LG Chem Vice Chairman Shin Hak-cheol said on July 9 that the company is prepping for possible sanctions from Japan.
Addressing a press conference held at LG headquarters in Yeouido, Shin also said the company expects its battery business to grow by more than three-fold to 31 trillion won.
In total, the firm posted 28.18 trillion won of revenues last year, and is targeting 30 trillion won this year. About 10 trillion won of it will be derived from the battery business. By 2024, LG Chem hopes to log 59 trillion won of revenues, Shin said.
Touching on the latest trade sanctions by the Tokyo government, the LG executive said the company is trying to stay on top of things by preparing for the worst.
“For now, Japan is sanctioning only semiconductor materials, but the scope may be widened to batteries, so we are making the necessary preparations,” said Shin, adding that the company is avidly diversifying key battery materials, such as cathodes and separators.
As a former 3M executive, Shin’s reputation at LG has been defined for his aggressive stance on protecting corporate intellectual property. In April, LG Chem sued its rival SK Innovation at the US International Trade Commission for patent infringement.
LG Chem is also entangled in a patent battle with a much smaller domestic firm, Innox Advanced Materials.
“Intellectual property is an integral part of any company,” Shin noted.
Critics, however, point out that it’s ironic that LG Chem doesn’t have any qualms setting up joint ventures with second-tier Chinese companies to access their technology, or utilizing the core materials or equipment provided by these partner firms.
“We understand there are some skeptical views towards our joint venture with Chinese automaker Geely Automobile Holdings, but I can say with conviction that our utmost priority lies in protecting our property and technology,” said Shin, adding that the JV has airtight articles against technological leakages.
Shin was the first person outside of LG recruited to the C-level under the watch of LG Chairman Koo Gwang-mo. He entered 3M Korea in 1984 before becoming the head of the 3M Philippines operation. Then, he was named vice president at 3M’s US headquarters and became the first Korean executive vice president at 3M.
Shin’s major business strategies involve pursuing sustainable profit based on the three pillars of petro-chemicals, batteries and high-tech materials. As key management tasks, he has put bigger emphasis on the markets and clients, enhancing business operation efficiency, and cultivating a global team culture.
“We hope to help contribute to the country’s eco-system with customized solutions,” said the CEO. “From extracting the materials to disposal, our goal is to create an eco-friendly eco-system where we can achieve sustainable and profitable innovation.”
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