Samsung heir flies to Saudi to check on metro project

By Song Su-hyun
  • Published : Sept 15, 2019 - 16:30
  • Updated : Sept 15, 2019 - 16:54

Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman and heir apparent of Samsung Electronics, flew to Saudi Arabia on Saturday to check on Samsung C&T’s infrastructure project in the Middle Eastern country’s capital, Riyadh, the company said Sunday.

The de facto leader of South Korea’s biggest conglomerate visited the construction site for the Riyadh Metro project, in which its construction arm is a participant.

The project, slated for completion by 2020, will involve the construction of six subway lines stretching 168 kilometers beneath the Saudi Arabian capital. 

Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong walks through a construction site of a subway line by Samsung C&T in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday. (Samsung Electronics)

The vice chairman met Samsung C&T engineers working on the project and encouraged them to keep up the good work.

“With the Middle East seeking profits from things other than oil, it is becoming a new land of opportunities in the 21st century,” Lee said. “Your sweat, when met with these new opportunities, will bear fruit.” 

Lee shakes hands with a Samsung C&T employee in Riyadh on Sunday. (Samsung Electronics)

Lee paid attention to the project in June when he met with Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was in Seoul to meet with President Moon Jae-in.

It was reported that Lee and the Saudi prince held a closed-door meeting after a state luncheon hosted by Cheong Wa Dae.

The Samsung heir’s visit to the Middle Eastern country marks his first publicized overseas trip since the Supreme Court ordered a retrial last month in the bribery case involving Lee and former President Park Geun-hye.

Despite the retrial, which could result in a harsher sentence for Lee, he is expected to continue making visits to Samsung’s work sites -- albeit with caution -- as part of his on-site management initiative that would help solidify his leadership across affiliates, according to a company insider.

By Song Su-hyun (