The Korea News Plus https://newsarticleinsiders.com We offer insider info on Korea. We focus on biz and tech news. Thu, 29 Jul 2021 00:39:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.18 https://i0.wp.com/newsarticleinsiders.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-korea-news-plus_type1-1-1.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 The Korea News Plus https://newsarticleinsiders.com 32 32 159813972 COVID-19 changes the face of politics https://newsarticleinsiders.com/covid-19-changes-the-face-of-politics https://newsarticleinsiders.com/covid-19-changes-the-face-of-politics#respond Thu, 29 Jul 2021 00:20:52 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16145 South Korean politicians brace for metaverse South Korean politicians are trying to find a new opportunity in metaverse, a collective virtual shared space, to reach voters in the run-up to the presidential election early next year. The ruling Democratic Party of Korea announced this week that it will communicate with people at a metaverse platform […]

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South Korean politicians brace for metaverse

South Korean politicians are trying to find a new opportunity in metaverse, a collective virtual shared space, to reach voters in the run-up to the presidential election early next year.

The ruling Democratic Party of Korea announced this week that it will communicate with people at a metaverse platform “Metapolis,” built by real estate application Jikbang.

On top of the interest in metaverse, the country’s failure to contain COVID-19 seems to have affected the decision.

As the country’s daily tally of new virus infections reached record highs this month, Seoul restricted social gatherings of more than two people after 6 p.m, causing troubles for presidential hopefuls.

“As candidates can meet their supporters in a virtual world, they will feel quite comfortable,” Rep. Kang Hoon-sik of the Democratic Party said. “The competition will be less heated, and policies will come to the fore.”

The Democratic Party leased a total of seven floors at a Metapolis building. One floor is for the party’s control room, while the other six are for each of the six presidential candidates.

Each floor can house 300 people at the same time and is equipped with a conference room where 16 people can join.

The party’s candidates also take advantage of another metaverse platform, called “Zepeto” made by internet company Naver, to present their election promises and have virtual town hall meetings.

Candidates from other parties, including Won Hee-ryong of the main opposition People’s Power Party, also embraces Zepeto. He is a former governor of Jeju Province.

This year is not the first time for politicians to resort to metaverse composed of the prefix “meta,” which means beyond, and the stem “verse,” which alludes to the universe.

For example, Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, entered “Second Life” as part of their campaigns for the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

Launched in 2003 by Linden Lab, Second Life is an online virtual world with its own currency called the Liden Dollar. It is regarded as an early version of an immersive Metaverse.

Last year, incumbent U.S. President Joe Biden also ran his head office in “Animal Crossing,” a life-simulation video game for Nintendo Switch, for his election campaign.

“I am not sure how many young people would listen to the voices of politicians at metaverse platforms,” Prof. Shin Yul at Myongji University said.

“I think they just try to put on an image of hip and trendy. In fact, they have few other options to reach voters at a time when face-to-face meetings are strictly banned.”

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Homeplus holds award ceremony for eco-friendly event https://newsarticleinsiders.com/homeplus-holds-award-ceremony-for-eco-friendly-event https://newsarticleinsiders.com/homeplus-holds-award-ceremony-for-eco-friendly-event#respond Tue, 27 Jul 2021 06:39:43 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16138 Korea’s first-tier hypermarket chain offers education for children Homeplus, South Korea’s top-tier hypermarket chain, announced on July 25 that the outfit held a non-face-to-face award ceremony for its eco-friendly drawing competition for children. Homeplus eParan Foundation and the Korean unit of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) held the competition along with Homeplus to give […]

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Korea’s first-tier hypermarket chain offers education for children

Homeplus, South Korea’s top-tier hypermarket chain, announced on July 25 that the outfit held a non-face-to-face award ceremony for its eco-friendly drawing competition for children.

Homeplus eParan Foundation and the Korean unit of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) held the competition along with Homeplus to give prizes to more than 400 pictures.

Kim Joo-hwa from Busan and So Hee-seop from Jeonju won the top prizes with their pictures about budding plants in waste-free land and a trip aboard a seagull to a clean place.

“I hope more and more children will think about the environment through the eParan event,” Kim said.

The ceremony was broadcast on the YouTube channel of the UNEP Korean affiliate.

The drawing competition, which continued from April 29 to May 31, drew an upside of 11,200 elementary school students who presented their pieces through the dedicated website.

A total of 10,000 participants received an eco-friendly kit on a first-come-first-served basis. The kit with three sorts of seeds is designed to make children plant and grow on their own so that they can feel the significance of protecting the environment.

On top of that, Homeplus has offered environmental education to young pupils through programs at the culture center of the Seoul-based retailer’s hypermarkets across the country.

“I am glad and appreciate because we could join a special ceremony thanks to social distancing,” Homeplus CEO Lee Jae-hoon said. “I hope that our children gather their good intentions to make the earth healthier.”

Since 2000, Homeplus has organized the eParan event every year.

And this year’s award ceremony took place online because of the virus pandemic _ Seoul restricts any meetings of more than two people after 6 p.m.

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Korean red ginseng: immunity booster https://newsarticleinsiders.com/korean-red-ginseng-immunity-booster https://newsarticleinsiders.com/korean-red-ginseng-immunity-booster#respond Mon, 26 Jul 2021 23:32:02 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16134 Virus pandemic highlights positive effects of ginseng The virus pandemic has changed the world once and for all. And not all the changes are negative _ more and more people are caring about their health and safety. Against this backdrop, the positive effects of health products and wholesome food have been highlighted by people across […]

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Virus pandemic highlights positive effects of ginseng

The virus pandemic has changed the world once and for all. And not all the changes are negative _ more and more people are caring about their health and safety.

Against this backdrop, the positive effects of health products and wholesome food have been highlighted by people across the world since COVID-19 caused jitters from early 2020.

One of the beneficiaries of the trend is Korean red ginseng, which has a moniker of “immunity booster” because of its roles of enhancing resistance to disease or microbial attacks.

And the results are tangible _ the Korea Ginseng Corporation (KGC) announced on July 27 that its sales of red ginseng products have jumped over the past year both at home and abroad.

“After the outbreak of COVID-19, a mounting number of Koreans snap up red ginseng products to care for their health and strengthen their immune system,” a KGC official said.

“Korean red ginseng is also shipped to many countries, including the United States, China, Japan, and Europe, to contribute to the health of citizens across the globe.”

