Major South Korean business groups are expected to accelerate their investment plans in the United States as U.S. President Donald Trump encouraged them to invest more in his country.
CJ Group chairman Sohn Kyung-shik made a surprise announcement on June 30 after his meeting with President Trump, saying, “We will additionally invest (at least) US$1 billion (1.16 trillion won) in food and logistics businesses in the United States in the future.” He added, “We will focus on investing in the food and logistics sectors. We are considering the establishment of plants in the eastern and western regions in the United States.”
Sohn said, “We have so far invested US$3 billion (3.47 billion won) in the United States and especially executed US$2 billion (2.31 trillion won) of investment this year alone. We will invest an additional US$1 billion (1.16 trillion won) as soon as possible to expand our business in the United States.” Currently, CJ CheilJedang Corp. operates its plants in California, New York and New Jersey.
CJ Group invested mainly in the food and logistics businesses in the United States. CJ CheilJedang invested about 2.70 trillion won last year, including the acquisition of U.S. frozen food firms Schwan's Co. and Kahiki Foods Inc., while CJ Logistics Corp. invested 250 billion won (US$216.36 million), including the acquisition of DSC Logistics Inc. The group has successfully launched the frozen dumpling brand Bibigo in the U.S. market. It runs dumpling plants in Fullerton, California, and New Jersey. It also operates CGV Cinemas, a movie theater chain, and Tous Les Jours bakery chain.
SPC Group chairman Hur Young-in also plans to expand business in the United States. The group aims to open 2,000 Paris Baguette bakeries in the United States by 2030. SPC Group expects that it will create 60,000 jobs there. Currently, the daily average number of customers visiting Paris Baguette bakeries in the United States comes to 35,000 and about 12 million Americans purchase Paris Baguette products a year on average.
Nongshim Group is also forecast to accelerate investment in the United States. The group is now considering setting up the second ramen plant in the country after the first one set up in Los Angeles in 2005. The group is more likely to move up the establishment of the plant.