Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Global Suppliers Woo Korean Big Business

The success of Korean big business has led a number of global firms to move parts and component manufacturing operations closer to their clients in Korea. The move is especially centered on the car industry sector.

Automobile parts maker Bosch has just completed its second Korean plant in Daejeon at a cost of $20 million. The German firm will make core auto parts for Hyundai Motor at the plant.

Its compatriot Siemens, the electrical and electronic engineering giant, is also strengthening cooperation with Hyundai, taking over auto parts company Hyundai Autonet together with Hyundai Motor in July and setting up a joint company to develop vehicle control systems in November.

Two of the world's three largest auto parts makers -- CanadaƂ’s Magna and ITW of the U.S. -- will invest US$30 million each in Korea.

U.S. chemical giant Dupont, meanwhile, is in talks with Korean automobile and electronics companies to establish a joint venture. Dupont Korea says working with conglomerates from the very stage of developing materials will give it an edge as a supplier. It thus plans to invest more than $20 million annually over two or three years in Korea. The company already invested $15 million last year to set up a firm in Korea together with Samsung'’s Cheil Industries that makes cutting-edge circuit boards for mobile phones.

Germany/’s BASF is also doing its best to win Hyundai's favor. In May, the chemical company held an exclusive technology exhibition for some 300 Hyundai executives and researchers at Hyundai Motor Group's research and development center in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, where it discussed technological cooperation.

Another German company that is rolling up its sleeves to get busy in Korea is multinational household products and materials company Henkel, which earned $15 billion in 125 nations across the world last year alone. Its chairman Ulrich Lehner visited Korea in October. Henkel currently supplies Hyundai Motor with products needed to reduce noise and vibration in cars, absorb impact and increase durability.

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