In fact, the benefits of Korean red ginseng products have been recognized by the authorities and academia.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety officially acknowledged its health functionality, and the Korean government has presented red ginseng products to foreign leaders like Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom.

Prof. Cho Jae-young at Sungkyunkwan University founded out that Korean red ginseng helps activate macrophages, which counter virus attack and kill cancerous cells.

Prof. Cho Young-keol at University of Ulsan College of Medicine discovered that long-term intake of red ginseng enables AIDS patients to stay health and survive longer.

Ginseng gets better with age and six years is regarded the best in terms of the amount of such healthful components as saponins. The KGC has also focused on six-year-grown red ginseng products.

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KFCC introduces ‘paperless branches’ https://newsarticleinsiders.com/kfcc-introduces-paperless-branches https://newsarticleinsiders.com/kfcc-introduces-paperless-branches#respond Mon, 26 Jul 2021 07:45:41 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16127 Apex organization tests-run digital banking services The Korean Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives (KFCC) announced on July 26 that the outfit would start to test-run two “paperless branches” in Seoul this week. The foremost apex organization for Korea’s cooperative banking sector said that based on the pilot run, the “digital branches” will be adopted across […]

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Apex organization tests-run digital banking services

The Korean Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives (KFCC) announced on July 26 that the outfit would start to test-run two “paperless branches” in Seoul this week.

The foremost apex organization for Korea’s cooperative banking sector said that based on the pilot run, the “digital branches” will be adopted across the country.

At the digital branches, all procedures will be carried out through touch-sensitive monitors instead of paper documents. The KFCC said the digital interface is designed to be intuitive so that users can easily take advantage of them.

More than 100 banking tasks will be conducted at the new-concept branches, including cash deposit & withdrawal, opening new accounts, consultation of loans, application of electronic financial services, and issue of check cards.

On top of that, the KFCC is scheduled to launch “tablet-based branches” next month _ its officials will visit customers to provides tailor-made financial services.

“By embracing paperless environments at our branches, we will do away with the inconvenience of dealing with paper documents as well as take part in the ESG management,” KFCC Chairman Park Cha-hoon said.

Short for Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance, ESG refers to the three central factors in measuring the sustainability of a company or business.

Over the past few years, ESG has emerged as a significant managerial value across the world.

Spearheaded by Chairman Park, the KFCC has also stressed the significance of the ESG management.

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CJ OliveNetworks taps into NFT market https://newsarticleinsiders.com/cj-olivenetworks-taps-into-nft-market https://newsarticleinsiders.com/cj-olivenetworks-taps-into-nft-market#respond Mon, 26 Jul 2021 01:28:20 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16119 Korean system integrator joins hands with Lambda 256 CJ OliveNetworks has teamed up with Lambda 256, an affiliate of Dunamu that operates cryptocurrency exchange Upbit, to make an inroad into the NFT market. Toward that end, the Seoul-based system integrator announced on July 26 that it had signed a strategic agreement with Lambda 256 through […]

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Korean system integrator joins hands with Lambda 256

CJ OliveNetworks has teamed up with Lambda 256, an affiliate of Dunamu that operates cryptocurrency exchange Upbit, to make an inroad into the NFT market.

Toward that end, the Seoul-based system integrator announced on July 26 that it had signed a strategic agreement with Lambda 256 through non-face-to-face meetings.

Short for the non-fungible token, NFT has gained traction across the world. In particular, it caught the attention after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first tweet as an NFT sold at almost $3 million.

Recently, such segments as digital art, sports, game, and YouTube have adopted the technology in an effort to represent ownership rights of unique items.

Under the bilateral partnership, the two outfits will collaborate in the NFT business both at home and abroad, NFT service, and media technologies in the NFT platform.

CJ OliveNetworks has tested-and-tried media technologies, dubbed DT, while Lambda 256 has expertise in blockchain-based NFT service platforms and global networks.

The two outfits will offer custody services for digital assets to enable reliable and convenient transactions between owners of unique items and their potential purchasers.

They will also make a foray into the intellectual property market.

“This agreement is our first NFT-related collaboration with a large-sized company. We will put forth efforts to showcase the outstanding DT technologies of CJ OliveNetworks locally and globally,” Lambda 256 CEO Jay Park said.

CJ OliveNetworks CEO Cha In-hyok also expressed his hope on two-way cooperation.

“We are glad to join forces with Lambda 256, which has strengths in blockchain technology and NFT business. Based on this partnership, we expect a big synergy effect by ensuring competitiveness in the NFT platform business,” he said.

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Korean firms log record profits in 2021 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/korean-firms-log-record-profits-in-2021 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/korean-firms-log-record-profits-in-2021#respond Sat, 24 Jul 2021 05:01:19 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16112 KB, Woori, Hana, POSCO, LG record stellar bottom lines A flurry of South Korean companies chalked up record profits during the first half of this year, including KB, Hana, Woori, LG Household & Health Care, and POSCO. KB Financial Group, the country’s largest banking group, logged a net profit of 2.49 trillion won ($2.15 billion) […]

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KB, Woori, Hana, POSCO, LG record stellar bottom lines

A flurry of South Korean companies chalked up record profits during the first half of this year, including KB, Hana, Woori, LG Household & Health Care, and POSCO.

KB Financial Group, the country’s largest banking group, logged a net profit of 2.49 trillion won ($2.15 billion) during the first six months of this year, up 44.6 percent from a year ago.

KB’s smaller rivals Hana and Woori netted 1.75 trillion won and 1.42 trillion during the January-July period, respectively. Both are record performances.

On top of the above-mentioned banking groups, domestic manufacturers also fared well in 2021 despite the lingering virus pandemic, as amply demonstrated by POSCO and LG Household & Health Care.

The former’s half-year bottom line topped 3.6 trillion won, while that of the latter was 485 billion won. POSCO is Korea’s largest steelmaker, and LG Household & Health Care is the country’s leading lifestyle company.

Hyundai Motor saw its first-half net profit more than triple to approach 2 trillion won year-on-year.

Korea’s other representative corporations, including tech giant Samsung Electronics and its cross-city rival LG Electronics, also recorded solid performances this year.

Watchers point out that the good performances would continue for the time being.

“Although some businesses are still languishing due to the virus infection, exporters are doing really well after the vaccination rates rise in major foreign countries. The brisk exports are expected to continue through next year,” Leaders Index CEO Park Ju-gun said.

