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Samsung heir returns home from trip to chipmaking plant in China

All News 14:49 May 19, 2020

SEOUL, May 19 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong returned home from his trip to China on Tuesday amid growing uncertainties over the global economic recovery from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

During his three-day visit, Lee, the de facto leader of South Korea's top conglomerate, inspected Samsung Electronics' chip plant in Xian, Shaanxi province, some 1,000 kilometers southwest of Beijing, on Monday and encouraged workers there to overcome the fallout from the pandemic.

The Xian plant is Samsung's only overseas memory chip factory. The South Korean tech giant last year revealed it will invest an additional US$8 billion in the plant and sent some 200 engineers last month for the expansion of the second Xian plant.

Later in the day, he met with Shaanxi province Gov. Hu Heping and discussed ways to improve cooperation between Samsung and the province.

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (C) leaves the arrival gate at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul on May 19, 2020, after returning from his three-day business trip to China. (Yonhap)

Lee's business travel came amid growing uncertainties over a renewed trade row between Washington and Beijing, even though many countries around the globe have started to reopen their economies and lift virus lockdowns.

During his visit to the Xian plant, Lee emphasized that Samsung should "be preemptive and prepared for forthcoming changes."

Lee, the only son of bedridden Samsung chief Lee Kun-hee, is one of the first major business leaders to travel to China after Seoul and Beijing began to operate a fast-track entry system this month for businessmen.

Under the system, Lee will not be placed in self-quarantine for two weeks following his arrival from China. However, the tycoon will be allowed to go home only after he tests negative for the virus at the airport in Seoul.

Even if he is exempt from mandatory quarantine, Lee will be under close monitoring to make certain he does not show symptoms of COVID-19.


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