Yongsan electronics market turning into mecca of ‘creative economy’
Samsung to unveil Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus on August 13
Gov’t looking to nurture 5,500 software experts in colleges
S. Korea per capita GNI expected to fall
Daegu and South Cholla see biggest land price rises
Galaxy Tab S2 to hit market next week at lower price
TOP STORY WKF 2015: ‘Mapping the Zeitgeist’ in turbulent era By knowledge department
This year is the 16th anniversary of the World Knowledge Forum (WKF) cementing its status as Asia’s biggest and premier business forum. This year’s forum is to be held under the theme of the ‘Mapping the Zeitgeist’ for three days from October 20 to 22.
The world has entered a whole new era that is inexplicable within the existing framework of all fields including politics, economy, society and geopolitics. Uncertainties are rising over the global economy - the aftershocks of the impending US interest rate hike, eurozone instability and jitters about a hard landing of the Chinese economy. In addition, geopolitical conflicts are intensifying on Japan’s neoconservatism, the G2 (the Group of Two - the US and China) competition for global hegemony, Russia dreaming of the resurrection of the Soviet Union and the power expansion of the Islamic State.
The South Korean economy has been shrinking, with social costs triggered by youth unemployment and inter-class conflicts on the rise. It is also worrisome that the political leadership has been weakening at a time when the nation should prepare for unification of the Korean peninsula. A new zeitgeist is needed to weather the global turbulent times. As such, the Maekyung Media Group has prepared for the premier knowledge feast, with participants of global leaders who would offer insight and wisdom, with the theme of Mapping the Zeitgeist.
Among the 200 global speakers are Timothy Geithner, former US Secretary of the Treasury, Theo Waigel, who served as finance minister for nine years before and after the unification of Germany, Leon Panetta, former US Secretary of Defense who served as White House Chief of Staff and head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga, Carl Bildt, former Swedish premier, Esko Aho, former Finnish premier, Nouriel Roubini, a New York University professor, Paul Kennedy, a Yale University professor, and Hu Angang, a Tsinghua University professor.
Eyes are on whether Elliot will sell Samsung C&T stake By Kang Doo-soon, Han Woo-ram, Kang Bong-jin
The US hedge fund Elliot Associates, which had accumulated shareholdings of Samsung C&T to oppose the proposed merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries, is now authorized to dispose of Samsung C&T shares. All eyes are on the possibility of Elliot dumping its plentiful Samsung C&T shares in the market. According to investment banks on Monday, the hedge fund has recently returned a real shareholder certificate that was issued for the company to access a shareholders’ list of Samsung C&T.
As Elliot returned the certificate, it cannot require the shareholders’ list to Samsung C&T unless it issues a real shareholder certificate again. Instead, as the restriction on the disposal of Samsung C&T stocks owned by Elliot is lifted, the hedge fund is allowed to sell the shares whenever it wants.
Now, it is noteworthy to find out why Elliot returned the certificate. An official familiar with Elliot matters said, “the company might have returned the certificate because having it does not give a practical benefit to the company but it might have considered the fact that it could trade in stocks once it returns the certificate.”
An official from the investment bank industry said, “Elliot has concluded that it would be difficult to attack management rights in the form of shareholders proposals because of the approval of the merger, adding, “it cannot be ruled out that Elliot may sell the stake of Samsung C&T.”
NPS bets on Italy infrastructure fund By Chae Jong-won
South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) invested in Italy-based infrastructure fund valued at €1.2 billion (1.6 trillion won or $1.3 billion).
This marks the first time that the national pension fund made a direct investment in a European state’s fund.
According to investment bank sources on Tuesday, the NPS, as a major investor, joined the 1.6 trillion won of fund created by Italy’s F2i SGR. Founded in 2007, the F2i is among the top asset management firms in Italy’s infrastructure fund field. So far, its investment focus was on social overhead capital (SOC) including Italy’s airports, telecommunication service, renewable energy and gas sectors.