“In the case of financial companies, they put lots of loan-loss provisions last year at the peak of the pandemic. Some of them were recognized as profits this year,” he said.

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Kakao Bank breaks IPO record https://newsarticleinsiders.com/kakao-bank-breaks-ipo-record https://newsarticleinsiders.com/kakao-bank-breaks-ipo-record#respond Fri, 23 Jul 2021 01:33:39 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16105 Korean internet-only bank will go public early August South Korea’s largest digital lender Kakao Bank shattered the record for initial public offering in terms of demand by attracting funds bigger than the country’s yearly outputs. Kakao Bank received 2,585 trillion won ($2.3 trillion) of deposits from almost 2,000 institutional investors on July 21 and 22, […]

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Korean internet-only bank will go public early August

South Korea’s largest digital lender Kakao Bank shattered the record for initial public offering in terms of demand by attracting funds bigger than the country’s yearly outputs.

Kakao Bank received 2,585 trillion won ($2.3 trillion) of deposits from almost 2,000 institutional investors on July 21 and 22, according to its IPO advisors, including KB Investment & Securities.

The figure breaks a three-month-old record set by SK IE Technology, Korea’s battery material manufacturer affiliated with SK Innovation, which drew 2,417 trillion won deposits in April.

Thanks to the high demand, Kakao Bank’s IPO price is expected to be 39,000 won ($34) _ the internet-only lender presented a price range between 33,000 won and 39,000 won.

It plans to sell about 65 million shares in the Aug. 6 IPO to raise around 2.5 trillion won ($2.2 billion).

Then, its initial market capitalization would be some 18.5 trillion won, comparable to the country’s largest banking groups of KB and Shinhan. Their market capitalizations are 21 trillion won and 19.4 trillion won, respectively.

Kakao Bank is a subsidiary of Kakao, which has a broad user base thanks to its KakaoTalk instant messaging service. Young customers take advantage of Kakao Bank thanks to its convenience.

During a recent press meeting, Its CEO Yun Ho-young said that almost 40 percent of those aged between 14 and 19 use Kakao Bank services, although the proportion is just 15 percent for citizens aged 50 or older.

“KB and Shinhan each operate almost 1,000 branches across. By contrast, Kakao Bank does not run a single offline branch. Still, its market valuation is comparable to those of traditional lenders,” Prof. Sung Tae-yoon at Yonsei University told UPI News Korea.

“This shows that a paradigm shift is underway. The trend is expected to speed up.”

Prof. Jung Yu-sin at Sogang University said that we need to wait and see.

“Kakao Bank has a unique business model, which is different from other digital lenders outside of the country. Hence, it does not have a benchmark to compare with,” Jung said.

“If young customers of Kakao Bank remain loyal to the service, its valuation is acceptable. But there is no guarantee of it.”

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Merck launches green solvents for chips https://newsarticleinsiders.com/merck-launches-green-solvents-for-chips https://newsarticleinsiders.com/merck-launches-green-solvents-for-chips#respond Fri, 23 Jul 2021 01:07:46 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16100 Tech giant comes up with high-performance solvents for photoresist removal The world wants more electronic devices for smartphones, gaming, home entertainment, and automotive applications, which leads to a growing demand for semiconductors. Along the same line, the chip industries require more efficient and eco-friendly components in such crucial procedures as selectively removing photoresist in wafers. […]

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Tech giant comes up with high-performance solvents for photoresist removal

The world wants more electronic devices for smartphones, gaming, home entertainment, and automotive applications, which leads to a growing demand for semiconductors.

Along the same line, the chip industries require more efficient and eco-friendly components in such crucial procedures as selectively removing photoresist in wafers.

Recognizing these requirements, Merck has launched a new line of complementary green solvents for use in photolithographic processes in rolling out semiconductors, according to the tech company on July 23.

Merck said the product, dubbed AZ® 910 Remover, is a new line of formulated chemistries designed for faster dissolution of photoresist patterns in a cost-effective way.

Merck expected the portfolio will make a huge impact in the semiconductor wet chemical market with its notable environmental footprint, simple usage in various tools, and solid resist-dissolution performance.

“Merck has developed an innovative, cost-effective solution to support our customers with their advanced cleaning needs integral to realizing next-generation chips,” Merck’s semiconductor material business head Anand Nambiar said.

“AZ® 910 Remover is capable of stripping the resist using less than three times the solvent volume, saving customers money, and reducing the environmental footprint of materials entering the global waste stream.”

Unlike traditional products in the market for photoresist removal, Merck said that its new product aims to make positive impacts on both the business and the planet.

The firm pointed out that existing items cannot meet the complicated requirements of the industry for high-performance, sustainable chemistries that consume fewer solvents.

“The unrivaled dissolving performance is a major advantage for customers looking to reduce product costs and improve production throughput,” Nambiar said.

“The product’s purely green chemistry dramatically improves the environmental footprint of each production facility, allowing customers to simplify their wet chemical processes.

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Merck Korea rolling out components for premium OLED devices https://newsarticleinsiders.com/merck-korea-rolling-out-components-for-premium-oled-devices https://newsarticleinsiders.com/merck-korea-rolling-out-components-for-premium-oled-devices#respond Thu, 22 Jul 2021 00:42:27 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16095 Tech giant starts mass production of hole transport materials Merck Korea announced on July 22 that the tech giant had started churning out hole transport materials (HTMs) at its new facility in Pyongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. The Seoul-based company said that common layers of OLED in premium displays will adopt its HTMs, which are essential to […]

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Tech giant starts mass production of hole transport materials

Merck Korea announced on July 22 that the tech giant had started churning out hole transport materials (HTMs) at its new facility in Pyongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.

The Seoul-based company said that common layers of OLED in premium displays will adopt its HTMs, which are essential to enhance the power conversion efficiency of panels.

Merck, which has been supplying HTMs for large OLED panels for LG Display, strives to expand its HTM mass production to mobile panels for the premium OLED smartphones, possibly for LG Display.

“South Korea is leading the global OLED market. Merck is investing substantial resources required to enable Korean panel markets to lead the OLED market,” Merck Korea Managing Director Kim Wookyu said.

“Since Merck opened the Korea OLED R&D center in 2011, the R&D facilities, manpower, and OLED production facility have been continuously reinforced to provide short-distance services to Korean panel makers and make it possible to respond quickly to the highest quality materials produced in Korea.”

