South Korean president Moon Jae-in will be accompanied by 52 local business delegates on his first state visit to the United States at the end of this month.
The new names are included in the list of the delegation – Hyundai Motor Co. Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun, LG Group Vice Chairman and CEO Koo Bon-joon and Doosan Group Chairman Park Jung-won.
Vice Chairman Chung and Vice Chairman Koo made the list for the first time on behalf of his father Chairman Chung Mong-koo and his brother Koo Bon-moo, respectively. Chairman Park, who has led the group from March last year, will also visit the U.S. as business delegate for the first time.
An official from the business industry said, “Who will attend a summit conference as business delegates is very meaningful for a company. Based on the list of the delegation, we can see a generational shift of owner family.”
LG Group Vice Chairman Koo has been recently expanding his role in the group. In addition to the inclusion of business delegates, he chaired the group’s strategy conference that began earlier this month on behalf of his brother. The semi-annual meeting discusses medium and long term strategies and inspects the group’s performance.
Some business industry sources said that the expanded role of Vice Chairman Koo serves as a stepping stone connecting Chairman Koo Bon-moo and Executive Vice President Koo Kwang-mo. Vice Chairman Koo takes care of business generally until Executive Vice President Koo, the son of Chairman Koo, finishes his business administration training.
Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun, the third generation of the owner families, also keeps expanding his dominance in control of the group. He has been already participating in major foreign conferences, such as international motor shows, Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and World Economic Forum in Davos, in recent years. Vice Chairman Chung made a presentation in person at the event held on June 13 for the launch of its first subcompact sport utility vehicle (SUV) Kona. It was the first time for Vice Chairman Chung to appear as a speaker to introduce the new car.
Hyundai Motor Group was considering a plan that Chairman Chung Mong-koo participates in the visit as a business delegate first but has changed to Vice Chairman Chung as part of its plan to exchange opinions on key issues with American businessmen more closely.
Doosan Group Chairman Park Jung-won has opened an era of the fourth-generation management from March last year. Chairman Park is the eldest son of honorary Chairman Park Yong-gon and the grandson of Park Doo-byung, the late first chairman of Doosan Group. Going back to Park Seung-jik who established the foundation of Doosan Group by opening "Park Seung-jik Store," Park Jung-won is the fourth successor of the group.
This year’s business delegates to the U.S. have a high share of medium-sized companies and small and medium-sized companies. The list of 52 business people include those from 14 medium companies and 23 small and medium-sized companies, accounting for about 70 percent of the total.
While conglomerates has made investment to relieve trade pressure, most of medium companies and small and medium-sized companies have marked with a side dot by fostering businesses for medium and long-term instead of short term.
By industry, 12 were chosen from the IT sector including JEUS, Hanmi Semiconductor, Daliworks, Data Streams, Bluebird, Viva Republica, SOLiD, Woowa Brothers and CrucialTec, showing the highest share.
SOLiD, a leading provider of equipment solutions for wireless networks, has continuously exported its products to the U.S. The company expects that it will expand its dominance in the local market in the future as it is included in the list of the delegation to the U.S.
CrucialTec, which manufactures fingerprint recognition modules for smartphones, has obtained a patent for an in-display fingerprint solution dubbed “Display Fingerprint Solution (DFS)” in the U.S. The company, which has entered into business relations with Google and Microsoft since the establishment of its subsidiary in the U.S. in 2010, is planning to ensure internal stability in the local market based on the visit to the U.S. with President Moon.
Woowa Brothers stands out the most among startups. CEO and Co-Founder Kim Bong-jin, who runs a food delivery app called “Baedal Minjok,” has been considered as the leading figure and innovator in the domestic startup industry.
Heads of firms in the energy and environment sector – Samkang M&T, Shinsung ENG, Hanyang, Daewha Fuel Pump and Bookang Tech – will also accompany President Moon on his first state visit to the U.S. In particular, Bookang Tech, which has the largest share in the domestic livestock wastewater treatment market, established its subsidiary in the U.S. in 2008 and has expanded its size by carrying out local businesses. With the inclusion of business delegates, the company is seeking to go into partnership with the U.S. water treatment industry. Bookang Tech said, “We will check how much our technology, which can meet the standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for discharge water, has business value in the local market.”
Poongsan Group, which has conducted business in the nonferrous metal and defense industries, has also joined the list of the business delegation. Chairman Ryu Jin, who is known to have wide personal connections in the U.S. political and business circles, also visited the U.S last month as a special envoy chosen by President Moon.
An official from a company included in the list of the business delegation said, “Unlike conglomerates, it is hard for medium companies and small and medium-sized companies to arrange the schedule and achievement for the visit to the U.S. within a week. With a symbolic meaning of the inclusion of the list of business delegates, rather than tangible results, they will be able to create a bigger synergy in the future.”