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Samsung Group, South Korea's largest conglomerate, is seeking to further tap the Chinese market and increase its investment there based on its close relations with the incoming leaders of the world's second-largest economy, sources said Thursday.
Samsung's top executives have maintained ties with Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang who are set to become China's new president and prime minister, respectively, at a crucial Communist Party congress that opened on Thursday in Beijing.
Lee Jae-yong, the chief operating officer at Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest memory chipmaker, met with Xi twice in 2010 and discussed ways to boost cooperation.
Xi toured Samsung Electronics' plants near Seoul in 2005 and visited Samsung Electronics' semiconductor unit in the southern Chinese city of Suzhou in 2007. Lee and other top Samsung officials also met with Li in June.
With the once-in-a-decade leadership transition in China,
Samsung plans to change its strategy to produce goods in China for sale there, a
departure from the past when Samsung used China as a manufacturing base for
goods for export by taking advantage of cheap labor.
Samsung's new catchphrase "In China, and for China" illustrates Samsung's new strategy to China.
Samsung also plans to expand its investment in the semiconductor and liquid crystal display areas and to strengthen its financial service operations in China.
Samsung Asset Management Co., Samsung's financial arm, is set to establish a joint venture with Xiangcai Securities Co., China's 26th largest securities firm in terms of transaction size, next month, to expand the South Korean conglomerate's presence in China.
Samsung Group's total investment in China stood at US$10.5 billion last year and it plans to invest $2.16 billion this year.
The aggressive investment helped Samsung maintain a No. 1 market share position in mobile phones, monitors and three-dimensional televisions.