29/03/2012

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SOUTH KOREA: Hungary propels Hankook Tire's European foray

Hankook Tire said Wednesday (28 March 2012) that it has successfully waded into the European markets via its factories in Hungary. "The Hungarian plants started production midway through 2007 and continued to increase their annual capacity to 5 million in 2008 and 12 million last year,” a Hankook official said. "We have now come up with a variety of tires, whose number amount to as many as 500, in a host of segments for sedans, sports utility vehicles and light trucks to name but a few.” The Hungarian government is also well aware of the contribution of Hankook Tire as amply demonstrated by its acknowledgement of its head Cho Yang-rae. Earlier this year, the East European country offered the Commander's Cross Order of Merit of Hungary, one of its top honors, to Cho. Hankook Tire Vice Chairman Suh Seung-hwa also recognized the significance of its Hungary facilities in trying to achieve the company's eventual goal of becoming one of the world's top-five tire manufacturers. "We are set to join the rank of the global top five through cranking up the capacity of the Hungary factories. We will further raise our capabilities to meet the ever-rising demand for our products,” he said. "The European endeavor is expected to benefit us in a variety of fashions because the logistics costs would be cut down substantially to fulfill demand of our European customers.” Hankook Tire established its production lines in Racalmas, a central Hungarian town by the River Danube about 60 kilometers south of Budapest where just a few thousand people live. The Korean manufacturer's contribution has been recognized in several ways including a ceremony of making Suh an honorary citizen of the town. "I am deeply honored to have been honored by Racalmas and proud to be here. Racalmas has been a very cooperative partner since the very start of our investment here,” Suh said in a statement. "In those few years our company and the city have grown and I think we will grow further together, both benefiting from an exemplary partnership.” Joining world's top ranks South Korean industries have struggled to make their presence felt on the global scene because international powerhouses already dominate many markets. But Samsung and LG have become top-tier players worldwide and Hankook Tire is striving to replicate their success in manufacturing areas. "We are currently offering our products to a set of foreign firms such as Audi, Nissan, Ford, Chrysler, General Motors and Volkswagen to name a few on top of local players Hyundai and Kia,” the official said. "As far as tires are concerned, we are vying to become an entity that is second to none. Our time-honored initiative seems to be bearing fruits as our goods have been bought by global carmakers of late.” Hankook Tire has more than 80 branches across the world and exports to over 180 countries. The company has also positioned itself to compete with its international rivals rather than just exploiting local opportunities. "Hankook Tire is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing tire producers for radial tires for passenger cars, light trucks, trucks and buses,” the firm says on its website. "Hankook Tire also develops cutting-edge technologies to upgrade customer satisfaction through high-quality products. Through sales in 185 countries across the world, Hankook Tire is ranked seventh in global sales revenue. It has more than 14,000 employees in four regional headquarters, over 20 overseas subsidiaries and five research and development centers around the world and makes 70 percent of its revenue through overseas markets.” The anonymous official said that the company strives to increase the portion of global revenue in terms of its annual sales to more than 70 percent in an era of globalized markets in the future.(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)
Source: Daily "The Korea Times", Seoul; 29 Mar 2012

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