Big 4 chaebol chiefs back Busan’s Expo bid in Paris

The four chiefs of Korea’s top conglomerates, Samsung Electronics, SK Group, Hyundai Motor Group and LG Group, have proactively engaged in meetings and discussions to woo support for the bid since their arrival.

Jo He-rim

Jo He-rim

The Korea Herald


From left: SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun, Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong, LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo and Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon attend a presentation session at the 172nd BIE General Assembly held in Paris, Tuesday. (Yonhap)

June 22, 2023

SEOUL – South Korea’s top conglomerate chiefs were to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Wednesday, as they are in Paris to promote Busan’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo.

According to industry sources on Wednesday, the four chiefs of Korea’s top conglomerates — Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun and LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo — arrived in Paris Monday to kick off their Paris trip, joining the economic delegation accompanying President Yoon Suk Yeol.

They were to meet with Macron, along with 15 other Korean corporate leaders including Korean Air Chairman Cho Won-tae and Hanwha Solutions Vice Chairman Kim Dong-kwan.

Upon their arrival on Monday, the chiefs have proactively engaged in meetings and discussions to woo support for Busan’s Expo bid, as the general assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions took place for two days from Tuesday.

SK’s Chey — who also serves as the chairman of Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry — had a packed schedule, meeting with ambassadors and interviewing with local media. Chey moved around on crutches with the Busan Expo logo stamped on them, as he injured his leg playing tennis earlier in the month.

Speaking to the French daily newspaper Le Figaro, Chey highlighted how the envisioned Expo in Busan would benefit not only the city but also the entire Earth, providing a platform to address various global issues.

He also explained the advantages of holding the World Expo in Busan to foreign ambassadors stationed in Paris at a pop-up venue by the KCCI called “Maison de Busan.”

Samsung’s Lee also followed a private itinerary, checking on the company’s activities supporting Busan’s Expo bid. In time with the BIE’s 172nd general assembly on Tuesday and Wednesday, Samsung has put up an advertisement promoting its mobile phones and Busan’s bid on the facade of Paris’ Palais Garnier.

The global tech giant also posted promotional videos on its French website and social media.

Hyundai Motor’s Chung also followed an Expo bid-centered itinerary. Hyundai has provided a fleet of 10 electric vehicles emblazoned with the Busan World Expo logo to transport the Korean delegation throughout its trip.

LG’s Koo received reports on the company’s European business and also checked upon LG’s local campaigns to support Busan’s bid. LG has installed a digital billboard advertisement to back Busan’s bid for the World Expo near Charles de Gaulle International Airport and launched some 110 banners around the BIE assembly venue.

The four chiefs also took part in South Korea’s official presentation session, where President Yoon delivered an English-language speech to promote the Busan bid. K-pop girl group aespa member Karina, singer-songwriter Psy and world-renowned soprano Sumi Jo were also part of the presentation.

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