Posted : 2017-10-29 14:11
Updated : 2017-10-29 18:00

3rd-generation tycoons proficient in English

Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun delivers a keynote speech at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January. / Courtesy of Hyundai Motor

CJ, Hyundai, Samsung heads lead global businesses with language skills

By Lee Min-hyung

CJ Group Chaimran Lee Jae-yun
Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun
English capabilities are essential for young tycoons to gain global fame, opening up more opportunities for them to promote their businesses on various international stages.

This is the case for the nation's leading business magnates for conglomerates such as Samsung, Hyundai and CJ. They include Samsung Group heir Lee Jae-yong, Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun and CJ Group Chairman Lee Jae-hyun.

All of them are third-generation owners who led businesses founded by their grandfathers. The two Lees are grandsons of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul. Chung is a grandson of Hyundai founder Chung Ju-yung.

Lee Jae-hyun has particularly drawn keen public attention here, after he was seen at an NBC live broadcasting during the PGA Tour CJ Cup at the Nine Bridges golf competition on the nation's southern resort island of Jeju, Sunday. CJ is best-known for its local leadership in industries including foods and entertainment, and the company is on track to expand its footing overseas.

Lee appeared on a short video clip as the chief of the CJ-sponsored sporting event, sharing the firm's visions and promoting a series of future plans for its major affiliates.

When asked about questions of the company, he proficiently responded by introducing CJ's group-wide project of "creating shared value."

"Now we are pushing our global reach in foods and K-culture even further to be an integral part of everyday lives for customers all around the world," he said.

CJ Cheil Jedang, the nation's largest food and grocery company by sales, has launched its Bibigo brand recently in the United States, raising the global profile of traditional Korean food changed to meet appetites of people across the world. Currently, the CJ affiliate runs Bibigo restaurants in three countries including the U.S., China and Korea.

CJ hopes the latest golf tournament becomes a key event to enhance the Bibigo brand value on the global stage, as this is the first time a PGA Tour has taken place in Korea.

"My dream was to build a world-class beautiful golf course with a natural ecosystem, and for that, Jeju Island was perfect," the CJ chief said. "UNESCO also designated Jeju as a world natural heritage site."

Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung, heir to Hyundai Motor Group, is also a business tycoon renowned for his excellent command of English.

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, he grabbed the attention of the audience by delivering a keynote speech with perfect English skills. This marked the first time an owner family member from one of the nation's leading conglomerates has delivered a speech at the world's largest tech fair.

More than 200,000 visitors and officials from 3,800 companies here and abroad visited CES 2017 in January. Taking this into account, observers say standing on the CES mainstream stage each year can generate enormous marketing impact.

During the exhibition, Chung explained three major growth areas of the carmaker under the theme of future mobility. They include clean mobility, freedom in mobility and connected mobility.

"We are at the start of a new era of technology, convergence and hyperconnectedness," he said. "This has huge implications for mobility." His appearance would not have been made possible without his English proficiency. His participation in the event also allowed him to promote the company across the globe and hold a series of closed-door meetings with global clients.

Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong is also one of the noteworthy tycoons here who expanded the firm's global influence after taking over the company in 2014. Taking full advantage of his English skills, he has since tightened relationships with leading overseas business leaders such as Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google co-founder Larry Page and Facebook founding CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Even if he has yet to make any public appearances by delivering such public speeches, he is known to speak not just English, but Japanese proficiently.

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