Major business groups such as Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK, and LG held kick-off meetings for this year on Jan. 2. Their CEOs asked their employees to focus on differentiation, innovation, quality enhancement, and so on in an effort to tackle the uncertainties ahead.
The Samsung Group held meetings by subsidiary due to the hospitalization of Chairman Lee Kun-hee, although the chairman had previously presided over their celebration ceremonies until last year. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun picked B2B transactions, software content, service platforms, and the Internet of Things (IoT) as his company’s main growth engines for this year.
“We need to create new demands in order to continue the growth of the B2B segment while coming up with content and services to contribute to our competitiveness in the device manufacturing business,” he said, adding, “At the same time, we will work on new Internet of Things business models like smart healthcare and smart homes to ensure future sustainability.” He also mentioned his company should sharpen its competitive edge in existing core businesses so as to keep flourishing in advanced and emerging markets alike and try to establish a creative organizational culture by such means as the MOSAIC, its collective intelligence system started last year.
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo suggested a global sales target of 8.2 million cars for this year. In 2014, the group sold 8,005,152 vehicles to become the world’s fifth automaker to break the eight million mark, following Toyota, Volkswagen, GM, and Renault Nissan.
“We will build a new, 105-story company building at the KEPCO site we purchased last year. And the building, which will be the center of the group, will be developed into a multi-functional business complex and contribute to job creation during the course of construction,” he explained. He continued by saying, “Cooperation among the 32 plants in nine countries, six R&D institutes, dealers, and sales networks will be further promoted along with common growth with our business partners.”
The SK Group’s ceremony was chaired by SK SUPEX Committee head Kim Chang-keun, since group Chairman Choi Tae-won is still in prison. “The absence of the chairman is likely to continue for a while to cause unprecedented difficulties,” he mentioned, adding, “Under the circumstances, we will have to concentrate on innovation and make game-changing efforts.”
The SK Group showed rather poor performance last year as the energy and chemical business units, which account for the best part of its sales, were hit by the shale revolution and plummeting oil prices. The head of the committee asked the entire group to be committed to creating new business value amid adverse conditions such as increasing risk in emerging economies, the slowdown of the Chinese economy, and the deflation and extended recession in Europe.
LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo emphasized upon an aggressive attitude. “We presented a number of eye-catching new products based on our technical strength while setting a clear direction for our new businesses like eco-friendly auto parts and energy last year,” he commented, continuing, “Still, we cannot be content with what we accomplished last year, and we should strive for the continuation of market leadership.” He added, “Although business conditions will be far from favorable in 2015 due to the forex rate and oil price instabilities and the late starters’ rapid growth, we will seek ways to lead the market and be quick to implement them.”
Lotte Group Chairman Shin Kyuk-ho stressed the importance of strategic approach for its new business and self-reflection so that the Lotte World Tower and the “Omni-channel Strategy” can turn out to be successful. The latter refers to the group’s plan for providing the same shopping environments for online and offline customers.
“We will be able to turn ourselves into a global giant if we succeed in implementing the Omni-channel Strategy based on our second-to-none offline capabilities,” he said, adding, “In the meantime, we will carry out perfect safety management for the Lotte World Tower so that it can become the most trusted landmark in Korea.”
Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-yeon mentioned that the acquisition of defense and chemical firms from the Samsung Group late last year would accelerate its innovation with time. “The reshaping of the business structure will present a great opportunity as our acquisition of chemical and life insurance firms did in the past,” he remarked.