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HD Hyundai Heavy Industries opens Manila office to foray into Southeast Asia

March 7, 2024 - 15:28 By Heo Yu-jeong
From left: Philippine Deputy Minister of Undersecretary for Acquisition and Resource Management Joselito Ramos, HD HHI's Naval & Special Ship Business Unit Chief Operating Officer Joo Won-ho, Philippine Navy Vice Commander Caesar Valencia, and HD HHI's NSSBU Managing Director Lee Sang-bong pose for a photo at the opening ceremony of the HD HHI Engineering Office Philippines, Wednesday. (HD Hyundai Heavy Industries)

South Korean shipbuilding giant HD Hyundai Heavy Industries is seeking to continue its expansion into the burgeoning warship market in Southeast Asia as it opens a regional base in the Philippines.

The company said Thursday it recently held the opening ceremony of its engineering office in Bonifacio Global City, Manila.

The event was attended by HD HHI’s Naval and Special Ship Business unit chief Joo Won-ho and Philippine Deputy Minister of Undersecretary for Acquisition and Resource Management Joselito Ramos.

The company said it is building the regional technology hub to enhance responsiveness to the defense demand amid growing geopolitical uncertainties.

The Philippines, in particular, is considered a market with great potential as its location strategically connects the Pacific and Asia.

The Manila engineering office is staffed with design engineers, maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) specialists, as well as sales professionals from the Korean headquarters' naval & special ship business unit. Localized technological solutions, warranty and consulting services also will be provided.

Expanding its reach beyond the Philippines, HD HHI aims to capitalize on the growing defense spending of other Southeast Asian countries, projected to reach 13 trillion won ($10 billion) by 2030. The shipbuilder targets sales of 2 trillion won by 2030 through bolstering ties with key nations like the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

"The new office will be a central hub for penetrating the global special ship market," said Joo Won-ho, head of HD Hyundai Heavy Industries' naval & special ship business unit. "Our company is committed to leveraging its shipbuilding expertise to advance the Korean defense industry and cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with Southeast Asian countries."

Meanwhile, HD HHI has garnered recognition from the Philippine Department of National Defense, securing contracts for ten naval vessels. This includes two Frigates in 2016, two Corvettes in 2021, and six Offshore Patrol Vessels in 2022, under the Horizon One and Two Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization programs.