He also noted that the expanded application of the material had laid the foundation for even closer cooperation with Korean OLED panel makers in the future.

The demand for premium OLED panels and their components has been on a sharp rise.

According to business tracker Display Supply Chain Consultants, the number of flexible OLED panels produced by LG Display for smartphones amounted to 31.7 million units in 2020 compared to a mere 9.7 million a year before.

The figure is projected to jump to more than 52 million units this year.

Merck has been a trailblazer in the OLED and organic materials businesses since the company tapped into the segments midway through the 2000s.

It announced the investment of an additional 25 billion won ($22 million) to build a next-generation OLED materials manufacturing facility at the Poseung National Industrial Complex in Pyeongtaek, some 65 kilometers south of Seoul.

The investment will enable a new modular production system so that OLED materials production will go up, which Merck says will contribute to the development and reliable supply of materials for cutting-edge display panels.

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FKCCI chief advises Korea to diversify trade partners https://newsarticleinsiders.com/fkcci-chief-advises-korea-to-diversify-trade-partners https://newsarticleinsiders.com/fkcci-chief-advises-korea-to-diversify-trade-partners#respond Tue, 20 Jul 2021 09:18:12 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16089 David-Pierre Jalicon shows strategy to survive the conflicts of G2 The trade-focused economy of South Korea may struggle due to the lingering conflicts between the United States and China, otherwise dubbed the G2. The dilemma is that Korea cannot unilaterally side with one because China is the country’s top trade partner while the U.S. is […]

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David-Pierre Jalicon shows strategy to survive the conflicts of G2

The trade-focused economy of South Korea may struggle due to the lingering conflicts between the United States and China, otherwise dubbed the G2.

The dilemma is that Korea cannot unilaterally side with one because China is the country’s top trade partner while the U.S. is its No. 2 partner.

Against this backdrop, French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) President David-Pierre Jalicon advised that the country should diversify its trade partners.

“Multilateral initiatives are especially important during an era dominated by the G2,” Jalicon said in a recent interview in time with the Bastille Day on July 14.

“Korea is highly dependent on China and the U.S. in both import and export, and due to ongoing geopolitical tensions, I think that it is in Korea’s best interest to diversify its trading partners with European countries in order to reduce dependence on the superpower.”

In 2019, trades between the two countries hit record highs; Korea shipped products worth $4.7 billion to France. The latter’s exports to the former amounted to $5.8 billion.

Jalicon also encouraged Korean companies to make more investments in France, which he says is full of advantages for exporters to Europe and Africa.

“France’s geographical location and quality infrastructure make it a strategic redistribution hub for exporting to Europe and Africa for many foreign companies,” he said.

“Commercial ports in the Mediterranean concentrate traffic flows between Europe, Mediterranean countries, North Africa, and the Middle East. Korean investors can benefit as well from France’s advanced infrastructure and human resources regarding innovation and R&D.”

He added that France is Africa’s largest European trade partner and a logistics hub that attracts foreign companies wishing to access the African market.

“Korean investments in France mainly concern information technology, communications, and property acquisition in the Parisian region, and there are 25 Korean conglomerates present in France,” he said.

See the full text at the Korea News Plus article on July 20. _ ED.

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[Full Text] Interview with FKCCI President https://newsarticleinsiders.com/full-text-interview-with-fkcci-president https://newsarticleinsiders.com/full-text-interview-with-fkcci-president#respond Tue, 20 Jul 2021 09:00:34 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16085 David-Pierre Jalicon invites Korean companies to France The Korea News Plus recently had an interview with French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) President David-Pierre Jalicon regarding France’s profile as the best investment hub for foreign companies, including Korean enterprises, on the occasion of recent Bastille Day on July 14. _ ED. Q: First of […]

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David-Pierre Jalicon invites Korean companies to France

The Korea News Plus recently had an interview with French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) President David-Pierre Jalicon regarding France’s profile as the best investment hub for foreign companies, including Korean enterprises, on the occasion of recent Bastille Day on July 14. _ ED.

Q: First of all, how is the significance of France in terms of its relative importance compared with other G7 nations after the G7 Summit held recently in the U.K. in tackling international issues such as climate change, G2 balancing, or France’s plans to heighten its voice in the framework of G7?

A: France has a significant influence in international affairs, notably in climate change. Macron’s “Make Our Planet Great Again” initiative at the start of 2017 reinforced international engagements of the Paris Agreement. Moreover, as a member of the G7 and G20, France will continue to play a key role in international relations.

France is a strong defendant of multilateralism. Therefore, during the G7 Summit in Cornwall, the French President stressed the importance of tackling major issues like climate change, world trade, and development policies collectively.

Multilateral initiatives are especially important during an era dominated by the G2. Korea is highly dependent on China and the U.S. in both import and export, and due to ongoing geopolitical tensions, I think that it is in Korea’s best interest to diversify its trading partners with European countries in order to reduce dependence on the superpower.

During a pull-aside meeting during the last G7 Summit, Presidents Macron and Moon discussed the importance of bolstering bilateral ties in areas such as technology, public health, and energy.

At the FKCCI, we strongly support such initiatives to increase French-Korean economic ties as we are helping on a daily basis French or Korean companies exploring market opportunities in France or Korea.

 

Q: In particular, how are French President Macron’s contributions to rebuild France’s image all over the world or his accomplishments since taking office?

A: At the World Economic Forum in 2018, shortly after he was elected, President Macron announced that “France is back.”

To increase foreign investments, the French government has initiated legislative reforms from 2017 notably one that reduced the corporate tax to 25 percent and provided more flexibility in the labor market.

With a more favorable environment for foreign investors, France is enhancing its attractiveness and competitiveness.

As a result, France is the top European destination for foreign investments for the second consecutive year as of 2020. Furthermore, the annual “Choose France” summit is the backbone of the government’s project to enhance France’s image all around the world.

 

Q: How are pandemic cooperation between the two nations and the prospect including France’s support to neighboring countries or underprivileged nations in terms of vaccine assistance, etc.?

A: France and Korea have converging visions with regards to what will solve the pandemic, which is vaccination. Thanks to the existing cooperation between the Pasteur Institute in France and its branch in Korea, both countries are working together in vaccine development research to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the long run, it will be necessary to foster new and more systemic partnerships in research to effectively respond to future viruses.