The latest infrastructure fund which completed fundraising on June 26 received 40 percent of the total infrastructure fund or €500 million (644 billion won) from overseas investors. Aside from NPS, other main investors in the fund are China’s sovereign fund China Investment Corporation (CIC), BNP Paribas and Electricite de France (EDF). Reportedly, NPS financed around €120 million for the fund.
NPS selected the Italy-based infrastructure fund as its new investment, as Italy is an OECD member with market stability, but has a relatively outdated SOC.
Considering the Italian government is expected to move forward with integration of firms in the SOC sector for improvement in infrastructure environment, Korea’s pension fund is forecast to reap solid returns from the latest investment in the infrastructure fund.
Analysts bearish on KOSDAQ By Sohn Dong-woo
South Korea’s junior bourse KOSDAQ retreated Monday as the weakening won sparked the exodus of foreign investors from the local market and bio and pharmaceutical shares listed on the US’s Nasdaq market suffered a sizable correction.
The KOSDAQ index on Monday finished at 751.01 from the previous close, down 25.22 points or 3.25 percent. After opening the session at 773.37, the index saw sharper declines as it neared closing hours.
The decline was led by bio shares, which recently acted as propellers of the market. Most of the top-ranked bio shares by market cap posted losses including Celltrion with a 3.3 percent decline, Medytox 5.9 percent, Viromed 7.6 percent and Seegene 12.0 percent.
The fall was also driven by game shares including Com2Us with a 6.4 percent decline and Gamevil a 5.1 percent decline. This is because tech-shares on the Nasdaq pulled back sharply, chilling investor sentiment.
The Nasdaq on July 24 (local time) retreated 1.12 percent with largely because bio shares including Biogen, Biotech Index and Gilead Sciences plunged. The US financial investment industry worries that the interest rate hike, if happened, would bring significant volatility to bio shares subject to valuation.
However, there are more factors that could cause the tech-laden stock market to undergo a correction, experts suggested. This is because at a time when the US interest rate hike is more likely, foreign investors are showing signs of withdrawing funds from the local stock markets on concerns over the won’s slide.
South Cholla Province and Daegu led the growth of nationwide land prices in the first half this year, showed data.
Both of the regions enjoyed higher rises in land prices than others thanks to the designation of innovative cities by the government. The nationwide land prices rose 1.07 percent in the first half this year, edging up for 56 consecutive months since November in 2010, said the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport based on the data on real transaction prices on Monday.
Nationwide land prices contracted as much as 2.93 percent in the latter half of 2008 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, but have been on a recovery path - rising over one percent in the first half this year, it said.
Land prices grew at the fastest clip in the first half unseen since 1.82 percent tallied in the second half of 2009. Notably, South Jolla and Daegu land prices far exceeded the nationwide average. Naju and Gurye in South Jolla saw the largest and second largest increases of 3.2 percent and 3.01 percent, each.
A ministry official noted, “land prices in Naju significantly went up as the demand for real estate in the innovative citiy, commercial areas adjacent to Naju Station and residential areas expanded.” He added, “in Gurye, the booming rural housing development drove up its land prices.”
Land prices of Dalsung and Donggu in Daegu jumped 2.06 percent and 2.01 percent, each, recording fourth and fifth highest in land price growth.
S. Korea per capita GNI expected to fall By Noh Young-woo, Na Hyun-joon
With the South Korean economy faltering, its per capita gross national income would decrease in six years since 2009, according to an analysis. As such, it is feared that the nation might miss the GNI per capita target of $40,000, as was pledged by the Park Geun-hye administration during the election campaign.
The LG Economic Research Institute on Monday put Korea’s GNI per capita at $27,600 for this year, down $580 from last year. The think tank assumed that the estimate of real economic growth rate for this year is 2.6 percent when it calculated GNI. It also assumed that the growth rate of GDP deflator, index of inflation rate, is 0.5 percent while the average won-dollar exchange rate is 1,109 won per year.
