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Samsung heir makes another on-site visit amid uncertainties

Industry 15:30 June 30, 2020

SEOUL, June 30 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on Tuesday made his fourth on-site visit in two weeks to check the company's future strategy amid global uncertainties.

Lee, the de facto leader of the top conglomerate Samsung Group, visited a plant of Semes Co., an affiliate of Samsung Electronics Co. that produces semiconductors and display manufacturing equipment, in Cheonan, some 90 kilometers south of Seoul.

Lee's visit came one week after he inspected Samsung's home appliance business unit in Suwon, south of Seoul, and emphasized that the company overcome global uncertainties sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic and renewed tensions between the United States and China.

"We can't predict the end of these uncertainties," Lee told executives during his visit. "We have a long way to go. If we stop here, we have no future."

This photo provided by Samsung Electronics on June 30, 2020, shows Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (2nd from L) listening to an executive's briefing during a visit to a production facility of Semes Co., a Samsung group affiliate that makes semiconductor and display manufacturing equipment, in Cheonan, some 90 kilometers south of Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Samsung said Lee's visit is designed to help nurture the country's competitiveness in the material, parts and equipment sectors.

The country has been trying to foster such sectors after Japan announced last July that it would regulate South Korea-bound exports of three key industrial materials -- photoresist, etching gas and fluorinated polyimide -- that are critical for the production of chips and displays.

Last year, Samsung announced massive investment plans in the two sectors.

In April 2019, Samsung Electronics unveiled a vision to become the world's No. 1 logic chip maker by 2030 by investing 133 trillion won (US$111 billion) and bolstering its competitiveness in the system LSI and foundry businesses.

Samsung Display Co., a display panel manufacturing affiliate of Samsung Electronics, also announced last year that it will inject 13 trillion won by 2025 to upgrade its liquid crystal display (LCD) production facilities and produce advanced display panels, known as quantum-dot (QD) displays.

Lee's latest on-site business inspection also came four days after an independent panel of experts, made up of civil activists, legal experts and others, concluded that prosecutors should not indict him over a controversial merger of two Samsung units in 2015.

The panel's decision is not legally binding, meaning local speculators could still indict the heir apparent.

Prosecutors suspect that Lee and the group's top management were involved in a calibrated scheme to intentionally lower the value of Samsung C&T Corp. prior to its merger with Cheil Industries Inc. in 2015, so as to facilitate Lee's managerial succession from his ailing father, Lee Kun-hee.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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