Both countries contribute to the Gavi COVAX initiative: France pledged EUR 350 million in new contributions and already sent quantities of vaccines to African partners and Maghreb (Tunisia), while Korea delivered 49 million doses to 85 countries and pledged new contributions of $200 million.

More generally, France and Korea share the same vision with regards to the health sector, as both believe it should be a global public good.

The bilateral cooperation is particularly shining in other countries, according to France’s Indo-Pacific strategy: a joint trial on Korean medicine, led by the Pasteur Institute in Korea and funded by the MEAE and the Korean Ministry of Science, is ongoing in Senegal, Mexico, and Russia.

Finally, a French Korean fund for joint health research projects will hopefully be launched in 2021, like the one on artificial intelligence established in 2019.

 

Q: How can be France ‘s location & its geographical logistics edge explained in terms of its investment advantage for Korean investors who are eager to penetrate into the EU market and further into the African market?

A: France’s geographical location and quality infrastructure make it a strategic redistribution hub for exporting to Europe and Africa for many foreign companies.

Commercial ports in the Mediterranean concentrate traffic flows between Europe, Mediterranean countries, North Africa, and the Middle East. Korean investors can benefit as well from France’s advanced infrastructure and human resources regarding innovation and R&D.

Moreover, France maintains a very strong commercial relationship with several African countries thanks to the “Francophonie,” which is promoted by the international organization of Francophonie regrouping French-speaking countries, and where South Korea is an observer member.

In fact, France is currently Africa’s largest European trade partner and is a logistical hub that attracts foreign companies wishing to access the African market.

For the reasons outlined, I think France is an excellent investment destination for Korean companies that wish to find business and export opportunities across Europe and Africa.

 

Q: How are FKCCI’s plans and strategies to enlarge its activities in order to accelerate industrial cooperation between Korea and France in the years to come?

A: First of all, FKCCI is actively extending its company membership network. We doubled the number of members from 200 in 2011 to 400 in April 2021, a record high in our history.

Therefore, the French-Korean business community has expanded steadily, and we witness several trends, which are increased numbers of startups and SMEs (25 percent of FKCCI members currently) and increasing numbers of Korean companies interested in the Korean market (40 percent of Korean FKCCI members currently).

On a daily basis, we help such companies to find business opportunities in France and Korea. Especially since the COVID-19 crisis, we give customized assistance to navigate uncertain economic conditions and alternative online solutions such as online market prospection missions or remote commercial representation services.

We are also strengthening our sector-based approach with the launch of new French-Korean sectoral committees that are high-level business meetings to create networking and business opportunities.

For example, in 2020, we launched the France-Korea health committee and a Fin-tech committee as new additions to our other committees on energy, agribusiness, luxury, and innovation previously launched in 2018.

In the future, we are working on both the above-mentioned approaches in addition to strengthening our ties with Korean institutions such as KOTRA or KIAT to reinforce economic cooperation between our two counties.

With the momentum of French and Korean New Deal economic recovery plans, we are trying to bridge French and Korean companies to get benefit from it through our connections with government organizations.

 

Q: How are the trade and industry investments between Korea and France in recent years, and what are its future prospects?

A: In recent years, France has consistently been an important trade partner for Korea and vice versa. In fact, the free trade agreement between the EU and Korea came into effect in 2011 and eased the conditions of access to the Korean and French markets, and celebrated its 10th anniversary on July 1.

In 2019, both French exports to Korea and Korean exports to France reached a record high of $5.8 billion and $4.7 billion, respectively.

Korea mainly exports manufactured goods, automobiles, petrochemical products, and batteries to France, whereas France exports mainly aeronautical goods, industrial machines and equipment, luxury products, and food items to Korea.

Korean investments in France mainly concern information technology, communications, and property acquisition in the Parisian region, and there are 25 Korean conglomerates present in France.

Moreover, France is one of the top foreign investors in Korea and ranked third among European countries with 5.2 million EUR of FDI stocks, particularly thanks to big groups such as Renault, Total, Thales, and French banks that invest heavily in Korea.

Some 250 French subsidiary companies present in Korea consist of a strong backbone for the future of this bilateral relationship. Indeed, they represent a gross income of 13.2 billion EUR and 25,000 employees.

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Cote d’Ivoire amb. hopes to double trades with Korea https://newsarticleinsiders.com/cote-divoire-amb-hopes-to-double-trades-with-korea https://newsarticleinsiders.com/cote-divoire-amb-hopes-to-double-trades-with-korea#respond Tue, 20 Jul 2021 06:39:43 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16081 H.E. Sylvestre Kouassi Bile invites Korean firms to the Ivorian country Sylvestre Kouassi Bile, Cote D’Ivoire ambassador to the Republic of Korea, hoped that the two countries will double the bilateral trade volume in years to come. He made the remarks in a recent interview ahead of Cote d’Ivoire’s Republic Day, which falls on August […]

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H.E. Sylvestre Kouassi Bile invites Korean firms to the Ivorian country

Sylvestre Kouassi Bile, Cote D’Ivoire ambassador to the Republic of Korea, hoped that the two countries will double the bilateral trade volume in years to come.

He made the remarks in a recent interview ahead of Cote d’Ivoire’s Republic Day, which falls on August 7 this year.

“The volume of trade between Korea and Cote d’Ivoire nearly doubled from $120 million in 2012 to $230 million in 2015,” Bile said.

“The outlook is good, and we believe bilateral trade will continue to grow over the years to come, and we hope to double this volume in the near future.”

On top of trades, the ambassador pointed out that a mounting number of Korean corporations tapped into the Ivorian economy.

“Korean companies are gaining popularity in Cote d’Ivoire. Their presence in my country is remarkable by their proven expertise in the areas where they are already involved, such as power plants construction, roads infrastructures, digital economy, and eventually construction of hydroelectric dams and bridges,” he said.

“Korean companies such as Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), Halla CorporationSamsung C&T, Jaewon Industrial, and Dongsan Engineering are actively engaged in the promotion of economic cooperation between Korea and Cote d’Ivoire.”

The diplomat said that Cote d’Ivoire, one of the most prosperous economies in Africa, has so many advantages as an investment destination, including its strategic location, refined infrastructures, and energy self-sufficiency, to name but a few.

In addition, the country is the continent’s foremost producer of many agricultural products like rubber, cashew nuts, cotton, coffee palm oil, bananas, pineapples, and cola.

Bile also pointed out that Korea’s New Village Movement, otherwise known as Saemaul Undong, has offered a good development model to Cote d’Ivoire.

