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SK Group looks to Southeast Asia

Nov 25,2017
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SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, left, shakes hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at his office in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday. [SK GROUP]
SK Group’s chairman, Chey Tae-won, is exploring partnerships in Southeast Asian countries, meeting with business and government leaders to discuss cooperation on privatizing state-run companies and developing infrastructure for information and communications technology, in which SK, as owner of Korea’s largest telecom company, is strong.

The company said in a press release Friday that Chey has met with investors, CEOs and government officials in Vietnam and Singapore while on a business trip in Southeast Asia this week. SK Group entered both markets in the early 2000s through resource development, building petrochemical and oil facilities there, but Chey hopes to expand business cooperation to liquefied natural gas production and ICT development.

On Thursday, Chey spoke with Vietnam’s prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, about the country’s plan to privatize many of its state-run companies for long-term development and asked SK to share its knowledge about the process.

Nguyen also requested SK’s support in developing infrastructure for semiconductor production and smart cities.

As a follow-up, Chey met with Nguyen Chi Dung, Vietnam’s minister of planning and investment, Friday to hammer out details for cooperation.

In a marathon of meetings, Chey sat down with heads of the country’s largest companies, including Nguyen Dang Quang, chairman of Masan Group, one of the country’s largest privately-held companies; and Truong Gia Binh, chairman of FPT Group, a tech company, to learn more about the Vietnamese consumer market and technology trends in the country.

Earlier in the week, Chey was in Singapore to meet with investor groups and learn about the overall prospects of the Southeast Asian market. With SK shifting its interest toward future mobility businesses like self-driving cars and ride-sharing, Chey also consulted with Anthony Tan, head of Grab, the “Uber of Southeast Asia.”

“With Chey’s visit, we expect to expand positive models of global partnerships with Southeast Asian countries like we have done in China,” said Lee Hang-soo, president of SK Group’s public relations team.

Sinopec-SK Wuhan Petrochemical, an ethylene production company jointly held by Sinopec and SK, is symbolic of SK’s work in China.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]