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Hyundai’s Chung, Naver’s Han support ‘New Deal’

Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun presents his Green New Deal vision in the left photo teleconferenced at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday. Naver CEO Han Seong-sook delivers her presentation in the right photo. (Yonhap)
Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun presents his Green New Deal vision in the left photo teleconferenced at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday. Naver CEO Han Seong-sook delivers her presentation in the right photo. (Yonhap)

Joining South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s quest to pioneer new technologies and industries in the post-COVID-19 era, Hyundai Motor Group Vice Chairman Chung Euisun and Naver CEO Han Seong-sook on Tuesday presented their company visions via a teleconference broadcast at Cheong Wa Dae.

Chung and Han, who lead the country’s biggest automaker and internet portal operator, respectively, expressed support for the government’s five-year “New Deal” policy drive, which is centered on two pillars – the Green New Deal and Digital New Deal.

At the onset of the event, Moon pledged to inject 160 trillion won ($130 billion) to create 1.9 million jobs by 2025. The event was joined by heads of economic groups, labor representatives, politicians and the academia.

Standing at Hyundai Motor Studio in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, Chung vowed to lead his company to become one of the world’s top electric vehicle producers, and elaborated on his plans to aid the government’s Green New Deal. The Green New Deal is aimed at transitioning South Korea to a net-zero emissions economy, and includes the country’s plans for “green innovation” in the energy and mobility sectors.

“Next year will be the first year for a leap of Hyundai Motor Group’s electric vehicles, because we will be releasing the next-generation electric cars that use a special EV platform,” Chung said.

“The next-generation electric vehicle will be charged within 20 minutes, which is the shortest time in the world, and on that single charge, it will be able to drive over 450 kilometers.”

Chung also said his group, which consists of three car brands, Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Genesis, will present over 23 new types of electric vehicles by 2025.

By that year, the group aims to sell over a million electric vehicles, occupying a market share of over 10 percent to lead the global EV market, Chung added.

Moving around the motor studio to introduce the cars displayed, Chung also stopped in front of Nexo Fuel Cell, to explain that 5,000 units were sold last year, the world’s highest-ever sales of a fuel cell vehicle.

In front of an Xcient Fuel Cell truck, which is the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell truck, Chung said that his company would export up to 1,600 units of the truck to Europe by 2025. Last week, the company has shipped 10 units of the fuel cell model to Switzerland.

In introducing its fuel cell system, which was developed jointly with 140 partners over the past 20 years, Chung said the company will make more efforts to double its lifespan within the next three to four years, and halve the production cost.

“This system can be used in both everyday life, and for military usage. Producing electricity using hydrogen is an environment-friendly energy solution of the future, and it will grow into a core industry,” Chung said.

In efforts to strengthen ties with the major battery suppliers for its electric vehicles, Chung recently held meetings with leading conglomerate chiefs, including Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won and LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo.

Before ending his presentation, Chung reiterated his plans to commercialize Urban Air Mobility by 2028, to lead the new technology.

“Hyundai Motor Group will become a leader in electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and become an eco-friendly conglomerate for a low-carbon, or even further on, for a net-zero era,” Chung said, adding that EV business is not only an important task for the country, but is linked to the survival of his group.

Hyundai Motor currently stands as the fourth EV supplier in the world. The company has announced late last year to invest 61.1 trillion won by 2025 for research to development transform into a smart mobility solution provider.

In its Strategy 2025 road map, the carmaker has also set the goal to sell 670,000 electric vehicles annually, comprising 560,000 battery-powered electric vehicles and 110,000 fuel cell electric vehicles.

Naver CEO Han Seong-sook, in her presentation from the company’s data center Gak (a shorthand for pavilion in Korean) located in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, supported the government’s Digital New Deal. Digital New Deal aims to invest 58.2 trillion won to create 903,000 jobs, and to establish “data dams” by unveiling some 140,000 public data to reinforce the ecosystem of data, network and artificial intelligence.

Han said the country’s largest portal service will cooperate with the government and work with citizens to foster new big data-based businesses and develop new platforms that users can benefit from.

Han pointed out that Naver’s Smartstore to explain how the company is using big data compiled at the data center. Han said the data is currently provided to some 400,000 small merchants to support their businesses. The data, carefully sorted out by the company AI engines, could help local customers to expand their businesses and eventually create more jobs.

“Even at this very moment, many are searching information, writing posts and buying stuff on the internet. (Gak data center) can be described as a tremendous data dam that has gathered daily logs and diverse information of Naver users for the past 20 years or so,” Han said.

Han also mentioned of the company’s second data center, which it will build in Sejong.

“We have seen an exponential increase in data use, and the company has shifted years ahead to build another data center,” Han said, noting that Naver will increase investment to prepare for the next generation data center.

“While the data center up until now focused on recording and storing, the data centers of the future will become smarter, to evolve into so-called brain centers,” Han said as she introduced the 5G robot Around.

Around is a “brainless” robot model produced by Naver that runs on cloud computing technology, rather than internal programming and processing. Han explained the 5G-powered robots will allow the company to make robots smaller and less expensive so that they can be used by more people.

After explaining other key technologies, Han said her firm will release data analyzed and processed through AI technologies.

“We hope that they can be freely used in various AI research and businesses, in order to become the impetus of Korea’s ‘fourth-industrial revolution.’” Han said, explaining that big data being compiled by the firm is helping users start new businesses and expand their business territories.

“The company is offering AI-powered statistical tools, through which business owners could find potential customers and new target markets,” Han said.

Han also asked the government to make regulatory changes that needed to accelerate growth of the IT industry here. 



By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com) and Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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