The movement started in 1970 to modernize the rural South Korean economy. It was one of the most successful initiatives in the country during the 1970s.

“I would also like to salute the Seamaul Undong movement, which has enabled several villages in Cote d’Ivoire to embrace the spirit of mutual aid and especially self-development without the help of the Central State, and this was possible thanks to the support from the Korean NGO Saemaul Globalization Foundation,” he said.

See the full text at the Korea News Plus article on July 20. _ ED.

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[Full Text] Interview with H.E. Sylvestre Kouassi Bile https://newsarticleinsiders.com/full-text-interview-with-h-e-sylvestre-kouassi-bile https://newsarticleinsiders.com/full-text-interview-with-h-e-sylvestre-kouassi-bile#respond Tue, 20 Jul 2021 06:03:23 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16074 Cote d’Ivoire ambassador hopes brisk bilateral trades The Korea News Plus recently had an interview with H.E. Sylvestre Kouassi Bile, Cote d’Ivoire Amb. to the Republic of Korea on the occasion of the Cote d’Ivoire Republic Day, which falls on August 7 this year. The following is the full text of the interview. _ ED. Q: First of […]

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Cote d’Ivoire ambassador hopes brisk bilateral trades

The Korea News Plus recently had an interview with H.E. Sylvestre Kouassi Bile, Cote d’Ivoire Amb. to the Republic of Korea on the occasion of the Cote d’Ivoire Republic Day, which falls on August 7 this year. The following is the full text of the interview. _ ED.

Q: First of all, how are the policies of current Cote d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara as to overcome COVID-19 crisis as well as for Cote d’Ivoire’s economic vision in terms of the middle and long-term prospect and perspective?

A: The Ivorian authorities have succeeded in effectively containing the spread of the coronavirus thanks to a combination of the following measures: The application of lessons from experience in the fight against the Ebola epidemic, this was based on the principles of the speed of action, transparency, and border control.

Thanks to border controls, Cote d’Ivoire has not experienced any cases of Ebola, although some of its neighboring countries had some cases.

Massive investment in the public health system, transparent sharing of information, and fostering civic awareness. The closing of borders, schools, places of leisure like nightclubs especially a great awareness on the respect of the barrier measures and massive screening.

As part of the resumption of flights, the government issued a decree to institute a declaration form for travel by air, compulsory for all travelers from/to Cote d’Ivoire, and adopted practical arrangements which require a series of conditions to be respected by passengers, Ivorian airport officials and by airline companies.

Moreover, since the advent of vaccines, the government continues to vaccinate the population. To this end, several quantities of vaccines have been ordered by the government, which wishes to achieve herd immunity towards the end of the year 2021.

 

Q: In that regard, how is Cote d’Ivoire’s role & responsibility shift for protecting such pandemic in terms of the entire African continent’s coordination?

A: At the regional level, from January 2020, Cote d’Ivoire within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been involved in the development of a regional plan for response to COVID-19.

Several objectives have been set, including the massive production of masks, the harmonization of the management of places of worship, or the strengthening of the West African Health Organization (WAHO) with the African centers for the control and prevention of diseases (AFRICA CDC).

In this sense, on March 26, 2021, on the occasion of the 22nd ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), held by videoconference on March 25, 2021, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara called on its member states to continue efforts to slow the advance of COVID-19 in West Africa.

 

Q: How does Your Excellency assess bilateral coordination between Korea and Cote d’Ivoire, in particular in terms of the pandemic era in consideration of vaccine supply cooperation & mutual recent travel bubble exchange etc., to name just a few?

A: I have visited, on Thursday June 04, 2020, the factory of Korean company SARAMS in Hanam, Gyeonggi Province. This factory manufactures sterilizers that prevent the spread of coronavirus in a room.

This very practical sterilizer for hospitals and administrative centers purifies the air by negative pressure and prevents the circulation of the virus in a closed room.

SARAMS, the designer of this sterilizer, plans to set up a manufacturing unit for this product in Cote d’Ivoire.

This sterilizer could effectively contribute to the fight against the spread of the coronavirus disease pandemic in the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire.

We also appreciate the role of the Korean government by contributing millions of dollars to the COVAX initiative with WAHO by providing vaccines, not only to Cote d’Ivoire and African states but to other developing countries globally.

Furthermore, the volume of trade between Korea and Cote d’Ivoire nearly doubled from $120 million in 2012 to $230 million in 2015.

The outlook is good, and we believe bilateral trade will continue to grow over the years to come, and we hope to double this volume in the near future.

Development of relations, especially the growth of economic cooperation and trade between different countries of the world, is considered very, very important these days, and in this respect, Cote d’Ivoire has been in good hands judging from the figures of the bilateral economic relations.

Korean companies are gaining popularity in Cote d’Ivoire. Their presence in my country is remarkable by their proven expertise in the areas where they are already involved, such as power plants construction, roads infrastructures, digital economy, and eventually construction of hydroelectric dams and bridges.

Korean companies such as Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), Halla CorporationSamsung C&T, Jaewon Industrial, and Dongsan Engineering are actively engaged in the promotion of economic cooperation between Korea and Cote d’Ivoire.

 

Q: Compared with other African neighboring countries, how can be Cote d’Ivoire ‘s location & its geographic significance explained in terms of its investment advantage & merits for Korean investors who are eager to penetrate into the entire African market and last but not least to penetrate into EU region?

A: The Ivorian economy has long been one of the most prosperous in Africa. After the post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011, the country returned to rapid growth, even experiencing one of the strongest growths in the world between 2012-2019, from around 8.2 percent on average.

This allows the country to confirm its status as an engine of regional economic growth and the richest country by its strategic location in the heart of West Africa.

Cote d’Ivoire continues to have an important economic weight for the West African sub-region: it represents 39 percent of the asset’s supply and contributes nearly 32 percent to the GDP of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), according to 2013 statistics from the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO).

Cote d’Ivoire, with its strong economic assets, is a regional power. It has infrastructures inherited from the two decades of the “Ivorian miracle” (1960-1980): the second port in sub-Saharan Africa, important road network, recently enlarged international airport.

In the agricultural sector, the country is the 1st cocoa producer in the world, with more than 40 percent of the market share. It ranks first in Africa for several other agricultural export products (rubber, cashew nuts, cotton, coffee, palm oil, bananas, pineapples, and cola).

