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(2nd LD) Samsung chief vows commitment to future high-tech sectors

All News 21:57 January 10, 2019

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS more comments throughout, photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co. Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on Thursday pledged his commitment to the growth of next-generation business sectors and efforts to spur the national economy, officials said.

Lee made the remarks during his meeting with Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, who visited the tech giant's headquarters in Suwon, just south of Seoul, earlier in the day.

"Business conditions would not be favorable ... But there has always been a crisis, and we've been prepared," Lee from Samsung was quoted as saying by officials of the prime minister who attended the closed-door meeting between the two.

"There could be some ups and downs in the short run ... If we again concentrate and meet challenges, I believe we will draw good results in future growth fields, such as the fifth-generation technologies and system (non-memory) semiconductors," he said.

Vowing to strive for the betterment of the Korean economy as the country's flagship firm, the businessman said he will "fulfill his duty of creating jobs" and "make a virtuous circle of co-existence with small- and mid-sized companies."

Pointing to the lack of manpower in the software field in South Korea, the Samsung vice chief asked for the government's support and efforts in nurturing such human resources.

(2nd LD) Samsung chief vows commitment to future high-tech sectors - 1

It is the first time that the prime minister had a solo meeting with one of the chiefs of the country's four largest conglomerates since he took office in May 2017.

The visit was apparently aimed at grasping the progress of the fifth-generation (5G) network technologies and asking for Samsung to play a role in spurring investment and job creation. President Moon Jae-in has prioritized boosting the slowing economy and creating jobs this year.

"With regard to the 5G technologies, I've been concerned whether the production of equipment could keep up with the requirements and records that South Korea has set ... But I was very much relieved by vice chairman Lee's recent moves," the prime minister said.

South Korea is to commercialize 5G services in March, making it the first country to do so.

Samsung Electronics has picked 5G network technology as one of its four new growth engines. Last week, the company started production of its 5G network-related equipment at its factory in Suwon.

"Though (the vice chairman said) he often feels pressure, he vowed that Samsung will carry out its duties as the country's leading company," the prime minister told reporters before leaving the headquarters. The vice chairman was at the scene with the prime minister, but he refrained from directly answering questions from reporters.

Praising Samsung's role in the country's outstanding exports of semiconductors, Lee said he wants to hear from Samsung that it is "confident" in memory chip and 5G equipment sectors down the road.

"There have been some worrisome reports, but I hope Samsung can quickly overcome such difficulties," the prime minister said in an apparent reference to the tech behemoth's disappointing earnings in the fourth quarter of last year.

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (L) talks to a reporter after his meeting with Lee Jae-yong (C), vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., in Suwon, south of Seoul, on Jan. 10, 2019. (Yonhap)



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