of the LG Group, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, focused on thinking outside the box and a fundamental change in the way of doing business for a permanent stability, celebrating the opening of its Magok Science Park in advance and stressing the importance of R&D.
“Transformation is the only option to ensure survival,” said Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin, adding, “We should be fully prepared for the fourth industrial revolution led by artificial intelligence, virtual reality and information and communications technology, merging between online and offline distribution channels, demographic trends such as low fertility and aging population, etc.” POSCO chairman Kwon Oh-joon said, “We will complete our restructuring scheduled in the framework of Innovation POSCO 2.0 this year while beefing up our business productivity and preparing for future growth.”