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Lee Jae-yong puts 'New Samsung' into action

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Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong goes on a guided tour at Dong-A Plating in Busan, Nov. 8. Korea Times file
Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong goes on a guided tour at Dong-A Plating in Busan, Nov. 8. Korea Times file

By Lee Kyung-min

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong has spent the past 30 days meeting with small local partner firms and global high-profile leaders, an indication of his prioritizing of mutual sustainable growth as the head of the IT giant, industry watchers said Sunday.

Many say Lee visiting small partner firms even before presiding over executive meetings are emblematic of his "New Samsung" corporate vision, whereby the efforts of its long-time partners will be increasingly recognized and appreciated to boost morale. The specifics will be outlined soon.

Lee's chairmanship began Oct. 27, ending a 10-year stint as vice chairman. Prior to the promotion, he remained the only de facto leader without the title of chairman at one of the country's top four conglomerates, including Hyundai, SK and Lotte.

Lee's first official visit after his promotion was to DK, a partner firm in Gwangju, Oct. 28.

The firm first entered business with Samsung in 1994 and has since supplied key household appliances, including washing machines, refrigerators and air conditioners.

The next day, he visited Dong-A Plating, a project partner in building a smart factory in Busan.

"The success of Samsung hinges on the success of our partner firms," Lee said after meeting with employees of DK. "We need to create a virtuous cycle of mutual sustainable growth underpinned by a healthy business ecosystem."

The visits followed his remarks shared on the firm's intranet Oct. 27.

In a post titled "Challenges for the Future," he called for increased preparedness against a slew of global and market uncertainties.

"I have been to local and overseas manufacturing plants," he said. "The reality in front of us is grave and the market is cold. The more challenging times are, the more we need to better prepare ourselves via fortified capabilities. This is the time to be bolder and stay stronger to meet the challenges."

Lee is expected to help Samsung's affiliates find a breakthrough in growth, enabled in part by the construction of Neom City being built in Tabuk Province, Saudi Arabia.

The green city construction project is spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the prime minister of the Middle Eastern country, for the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly future away from the present fossil fuel-reliant economy.

Samsung C&T, the construction affiliate of Samsung Group, together with Hyundai E&C, affiliated with Hyundai Motor Group, is overseeing an underground railway tunnel in Neom.


Lee Kyung-min lkm@koreatimes.co.kr


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