Sunday, June 23, 2024

Hanwha chairman resumes public appearances

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Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn, center, poses with members of Hanwha Aerospace Daejeon R&D Campus, Friday. Courtesy of Hanwha Group

By Ko Dong-hwan

Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn made his first public appearance in more than five years after he recently visited a research and development center for the group’s aerospace arm to bolster morale and boost the subsidiary’s global competitiveness, according to the family-run business group, Monday.

Last Friday, Kim visited the Hanwha Aerospace Daejeon R&D Campus and met researchers there. The venue is the country’s only R&D center that can plan, build and test entire sections of space launch vehicles. He was accompanied by his eldest son Dong-kwan, the group’s vice chairman, who has been at the forefront of the group’s public relations efforts on behalf of his father.

The pair’s visit to Daejeon was followed by the chairman’s visit to Hanwha Life Eagles Park — in the same city — to watch the team play against KT Wiz in a Korean Baseball Organization game. Released photos showed the chairman seated in a skybox at the stadium, watching Eagles players practicing two hours before the match. It was also the first KBO match for Ryu Hyun-jin, who threw pitches for the Eagles after returning from Major League Baseball.

The last time the chairman made a public appearance was in late 2018 when he visited a construction site for Hanwha Aerospace’s new aircraft engine parts manufacturing plant in Vietnam’s Hanoi.

Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn watches a Korean Baseball Organization game between the Hanwha Eagles and KT Wiz at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon, Friday. Yonhap

Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn watches a Korean Baseball Organization game between the Hanwha Eagles and KT Wiz at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon, Friday. Yonhap

At the R&D campus in Daejeon, the chairman congratulated the researchers for having been selected as the country’s exclusive bidder for a next-generation launch vehicle production project. Hanwha Aperospace previously added a milestone in May 2023 when the Nuri space rocket, a locally developed space rocket equipped with the company’s engine, successfully lifted off from Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, to travel 550 kilometers above the Earth and place the NEXTSAT-2 satellite into orbit.

The chairman reminded the researchers that their efforts with the latest successful rocket launch in its third trial had made Korea the world’s seventh country to possess the technologies to develop space launch vehicles. The chairman also asked the researchers to do their best for Nuri’s fourth planned launch in May next year, for which Hanwha Aerospace will provide the engine.

Under the chairman’s leadership, Hanwha Group has been aggressive in developing its capabilities in the space industry, investing over 900 billion won ($667 million). Putting Dong-kwan on the front lines, the chairman led the group to build its own value chain for the industry, putting Hanwha Aerospace in charge of launch vehicles, while Hanwha Systems, the group’s military solutions developer arm and Satrec Initiative, was responsible for the satellites. Hanwha Aerospace is the biggest shareholder of Satrec Initiative.

Hanwha Aerospace is now building a space hub launch vehicle manufacturing plant in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province, to further solidify its market dominance in the country’s space industry.

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