July 09, 2018 12:01
Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong set off from Gimpo Airport on a chartered plane on Sunday to attend the ribbon-cutting of a Samsung smartphone plant in India the following day.
This will be the first time he attends a public event since he was given a suspended sentence in February for bribing former President Park Geun-hye.
President Moon Jae-in, who is in India for a state visit, will also attend the event. "Lee will meet President Moon and senior Indian government officials and thank them in a speech at the ceremony," said a senior Samsung executive.
Koh Dong-jin, the head of Samsung's mobile division, will brief guests on the new plant, Samsung's smartphone project and future investment plans in India.
The new plant in Noida near New Delhi in the northern province of Uttar Pradesh is an expansion of an existing plant built in 1997. Samsung poured W800 billion into the expansion over the past two years (US$1=W1,117). Once in full operation, its production capacity will increase from 5 million to 10 million phones a month.
Samusung wants to counter Chinese rivals' aggressive marketing campaigns in India, the world's second largest market, where the streets are lined with Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo shops every few yards.
Samsung was pushed into second place in the market behind Xiaomi in the fourth quarter of last year.
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