The new president of South Korea said today that he will welcome further investment into the peninsula, but that there is no agenda for re-unification in the near future.
That follows reports, exclusively covered here, that large US conglomerates including Intel, were considering making investment in the traditional Korean families like Samsung, Hyundai and Lucky Goldstar, known as chaebols.
Kim Dae-Jung became the president of South Korea today but warned against too much euphoria. He told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC): ?Peace is more important than unification.? He was referring to the large - and very cheap - labour force in North Korea, many of whom are suffering starvation. He did not say whether if unification happened, South Korea would take advantage of the North's now passive workforce.
But Mr Kim?s new government, persuaded by the IMF, will, he said, accept foreign investment into the southern part of the peninsula.
Many important US companies, including Coca Cola, have been swift to look at the vast manufacturing industries in South Korea.
Now persistent reports suggest that Samsung, Hyundai and LG are ready to accept foreign investment, given that in one or two week?s time, the IMF will again look at foreign debt owed by these major chaebols.
Last week, reports suggested that Intel was set to take a $1 billion investment in Samsung, a report strenuously denied by the latter. That is because Samsung has manufacturing facilities that Intel covets.
Intel refused to comment on the reports. But now Hyundai and LG are being wooed by other major US chip manufacturers, particularly given the weakness of the South Korean Won against the mighty US dollar.
But there is, quite possibly, a trick up the Korean chaebol?s sleeves. Most of them cannot match the kind of high technology garnered in Southern California but all of them have large fabrication plants which can produce digital signal processing (DSP) products.
The DSP product puts the fear of god into CPU manufacturers including AMD and Intel, so, in the final analysis, it could be companies like Texas Instruments and National Semiconductors which bale out the South Koreans.
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