According to the Bank of Korea, the nation’s per capita GNI would reach $28,180 in 2014. Its national income decreased sharply in the wake of the financial crisis in 2009 but, since then, it has been on the rise. The Park Geun-hye administration set an ambitious goal of achieving $40,000 in per capita GNI during her term of office. With low growth persisting and MERS hitting the economy, however, the economic growth has slowed over time to drive down per capita GNI.
Most of the think tanks, as well as the LG Economic Research Institute, forecast that the nation’s per capita GNI would turn downward this year compared to last year.
Galaxy Tab S2 to hit market next week at lower price By Ahn Jeong-hoon, Chu Dong-hoon
Samsung Electronics on August 4 is set to release its next flagship tablet, Galaxy Tab S priced at around 600,000 won ($512), less expensive than last year.
This is in line with the strategy to keep its dominant position through price competitiveness as the last week’s price cut of the Galaxy S6 led to soaring sales. Samsung is also set to roll out its new smartphone and tablet PC in August, elevating expectations over recovery of sales in the wireless division for the third quarter.
According to industry sources on Monday, the ex-factory price of the 9.7-inch Galaxy Tab S2 was set at 699,000 won and the8-inch model at 599,000 won.
Given the estimated 10,000 won subsidy for the tablet, the 9.7-inch Galaxy Tab S2 will be available at around 500,000 won for consumers.
The 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S released last year commanded an ex-factory price of 799,000 won. The latest Tab S2 is similar to the previous model in basic specification including the size of screen and memory, but 0.9 mm thinner and 70g lighter. The soon-to-be-released tablet is thinner and lighter than its rival iPad Air2 which is 6.1mm thin and 465g.
It is the upgraded version which is the thinnest and lightest tablet of its size ever, featuring the best specifications including 3GB, octo-core processor. However, its ex-factory price is 100,000 won cheaper than the Galaxy Tab S last year.
LG to release budget flip-style smartphone LG Gentle By Chu Dong-hoon
LG Electronics on Monday announced that it will roll out LG Gentle, a budget flip-style smartphone priced at the 200,000 won ($171) level, through LG Uplus.
LG Gentle is a smartphone that allows users to use mobile apps including Kakao Talk at an inexpensive price. It is LG Electronics’ third flip-style smartphone. The handheld and palm-sized smartphone with a gently curved design makes users feel comfortable. The phone sports larger key pad buttons for the elderly to easily enter text messages.
Also, it comes with dedicated buttons for address book, text massage and camera for convenient uses. In addition, it features the Q button for frequently used apps.
Users could also use the phone by touching a 3.2 inch display instead of pressing buttons.
The phone makes the most of flip-style smartphones with a ‘simple setting’ feature, which allows users to set their phone easily and quickly. It runs on the Android operating system and is equipped with a 3-megapixel camera on the back.
Samsung to unveil Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus on August 13 By Ahn Jeong-hoon, Chu Dong-hoon
Samsung Electronics will announce the new Galaxy series in Lincoln Center, New York City on August 13, adding the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus to its lineup.
The company Tuesday unveiled an official invitation to Galaxy Unpack 2015 on its blog Samsung Tomorrow. The Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus will be initially launched in North America and Korea on August 21 and in China and elsewhere around October.
The invitation letter contains a graphic to suggest the edge screen of the Galaxy smartphone, hinting at the Galaxy Note 5’s edged back designed to improve grip.
Both the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and the Galaxy S6 Edge will have a two-sided edge screen and their basic specifications are the same: 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, 4GB of memory capacity that determines smartphone’s driving speed. Integrated battery and wireless charging will also be introduced. The S Pen for writing will be available on the Galaxy Note 5.
It marks the first time that Samsung Electronics will launch the note series and Series concurrently.
Samsung will also differentiate model colors for each country. The two models will come up with four colors - Black, gold, white and silver.
Crystal gains on massive licensing contract with Dong-A ST By Kim Jan-dee
Biopharmaceutical startup Crystal advanced Tuesday morning after news that the KOSDAQ-listed company inked a massive contract with Dong-A ST for the development and commercialization of its investigational arthritis drug.
At 9:48 a.m., Crystal gained 4.41 percent to trade at 15,400 won after hitting more than 9 percent.