The secondary sector is dominated by crude oil refining, construction, and agri-food processing. The tertiary sector (47 percent of GDP) is strongly dominated by banking activities, transport, distribution, as well as information and communication technologies (ICT), including mobile telephony.

The country is ensuring its energy self-sufficiency thanks to the exploitation for several years of gas and oil fields which have enabled it to export electricity and petroleum products to the sub-region.

After economic growth of 8 percent per year between 2012 and 2019, it stood at 2.3 percent in 2020 despite the global health context and its economic consequences (against 6.7 percent initially forecast by the IMF).

The resilience of the Ivorian economy is partly explained by the relative diversification of its productive fabric, the monetary stability conferred on it by the membership of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), and the importance of support from technical and financial partners.

In addition, as part of the response to COVID-19, the government adopted an economic and social support plan. An economic rebound is expected from 2021, with a growth rate projected at around 6 percent by the IMF.

The National Development Program (PND) for the period 2021-2025 provides for major structural reforms aimed at stimulating sustained growth, driven in particular by the private sector.

 

Q: In terms of mutual complementary economic structure, how are the promising industry areas between the two countries as well as promising investment areas from the perspective of recent investment environment improvement in Cote d’Ivoire?

A: Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) contains all the factors necessary for the development of the industrial sector. Indeed, the country has significant natural resources, a qualified workforce, and the infrastructure (transport, energy, banking system, etc.) necessary for the smooth running of industrial and commercial activity.

The promotion of the private sector is a transversal action, which concerns many ministerial departments, each likely to contribute to the improvement of the business environment, and by this means to favor the emergence of a strong, dynamic, and dynamic private sector competitive. Cote d’Ivoire has a portfolio of highly profitable projects.

These include non-agro-industrial sectors like construction materials, plastic waste recycling unit for the manufacture of packaging, cardboard, and paper recycling unit, paper production unit made from cellulosic waste, recycling unit for used broken glass, and manufacturing unit for hollow and pressed glass.

When it comes to pharmaceutical and para-pharmaceutical sectors, there are a production unit of African perfume extracts “Afriparfum Project,” “South Project” spirulina cultivation and use development unit, Ivorian food fortifiers production unit “Foralivoire Project,” pharmaceutical unit of “Medexip Project” excipients, and mobile unit for extracting essential oils from medicinal plants “Mobilhuile Project.”

As far as the capital goods sector is concerned, there is an industrial production unit for sulfuric acid, the mining sector, improvement of product quality and control of standards, and availability of raw materials in general.

 

Q: Among others, how are the industrial cooperation between Korea and Cote d’Ivoire, and last but not least, how are front-runners Korean large companies & SMEs which spearhead Korea-Cote d’Ivoire economic cooperation in Cote d’Ivoire soil through their investment, joint projects and the third country investment etc.?

A: The Ivorian government gives a central place to industry and the private sector in its national development strategy, which is why it has drawn up a new investment code and created the Business Facilitation Center.

The Ivorian industrial economy remains the leader in terms of relative size and diversification across West Africa. Cote d’Ivoire is the eighth African industrial power. Its industry contributes 27 percent to the national GDP. It is established that its manufacturing sector is the most diversified in the ECOWAS zone.

The strongest industrial growth is recorded mainly in sectors linked to the exploitation and processing of natural resources.

The country has the necessary assets to position itself as an industrial power on a continental scale.

Cote d’Ivoire has the bases and the necessary assets to quickly reposition itself as an industrial power on a continental scale. The country continues to accumulate significant natural and structural comparative advantages.

They are, first of all, a central position in West Africa, secondly, a modern infrastructure base despite underinvestment in recent years, thirdly, a significant mining potential estimated at $800 billion in 2008, and fourthly, the second hydroelectric potential of the region which could lead to an advantageous energy mix at the regional level.

The fifth advantage is the land where 70 percent is arable and fertile, of which only 30 percent are exploited, while the country is already the fifth African agro-industrial exporting power (and this despite all its structural problems of competitiveness); the sixth is the most diversified manufacturing base in the region; and the seventh is the heritage of the most structured public sector in the region (tax collection, institutional structure of the country).

The other three notable advantages are a significant capacity for the integration of immigrant populations (20 percent of the population), an elite who is still well trained, and a world-class agricultural research infrastructure in several sectors.

However, these assets must be methodically developed through the New Industrial Policy to materialize the vision of the emergence of the Ivorian government. This new industrial policy, in line with the PND and the national private sector development plan, cannot be done without Korean expertise.

That is why I wish to encourage and invite Korean companies to take a significant part in sustained industrial growth. Korean companies such as Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), Halla Corporation, Samsung C&T, Jaewon Industrial, Dongsan Engineering, SARAMS, and CK Farm are already working in the industrial sector in Cote d’Ivoire.

 

Q: In considering Your Excellency’s long career diplomat’s experiences which served in Korea since 2012, including long experiences & expertise as Cote d’Ivoire Amb., how does Your Excellency assess about desirable diplomatic development directions between Korea and Cote d’Ivoire in terms of market potentials in the African continent in general and concretely speaking in terms of ODA assistance and sharing experiences about regional development from Korea such as Saemaeul Movement etc.?

A: Korea and Cote d’Ivoire established diplomatic relations on July 23, 1961, as the first country in the African region, and the relations between the two countries have grown by leaps and bounds in the form of ‘Comprehensive and Practical’ relations especially following the official state visit to Korea by President Alassane OUATTARA on October 6 to 9, 2014 for the first time in the history of relations between the two countries.

Among Koreans, Cote d’Ivoire is known to be a central country in West Africa with a land space about one and half times that of the Korean Peninsula and a population of 25 million people. Among Koreans (and perhaps in other countries of the world), Cote d’Ivoire is the largest producer of the raw materials of chocolate loved by the entire world as well as the Korean people and is endowed with various other important agricultural and other natural resources.

And since Korea has extensive experience in the industry, we can guide cooperation in the field of experience sharing and technology transfer to enable the transformation of Ivorian agricultural products.

And cooperation can be strengthened in the sectors of fishery resources, construction of infrastructure, ICT, housing, forestry development, as well as in rural development.

I would also like to salute the Seamaul Undong movement, which has enabled several villages in Cote d’Ivoire to embrace the spirit of mutual aid and especially self-development without the help of the Central State, and this was possible thanks to the support from the Korean NGO Saemaul Globalization Foundation. This development model can certainly help the rapid development of Cote d’Ivoire.

