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South Korea: Antitrust watchdog to scrutinize 4 major conglomerates

 |  May 18, 2017

The nominee to head South Korea’s antitrust watchdog pledged Thursday to scrutinize four major conglomerates as he seeks to establish fair competition in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

“I will assess issues related to the four major groups in a more thorough manner when the Fair Trade Commission implements laws,” Kim Sang-jo, an economics professor from Seoul’s Hansung University, said in a news conference.

The four are the Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK and LG groups that account for two-thirds of assets held by South Korea’s top 30 conglomerates, a clear sign of concentration of wealth under the control of the giants.

Kim also warned family-run conglomerates, known as chaebol in South Korea, against “breaking laws” and asked them to take into account market expectations on business practices and corporate governance.

Of the four, Samsung is the largest, and its businesses include Samsung Electronics, the world’s top maker of smartphones.

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