Crustal said it signed an 8.5 billion won ($7.28 million) exclusive contract to license out Acelex to Dong-A ST. The contract value represents 187.4 percent of Crystal’s latest revenue.
The 8.5 billion won payment is only for upfront payment and milestone payments will be paid depending on future sales.
Samsung Electro-Mechanics Q2 operating profit doubles By MK Staff
Samsung Electro-Mechanics announced Tuesday its second-quarter operating profit came to 80.4 billion won ($68.9 million) on a consolidated basis. That’s a more than 100 percent rise from a year ago.
But sales fell 4.1 percent to 1.69 trillion won and net profit slid nearly 80 percent to 36.6 billion won.
The company said sales declined due to a slow growth in the global market of PC and TV products, but its resource efficiency and cost saving efforts led to improvement in operating profit.
Lotte Group units gain after group founder dismissed By Kim Jan-dee
Shares in Lotte Group affiliates closed slightly up Tuesday on news the group founder was dismissed from the post of board member at Japan-based Lotte Holdings.
Lotte Confectionery, which caught attention regarding the group’s management succession, gained 2.16 percent to 1,892,000 won.
The company is owned by Lotte Group founder and general chairman Shin Kyuk-ho (6.83 percent), Chairman Shin Dong-bin (5.34 percent), former Vice Chairman Shin Dong-joo (3.96 percent) and Lotte Shopping President Shin Young-ja (2.52 percent).
Lotte Shopping was up 1.78 percent to 229,000 won.
Lotte Chilsung and Lotte Food remained unchanged.
Korea Aerospace Industries’ target price raised By Yoon Ho
Kyobo Securities said Tuesday it has raised a target price on Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) from 72,000 won to 110,000 won, citing the defense company will post record earnings in the second half of this year. The brokerage also maintained a ‘Buy’ rating.
KAI’s second-quarter sales and operating profit came to 679 billion won and 77.2 billion won, up 13.4 percent and 67.1 percent, respectively from a year ago. The increase was driven by upbeat sales from its T-50 trainer jets and fuselage parts, said Lee Kang-rok, an analyst at Kyobo Securities.
KAI’s backlogs reached 11.4 trillion won at the end of June but the figure will grow to more than 18 trillion won at the end of the year, the analyst forecast..
NH Investment lowers EPS guidance on SKC Kolon PI By Kim Jan-dee
NH Investment and Securities Tuesday lowered its EPS guidance on SKC Kolon PI for this and next year, citing second-quarter earnings missed expectations. It also cut a target price from 17,300 won to 15,300 won.
But the stock broker maintained a ‘Buy’ rating, saying the release of new smartphones will benefit the electronic material supplier, helping its earnings recover from the third quarter.
SKC Kolon PI’s Q2 operating profit came to 4.08 billion won, down 58.8 percent from a year ago.
Green Cross posts healthy growth in Q2 By Kim Jan-dee
Green Cross said Tuesday its second-quarter consolidated operating profit came to 30.2 billion won ($25.89 million), up 55.3 percent from the same period a year ago.
Sales grew 13.9 percent to 268.4 billion won and net profit jumped 117.5 percent to 29.5 billion won.
Strong exports and evenly spread growth in domestic business led to the favorable results, the company said.
Hanmi Pharm to license out cancer drug to Boehringer Ingelheim By Kim Jan-dee
Hanmi Pharm said Tuesday it has signed a contract with Boehringer Ingelheim to license out its investigational drug HM61713 to treat lung cancer patients who are resistant to cancer drugs.
HM61713 is an EGFR inhibitor selective for mutated EGFR involved in cancer cell growth.
Hanmi Pharm will receive an upfront payment of $50 million and is eligible to receive additional milestone payments of $680 million upon the successful completion of certain clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones in addition to royalties.
Gov’t looking to nurture 5,500 software experts in colleges By Seo Chan-dong
The South Korean government has decided to overhaul software education courses in colleges by 2019, with a goal of fostering global professional manpower needed in industrial fields.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning on Tuesday announced the plan to promote software-oriented colleges and embarked on the procedure to select colleges. The plan centers on revamping the existing software education courses in a way to reflect the demand from industrial fields.