 

Q: Last but not least, peace touches upon travel spots in Cote d’Ivoire for Korean tourists who are eager to explore Cote d’Ivoire sooner or later after the pandemic era by way of mutual travel bubble exchange program, for example.

A: We have diverse attractions: seaside tourism, cultural tourism, and religious tourism. On the coast, tourists can enjoy the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Guinea, including the Bay of Sirens. In Grand Bassam, a city listed as a UNESCO world heritage, they will discover a colonial town and will enjoy the beach; Assinie resort is not far away; we have the Yamoussoukro Basilica and the Mosk of Kong.

Various national parks in the country will allow Korean tourists to discover the local flora and fauna through the Tai National Park, the Mount Nimba Nature Reserve, the Comoe National Park. The waterfall of Mount Tonkui, the sacred forest of Gbepleu, and its monkeys, the craftsmen of Korhogo, are some of the sites to visit.

The position of Cote d’Ivoire is an asset, centrally located in the heart of West Africa. It is a gateway to that region. The population is affable; their welcoming is great.

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Book review: Vincent’s Books https://newsarticleinsiders.com/book-review-vincents-books https://newsarticleinsiders.com/book-review-vincents-books#respond Sun, 18 Jul 2021 10:05:29 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16069 What books a great painter read to paint his pictures Relatives of Vincent van Gogh worried that the 19th-century painter was the black sheep of the family. But in fact, by the family name Gogh, the world remembers only one first name of Vincent. Out of his many characteristics, Vincent is well known for his […]

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What books a great painter read to paint his pictures

Relatives of Vincent van Gogh worried that the 19th-century painter was the black sheep of the family. But in fact, by the family name Gogh, the world remembers only one first name of Vincent.

Out of his many characteristics, Vincent is well known for his passion for painting. And Italian curator Mariella Guzzoni points out that the great artist has another powerful passion for reading.

In her 2020 book “Vincent’s Books,” Guzzoni said that Vincent read books in Dutch, French, and English written by such authors as Emile Zola, Charles Dickens, Guy de Maupassant, and William Shakespeare.

In a letter to his brother and soul mate Theo, Vincent showed he was an insatiable reader.

“Vincent was twenty-seven when he decided to become an artist, soon after a touching letter that also speaks of his ‘irresistible passion for books,’” Guzzoni wrote.

“His love for reading accompanies him throughout his entire life, responding to his changing personae _ art dealer, preachers, painter _ but always led by his insatiable desire to learn, comprehend, reason, discuss, and ultimately to find his own way to be of service to humanity.”

Included in the best book list of Vincent were “Hard Times” of Dickens, “Bel Ami” of Maupassant, “The Joy of Life” of Zola, and “King Lear” of Shakespeare, to name but a few.

Of note is that Guzzoni’s book has a yellow cover _ the color most loved by Vincent, who took his life at the age of 37.

Understanding human nature in indirect ways

The above-mentioned writers, most of them known as literary Naturalists, were famous for delving into human nature. And it seems that Vincent tried to learn human nature by avidly reading them.

Gruff and unsocial, Vincent was very serious and warmhearted. Plus, he wanted to be useful to humanity and tried to find out how throughout his short life.

In this sense, Zola, Dickens, and Maupassant were his friends, and Vincent treated the characters of their books as if they were flesh-and-blood persons, according to Guzzoni.

Dear, Zola, Dickens, and Maupassant, thank you! Although few recognized his greatness when he was alive, and few helped the lonely genius, your work was indeed of help to him.

Vincent would also appreciate that.

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Yanolja following suit of Coupang https://newsarticleinsiders.com/yanolja-following-suit-of-coupang https://newsarticleinsiders.com/yanolja-following-suit-of-coupang#respond Sat, 17 Jul 2021 01:06:15 +0000 https://newsarticleinsiders.com/?p=16065 SoftBank invests 2 trillion won in Korea’s travel platform Yanolja said on July 15 that SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, one of the world’s top tech-focused investment funds, had invested 2 trillion won ($1.7 billion) in South Korea’s travel platform. Observers point out that Yanolja follows suit of Coupang, which received around $3 billion investment from […]

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SoftBank invests 2 trillion won in Korea’s travel platform

Yanolja said on July 15 that SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, one of the world’s top tech-focused investment funds, had invested 2 trillion won ($1.7 billion) in South Korea’s travel platform.

Observers point out that Yanolja follows suit of Coupang, which received around $3 billion investment from SoftBank and went public on the New York Stock Exchange early this year (See Korea News Plus article on Feb. 13, 2021).

Yanolja also prepares for initial public offering (IPO), and observers expect that it would be New York.

“Coupang’s value once topped $100 billion in New York. That would have been impossible in Seoul. Yanolja is expected to opt for New York,” Prof. Seo Yong-gu at Sookmyung Women’s University said.

“U.S. investors love technology companies, and SoftBank is well aware of that. For SoftBank, both Coupang and Yanolja would be lucrative investments.”

SoftBank acquired around 33 percent of Coupang, which is valued at about $23 billion as of July 16. This means that its return on investment is more than 700 percent.

Established in 2005 as a budget hotel-booking system, Yanolja has worked on the software of property management. Now it competes with such powerhouses as Oracle.

Of note is that SoftBank founding CEO Son Jung-eui, or Masayoshi Son, is a third-generation Korean who was naturalized as a Japanese citizen in 1990.

By contrast, Prof. Sung Tae-yoon at Yonsei University said that it remains to be seen how Yanolja will decide.

“Yes, Yanolja may be able to get a higher valuation in New York. But the company should take stricter responsibility there at the same time,” the economist said.

Focusing on leading-edge technology

SoftBank Investment Advisers Managing Partner Greg Moon pinned his hopes on such programs as Travel Super App, which includes accommodation, leisure, transportation, and restaurant.

Globally, the company strives to expand in cloud-based businesses.

“Powered by AI, we believe Yanolja is a leader in transforming the travel and leisure industry in South Korea through its Travel Super App approach,” Moon said.

Yanolja CEO Lee Su-jin said that the firm will cooperate with SoftBank to achieve its goal of connecting the international travel and hospitality markets through cutting-edge technology.

“We will accelerate digital transformation in this sector as the leading global hospitality Tech Company and Travel Super App, by fully leveraging our unique technological capabilities,” he said.

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