Chiefs of chaebol and the nation’s largest financial groups on Wednesday underscored efforts to keep above water through better risk management and more global talent as they enter a year full of economic uncertainties.
Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee called for more world leading products and services, 20 years after urging Samsung Group to “change everything but your wife and children.”
“The difference in companies’ competitive power clearly unfolds during an economic slump, and only the strong will survive in the market. Samsung’s future depends on how many No. 1 products and services it has,” Lee said in his New Year’s message to employees on Wednesday.
Samsung Electronics, which produces some of the best-selling mobile phones, television sets, memory chips and OLED panels, is expected to focus on developing products in other business divisions as well.
“Enterprises of all fields around the world are now pitting against each other beyond product quality, in securing human talent, technological development and patent disputes,” Lee said.
“The higher Samsung’s status gets, the more others will try to keep us in check.”
Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo laid out “brand innovation through better quality” as the conglomerate’s management policy for this year, setting a global sales target of 7.41 million vehicles, up 4 percent from 2012.
Chung also said that by completing the construction of its third blast furnace, Hyundai Steel would reach an annual production capacity of 12 million tons from its blast furnaces.
Hyundai Motor Group also plans to raise investment in research and development for eco-friendly cars and electronic control systems.
LG Group chairman Koo Bon-moo called for “market-leading products that will shake the world.”
He also told the group’s management to remove operations that have nothing to do with raising customer value.
GS Group chairman Huh Chang-soo emphasized efforts to build on internal stability, such as cash flow and liquidity control for substantial, qualitative growth to tide over rapid changes in the global business environment.
Lotte Group executive chairman Shin Kyuk-ho also highlighted the need for thorough risk management and investment management to ensure internal stability and continued overseas expansion with an aim to become Asia’s top 10 global conglomerate.
“Our overseas business, which we began in full-scale six years ago, is showing steady growth, nearing 10 trillion won in sales,” Shin said in his New Year’s message.
“Detailed research and analysis are important for a successful overseas business, but what is more important is to predominate the market by entering it in a timely manner.”
Woori Financial Group chairman Lee Pal-seung said the financial industry has met an “ice age” of low growth and low profits.
“Woori must strengthen the core competitive power of each business division and achieve management efficiency for sustainable growth,” he said.
“Woori has the most diverse affiliates among financial groups, but we lack synergy. We must maximize intra-group synergy to secure a competitive edge.”
Lee also said Woori must strengthen monitoring in risky areas, such as household debt and real estate, as well as borrowers whose debt amounts to over four times their income and companies.
KB Financial Group chairman Euh Yoon-dae stressed strengthening internal stability and raising customer confidence.
“More hardships are expected this year with the low policy rate, stronger social responsibility of the financial sector and fiscal crises abroad,” Euh said.
“Even if profits were high, poor risk management could deal a blow to the entire group. We must focus on stable financial results and risk management.”
Emphasizing the need for solid asset growth and profits through keeping the net interest margin at appropriate levels, Euh said KB would beef up smart banking and its real estate service as bases for new growth engines.
Expressing regret over the failure to acquire ING Life’s Korean unit, calling it a “growing pain” of holding companies, the chairman said he would continue to seek diversification of KB’s business portfolio.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org