Most of all, the ministry would select two additional colleges, on top of the existing six software-focused colleges, within the year. It also plans to choose a total of 20 software-focused colleges by 2019 to raise 5,500 software experts. If software integrated talents with knowledge on different fields and software are added, the number of talents would come to 55,000.
An official of the ministry said, “when selecting software-focused colleges, we would focus the assessment on efforts to innovatively reform education systems including creating new majors and merging and abolishing similar majors.” Software-focused colleges would receive an average of two billion won ($1.7 million) in subsidy per year for up to six years.
Besides, the government would encourage colleges and companies to work together to develop education courses for ‘problem-solving’ and operate them. The government would also mandate students majoring in software to participate in projects for cooperation between colleges and industries. Also, companies would support student to have business experience through long-term internship programs and beef up open source software and practical English educations.
Yongsan electronics market turning into mecca of ‘creative economy’ By Ahn Gap-sung
South Korea’s Yongsan electronics market is undergoing an all-out transformation into a new place.
The market is now attempting to bring back its glory days when it was a vibrant, biggest market in Korea for IT products. It is switching focus to the Internet of Things (IoT), drone, robot and start-ups.
The market was filled with vacant stores as the IT technological advancement ironically led to a plunge in offline sales. However, the area is now full of youthful energy as start-ups, the main propeller of creative economy, are moving in.
Merchants’ consultative committee abandoned its retail and wholesale-focused strategy just for for survival. It is seeking a drastic transformation into the ‘IT cultural resort’ which incorporates development, exhibition and distribution of advanced technology.
A sense of transformation can be best felt in the 15th building of Yongsang electronics market, the so-called ‘Doggaebi Market.’
This building remained empty only with store relocation and withdrawal notices. They have been reborn as the cradle of start-ups as the start-up accelerator ‘N15’ had IT-relevant start-ups moved in the building including drone, 3D printer and augumented reality firms.
Ryu Seon-jong, a co-founder of N15, said, “linking this with cooking, Yongsan market is the best place where fresh materials (parts) are available.” He added, “for example, several hundreds of sensors are necessary for the IoT business to operate and if you visit part stores in the Yongsan electronics market, it will offer the fastest and most convenient way to obtain what you need.”
Outdoor concert hall to be built on Seoul Plaza By Jeon Ji-hyun
A permanent outdoor concert hall for about 100 performers will be built on Seoul Plaza next year.
Kumho Asiana Group Chairman Park Sam Koo who doubles as head of Korea Mesenat Association said Tuesday officials at Seoul Metropolitan Government are working on the establishment of a permanent concert hall at his proposal to Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon. “Seoul Plaza should be rebranded as a cultural space and be returned to citizens. We make it one of tourist attractions,” the chairman said.
A ranking official of Seoul Metropolitan Government confirmed the mayor’s consent to the chairman’s proposal and it is actively seeking to build an outdoor concert hall.
According to a basic plan, the concert hall will be built on a site of 13,000 square meters with a dressing room and a waiting room on the underground floor, and a large stage to deliver classic, K-pop and other cultural performances and 10,000 folding chairs above the ground. The stage will face the Seoul Anglican Cathedral building. The city’s estimated budget will be at least 3 billion won ($2.57 million).
Chairman Park said, “Not only the mayor but the culture minister and the chairman of Presidential Committee for Cultural Enrichment agreed to my idea. The private sector will make up if the government budget is insufficient.”
Once completed, the outdoor concert hall is expected to contribute much to revitalizing the tourism industry. Major tourist attractions like Myungdong, historic palaces and Insa-dong are located within just 1 kilometer.
[Press Release]First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong Meets with his Russian Counterpart Titov(July 28, 2015)[Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
[Press ReleaseGovernment Announces Comprehensive Measures for Youth Employment(July 27, 2015) [Source: Ministry of Strategy and Finance]
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