Samsung keeps low-key on Moon's request on job creation

By Song Su-hyun

Published : Jul 10, 2018 - 17:46
Updated : Jul 10, 2018 - 17:52

South Korea’s biggest family-run conglomerate Samsung appeared to be remaining low-key Tuesday after the first encounter between its heir apparent Lee Jae-yong and President Moon Jae-in, while seeking measures to join the government’s drive for economic revitalization, according to the business community on Tuesday.

During a five-minute impromptu meeting which is said to have been suggested by Moon, the president requested Samsung to create more jobs, core agenda to realize its income-driven economy. The state project is aimed at promoting the level of income to boost the size of domestic spending and investment.

Lee, in response, said “Thank you, and we will do more.”

President Moon Jae-in (left) is accompanied by Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong at Samsung's smartphone production facility in Noida, India, on Monday. (Yonhap)


Such a short chat was made before a ceremony held by Samsung to mark the completion of a new production line for smartphones in Noida, India, on Monday, during Moon’s state visit to the country.

The Moon-Lee encounter drew mixed reactions from the political and business circles.

The minor opposition Justice Party denounced the president’s meeting with Samsung heir Lee, calling Lee, “who took the leading role in the Park Geun-hye and Choi Soon-sil corruption scandal.”

On the other hand, the business community interpreted the meeting positively as a shift in the Moon government’s stance from anti-chaebol to business-friendly.

“The government seems to be acknowledging that they need support from conglomerates such as Samsung and Hyundai Motor to address economic issues,” said an industry official who declined to be named.

Some expressed sarcasm about Moon’s meetup with the Samsung heir, saying “Such connections between the government and businesses can never be severed.”

“Samsung should be considering some new investment and job creation plans in order to show its support for the government’s economic policies, which is no different from the previous business-friendly governments,” an official in the business community said.

Samsung officially remained silent about possible new investment or employment plans.

Samsung is on track to build its second semiconductor factory in Pyeongtaek, which is estimated to require over 30 trillion won ($26.8 million). The decision was made public after Lee was freed from jail in February.

The tech titan could possibly contribute to the government’s job creation policy by increasing its research and development workforce on new technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous driving that are being led by the Samsung heir.

By Song Su-hyun (song@heraldcorp.com)

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The Korea Herald by Herald Corporation