Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest electronics products maker, is expected to rapidly map out a new business plan for the coming years now Chairman Lee Kun-hee has returned home from a month-long overseas tour.
“The chairman conducted onsite inspections on businesses in Vietnam, China and Japan as well as meeting local business heads,” said an official of Samsung’s corporate strategy office, the control tower of Korea’s largest conglomerate.
“The reasons for his visit were to check the company’s operations in those areas were running smoothly and also to formulate a business plan for the future.”
Lee has taken six trips abroad this year to meet crucial business partners and dignitaries. The official said he was unaware whether the chairman will head overseas again this year.
Another official said the final draft for a future business plan, which will include a personnel reshuffle, will be finalized after the early December in-house award ceremony where deserving employees are promoted.
Lee’s return marks an important time for the Suwon-based firm, which is formulating next year’s business plan as it sees its global hegemony in smartphones help post record profits. Group affiliates such as Samsung Display and Samsung SDI that supply components to the electronics maker, has also enjoyed a boon thanks to the stellar sales of the Galaxy series.
It has also drawn concerns for the group’s future as the heavy dependence on the sales of mobile phones means the damage will be just as big if it loses out to competitors in that arena. Around 70 percent of its third-quarter operating profit of 8.12 trillion came from handset sales.
Industry observers note that the electronics maker is also mulling over a new plan that will see other electronics businesses, besides the skyrocketing smartphone sector, increase their output for more balanced growth.
Lee returned Saturday via Gimpo International at around 4 p.m. but made no direct comment relating to his trip to waiting reporters.
He left on Oct. 3rd for Japan before traveling to Hanoi, Vietnam on the 12th, meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai to discuss future cooperation between Samsung and the country. He inspected the company office in the Southeast Asian capital the following day, with the key concern being the handset business.
He was accompanied in Vietnam by head of Samsung’s Corporate Strategy Office Choi Gee-sung, mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun and his son and Chief Operating Officer Lee Jay-yong.
The country has been increasingly important for Samsung Electronics as it controls over 40 percent market share in phones and is also building a research and development center there.
Lee then flew to Shanghai, China, on the 15th to inspect production lines for the electronics manufacturer’s component business, televisions and other home appliances as well as having sit-downs with company executives there.
He returned to Japan the following day to meet with key industry officials there and stayed there a further two weeks.
The chairman has been vocal about his concerns about the global economic crisis, saying it is “worst than I thought” after his tour of Europe in May and asking executives to stay sharp.
Some key issues for him will be to continue implementing crisis management, appointing the right people in key posts as well as boosting global power of non-electronic businesses the firm has been pushing in recent years such as pharmaceuticals.
Besides Samsung Electronics, the flagship company of Samsung Group, other affiliated companies under the conglomerate’s wing are yet to make an impact abroad.
Korea is heavily dependent on exports but has seen its growth stall recently due to low demand, especially in Europe, and domestic companies, including Samsung Electronics, have been eyeing rising Asian markets.