The KABC Korea Business Forum

Chaebol COVID Transformations 2020-2021

8.00am – 10.00am, 17 June 2021 in Grand Hyatt (subject to confirmation) and the Online Seminar Room

At a macro level Korea is recovering successfully with a spectacular rebound in GDP forecast for 2021Q2, alongside monthly record export levels of over US$50 billion for the last three months.

The subject of our June 17th KBF session is our annual evaluation of the evolution of the Chaebol, first held in 1996. The 2021 session will be unique.  First the. Chaebol are changing faster than ever, and second the number of Chaebol as defined by KFTC is the largest ever, at 70.

As in past years we have approached the chaebol in terms of first tier, second tier and so on in terms of sales (rather than FTC asset-based ranking). This process divides the chaebol into groups of peers, although the smallest in the top five, Lotte and LG are significantly smaller than Samsung, Hyundai, and SK. SK is expanding faster than Hyundai or Samsung and taking the lead in some of the cooperative New Deal and 4th Industrial Revolution initiatives. All the chaebol are announcing an ESG transition.

Samsung naturally gets special attention because of its unique status and size, being almost, but not quite, in a class of its own compared with SK, Hyundai Motors, LG and Lotte. But the second tier are much closer in size with a marked gap between the best of that tier, and the bottom of the first tier. The same is true of the third tier, also markedly smaller than the second tier, and so on down to the sixth tier.

The FTC only measures Korean based subsidiaries, and as the chaebol stretch abroad it is necessary to include some appreciation of the size of the different chaebol overseas, imprecise as the measures must be, compared with the FTC’s Korean based data.

Our annual chaebol session has always been a popular one, and the hardcopy and softcopy of the chaebol session report eagerly sought after. Members and would be members are invited to complete the on-line form below. If you are not a member then you qualify for one free session of KBF to form your own opinion of whether the forum is the kind of exclusive dialogue-based group you would like to belong to.

We look forward to seeing you on the 17th. It will also mark our first return to hybrid format since last autumn.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Michell
Managing Director, KABC Ltd.

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