By Hwang Hyung-gyu and Cho Jeehyun
Jay Y. Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co. and heir to South Korea’s top conglomerate Samsung Group, has headed to China as his second overseas destination upon release from prison in February.
Lee left for Shenzhen Wednesday morning to meet with various Chinese companies at China’s special economic zone. It is reported that Kim Ki-nam, president of Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor division, Lee Dong-hoon, president of Samsung Display Co. and the electronics maker’s other key senior executives have accompanied Lee.
They are expected to meet with Chinese automaker BYD Auto Co. as well as other global firms in hopes to restore ties and seek future growth engines. Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, established in 1980, is home to many of China’s IT giants including Tencent and Huawei. Lee’s key meeting this time is expected to be with BYD Auto which makes auto parts on top of electric vehicles. Samsung has been eager to make a foray into the autonomous car industry since it acquired car infotainment company Harman International last year.
Lee had been in jail for a year on bribery charges linked to impeached president Park Geun-hye before an appeals court reduced the sentence to two and a half years with four-year probation in February. He still faces the Supreme Court.
Lee had kept a low profile until he resumed his public activity in late March with a two-week business trip to Europe.