Shin Hak-cheol, vice chairman of LG Chem, confidently said on July 9 that even if Japan restricts exports of battery materials, LG Chem can overcome it by diversifying raw material supply sources.
“We are already writing scenarios to be prepared," Shin said in his first news conference since taking office in January this year.
Shin said, "The three items currently regulated by the Japanese government have no impact on LG Chem at present," adding, "We have already made efforts to diversify suppliers of raw materials for electric vehicle batteries, such as separators." Some raw materials are produced by LG Chem itself and, for other items, the company usually relies on two or three companies in Korea, Japan, China and Europe, Shin explained.
Regarding a plan to expand cathode material plants, Shin said, “We have anode material factories in Cheongju and Iksan, and we already have a plan to expand them,” Shin said. The company also has an anode plant in Gumi. “We are discussing various plans on it, but do not have a concrete one yet.”
"For any companies, the most important matter is intellectual property rights," Shin said with respect to the ongoing legal battle with SK Innovation over business secret leaks. "Companies take the protection of their intellectual property rights seriously.”
Regarding concerns over technology leaks through the establishment of a battery joint venture with Geely Auto of China, “The agreement with Geely Auto of China leaves little room for technology leaks," Shin stressed.
"I heard that the Chinese electric car subsidy system would be abolished by the end of next year," Shin said. "Our electric car battery business in China will then improve as we will have more opportunities in the Chinese market.”
Shin served as a vice chairman at 3M. In January, LG Group chairman Koo Kwang-mo brought in Shin as CEO of LG Chem. He was the first LG Chem CEO to be recruited from the outside.