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General economy : Economy : News : The Hankyoreh

President Seok-Yeol Yoon and President Joe Biden of the United States tour the production facilities at the Samsung Electronics Semiconductor Plant in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province on May 20, 2022, led by Samsung Chairman Electronics Lee Jae-yong. Presidential Correspondents

Unlike recent visits to Beijing and Shanghai, China by major US CEOs such as Elon Musk (Tesla) and Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase), big Korean businessmen with strategic production centers in China are keeping quiet. He appears to refrain from activities that could provoke the United States, such as not visiting Chinese businesses even when he visits China. As a result of checking the disclosure schedule of the heads of major domestic companies on the 5th, it seems that SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-win and Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong were the two people who visited China after Corona 19. The Chairman attended Chey Tae-won Boao Forum in China last March and gave a congratulatory speech in the session ‘Measuring Enterprise ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Performance’. Chairman Choi crossed the West Sea four years after November 2019, but did not visit SK Hynix’s semiconductor plants in Wuxi and Dalian, China. Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong visited China to attend the China Development High-Level Forum held in Beijing last March. Although he visited the Samsung Electro-Mechanics factory in Tianjin and held a private meeting with Tianjin City Secretary Chen Min-er, he did not visit the semiconductor factories in Xian and Suzhou. In other words, it was a room close to ‘subtle’. Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Eui-sun, LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo, Hanwha Group Vice Chairman Kim Dong-kwan, and POSCO Group Chairman Choi Jeong-woo have not officially visited China since the spread of Corona 19 in March 2020, the company said. The heads of large domestic conglomerates seem to be making strategic decisions based on the conflict between the US and China. He cannot lose China’s huge market, but he has no choice but to pay attention to the situation where the US government is holding China to control closely related high-tech industries (artificial intelligence, semiconductors, quantum computers) to diplomacy and security. In the midst of the US-China hegemony competition, the diplomatic direction of the current government, which focuses on the US side, has also narrowed the range of maneuvers for domestic companies with Chinese operations. The LG Group did not react at all when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the LG Display factory in Guangzhou in April. Chairman Chey Tae-won said in an interview on YouTube (Sampro TV) in September last year, “I have no choice but to think about geopolitical and geoeconomic issues. The question is how much more will the United States and China fight and how far will they fight,” he said, hinting at these concerns. However, while major US businessmen are scrambling to visit China and actively looking after their business sites, attention is focused on whether the heads of major Korean companies are just watching. In a phone call with Kim Gye-hwan, head of the Industrial Trade Research Division at the Korea Institute of Industrial Trade and Economics, he said, “From a business perspective, we have to look here and there,” but “recognize the inside and outside the US disconnection (relationship separation) may not go as deep as you think. It looks like you are starting to learn. (Domestic businessman too) I don’t think there’s a need to shrink too much now.”

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From the point of view of Korean companies, which cannot completely exclude China, which has a huge market and supply chain, voices also say that they should prepare for when and how far there will be a wave of such a conflict between the United States and China continues. Kim Yang-hee, a trade expert and professor at Daegu University (Department of Economics and Finance), said, “Don’t confine your room to yourself, and try to find guidelines on how far Korea should take its relations with the public, not for the sake of the United States or for the sake of the United States.”” he said. Correspondent Koh Han-sol sol@hani.co.kr

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