President of South Korea Meets Business Leaders for SMEs

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President Yoon Suk Yeol and the leaders of Korea’s largest business groups gathered to promote the global expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during the 35th annual conference held on the front lawn of the presidential office in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Thursday. The event aimed to garner support for SMEs’ overseas ventures and featured prominent business figures, including Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong, LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo, and Hanwha Group Vice Chairman Kim Dong-kwan.

Other notable attendees included HD Hyundai Vice Chairman and CEO Chung Ki-sun, Posco Chairman Chang In-hwa, and Shinsegae Chairman Chung Yong-jin. President Yoon presided over the conference, vowing to implement specific support measures based on the recently passed Support for Small and Medium Enterprise Establishment Act.

In a symbolic gesture, dishes such as Buldak ramyeon and frozen gimbap were served at the banquet, celebrating their success as major export hits. Samyang Foods’ Buldak Ramen series has significantly contributed to Korea’s record-high ramyeon exports, which surged 46.8 percent year-over-year to $108.6 million in April. Similarly, Olgot’s frozen gimbap gained popularity in the U.S., frequently selling out at Trader Joe’s after going viral on social media.

The annual SME conference, which began in 1989, brings together government officials and leaders from small, medium, and large enterprises to review SME performance and reaffirm the shared goal of national economic prosperity. In an effort to elevate the status of the event, President Yoon started inviting the heads of top conglomerates in 2022.