|LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol delivers a speech during the Business & Campus Tour event at the InterContinental Tokyo Bay hotel on Thursday. Courtesy of LG Chem|
By Park Jae-hyuk
LG Chem has started recruiting young talent in Japan, indicating its intention to take advantage of thawing bilateral relations between Seoul and Tokyo, as other Korean companies are also doing.
The chemical unit of LG Group said Friday that its top executives including CEO Shin Hak-cheol participated in the Business & Campus Tour event at the InterContinental Tokyo Bay on Thursday, to hire Japanese scientists and engineers.
The event was attended by over 40 doctoral candidates and master's students specializing in materials, biotech and machinery from Japan's seven major universities including the University of Tokyo, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Kyoto University. Shin shared insights into the global business environment facing the Great Reset and discussed LG Chem's vision for a sustainable future to overcome the challenges it presents, according to the chemical firm.
"LG Chem plans to achieve sales of 40 trillion won ($30 billion) by 2030 solely from the three new major growth engines of battery materials, eco-friendly materials and global innovative new drugs," the CEO said. "I hope you will become a part of a company that constantly challenges itself and grows like LG Chem, seizing the opportunity to leap forward in an ever-changing industry."
Other major companies here are capitalizing on the improving ties between Korea and Japan.
OCI, a Korean polysilicon producer for solar power generation, signed a binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Thursday with Tokuyama, a Japanese chemical firm, to establish a joint venture in Malaysia by the first half of next year. The joint venture will start producing 11,000 tons of polysilicon for semiconductors annually from 2026.
Their latest agreement came six years after OCI lessened Tokuyama's financial burden by acquiring the Japanese firm's factory in Malaysia in 2017. Although they had sought to continue their cooperation, the tensions between Korea and Japan under the previous Moon Jae-in administration led to their collaboration ending in a stalemate.
"After the Korea-Japan summit in March improved the bilateral relations between the two countries, our cooperation with Tokuyama has gained momentum," an OCI official said.
Last month, Kumho Petrochemical signed an MOU with Idemitsu Kosan to receive bio-styrene monomer from the Japanese chemical firm. Both countries' steelmakers also began to boost their ties, as the two governments resumed regular dialogue on steel industry cooperation on Wednesday after a five-year hiatus.
In the financial sector, Shinhan Financial Group Chairman Jin Ok-dong visited Japan in April to meet representatives of the Bank of Japan, Mizuho, Nomura Securities, Daiwa Securities and SMBC, while Hana Financial Group signed an MOU last month with Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management.
In addition, both countries' business lobby groups are supporting the efforts of companies to enhance their ties.
On June 9, the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry will jointly host the chairs' meeting in Busan, after a six-year hiatus. The Federation of Korean Industries and the Japan Business Federation will hold a meeting in Tokyo later this year.
Korea Enterprises Federation Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik also met with former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at Lotte Hotel Seoul on Thursday and talked about the relations between the two countries.