BUSINESS

Hyundai Motor heir goes to Beijing amid thawing Korea-China ties

By Cho Chung-un
  • Published : Nov 1, 2017 - 17:03
  • Updated : Nov 1, 2017 - 17:05
Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun looks at an art installment displayed at Hyundai Motor Studio in Beijing, Wednesday. (Hyundai Motor)
After suffering major losses from a Seoul-Beijing diplomatic spat, Hyundai Motor Group Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun while visiting Beijing said he expects improved ties between the two countries would bring a positive impact to the carmaker’s operation there, officials said Wednesday.

“I expect to see a positive impact (from the improved ties). Taking this opportunity, I hope that (the relationship between two countries) takes an amicable direction,” Chung was quoted as saying by officials at an opening ceremony of the carmaker’s motor studio in Beijing.

Chung, the only son of the group’s Chairman Chung Mong-koo, was visiting Beijing a day after the two countries made an announcement that they would make efforts to put their relations back on track, in a major breakthrough over bilateral ties which had been frosted for more than six months.

China has been strongly opposing South Korea’s decision to deploy a US missile defense system on its soil. Korean businesses operating in China, including Hyundai Motor, Amorepacific and Lotte, have said their sales plummeted over months, amid speculations of the Beijing government taking retaliatory actions against them.

Hyundai Motor Group holds a joint venture with local companies and manufactures and sells both Hyundai and Kia brands in China. But their sales halved, suffering a major setback in the world’s largest car market.

Industry watchers viewed Chung’s visit to China as part of efforts to boost its sluggish sales. The vice chairman is reportedly set for a series of meetings with senior officials at the ruling party of China and other bureaucrats. But the carmaker’s office in Seoul denied the speculations, saying his trip to Beijing had been arranged regardless of the announcement of the two countries improving ties.

Hyundai Motor Studio, located in Beijing’s art district of the 798 zone, has been dubbed by Hyundai as a space that visualizes Hyundai’s brand philosophy of a modern premium.

While promoting Hyundai’s brand image, the studio will also serve as a gallery for China’s rising artists, the company said. The studio is the second overseas project after one in Moscow that opened in 2015. The carmaker has four more in Seoul and neighboring areas.

By Cho Chung-un (christory@heraldcorp.com)