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(LEAD) Samsung heir visits electronics parts maker amid uncertainties

All News 17:52 July 16, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more info from 11th para, 2nd photo)

SEOUL, July 16 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on Thursday visited its electronics components manufacturing unit to check on the company's future strategy amid global uncertainties.

Lee, the de facto leader of the top conglomerate Samsung Group, visited Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co.'s plant in Busan, which produces automotive multi layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs).

MLCC is a core component used in almost every electronics item, feeding necessary electricity need.

Samsung said Lee discussed Samsung Electro-Mechanics' plan for its automotive MLCC business, as demand for such products is expected to sharply increase on the back of developments in electric vehicles, autonomous driving technology, as well as 5G and artificial intelligence solutions.

"The pace of change is getting faster," Lee said. "We should lead innovation from the front."

This photo, provided by Samsung Electronics Co. on July 16, 2020, shows Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (C) checking on Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co.'s multi layer ceramic capacitor production facility with workers at the company's plant in Busan. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Lee previously met with Samsung Electro-Mechanics officials in June last year and checked on their investment and growth strategies.

Lee's latest visit marks his seventh on-site inspection of Samsung's business units this year.

Starting with Samsung Electronics' plants in Brazil in January, Lee had visited the company's smartphone factory, chip research center and consumer electronics unit in South Korea.

He also inspected Samsung Display Co. and Semes Co., an affiliate that produces semiconductors and display manufacturing equipment.

In his recent visits, Lee has been consistently emphasizing that Samsung needs to overcome global uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and renewed tensions between the United States and China.

This photo, provided by Samsung Electronics Co. on July 16, 2020, shows Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (R) looking at Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co.'s package substrate product at the company's plant in Busan. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Lee's on-site inspection also comes amid speculation that the prosecution could indict the heir apparent later this month over the controversial merger of two Samsung units.

Prosecutors suspect that Lee and the group's senior executives 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.

An independent panel of experts -- made up of civil activists, legal experts and others -- concluded last month that prosecutors should not indict Lee.

But since the panel's decision is not legally binding, there has been speculation that prosecutors could push for the indictment of Lee.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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