S. Korea and Japan no progress over fish import ban
Prosecutors acquits Natural Endotech of fake ‘Baeksuho’ product sales
National Assembly stalls in political strife
National Assembly stalls as Park vetoes bill
Regulations choke growth of S. Korean healthcare industry
Maeil Business's 10 proposals for S. Korea to become software powerhouse
TOP STORY Watchdog to tighten grip on home mortgage worth $90,000 or less
By Bae Mi-jung
South Korea’s financial watchdog will tighten its control on secured loans on apartment in Seoul and its metropolitan areas worth $100 million ($89,325) or less.
The financial authorities decided to toughen its income criteria on 100 million won worth of secured loans not subject to debt to income (DTI) regulations. With the move, apartment loans, secured loans on commercial properties and property loans in regional areas will be under the tightened income criteria.
A high-ranking official at Financial Services Commission Sunday, “financial firms so far were lax about the loans not entitled to DTI regulations.” He added, “we’ll shift the loan criteria to help financial firms to offer loans only to those who have the financial capacity to repay.” Accordingly, prospective borrowers are required to submit separate papers to prove their income including employment certificate.
The move is interpreted as the watchdog’s willingness to beef up proactive actions to avert mortgage loans from degenerating into bad loans. The nation has recently seen the amount of mortgage loans soar by eight trillion won in a month in April. The household debt management consultative body consisting of the Bank of Korea and Ministry of Strategy and Finance will announce the plan to rev up household debt management within July.
S. Korea’s rich own $1.9mn of financial assets on average By Lee Yoo-sup, Chung Seok-woo
The research institute under the wing of KB Financial Group has released a report covering in-depth analysis of South Korea’s rich using financial transaction data each year since 2011. In this report, individuals with more than one billion won ($899,847) in financial assets are classified as the rich.
According to the report, the number of the affluent in Korea came to 85,000 in 2007 before surpassing the 100,000 mark for the first time in 2009 and reaching 182,000 in 2014. The number has been on the rise except the temporary decline in 2008 when the global financial crisis peaked.
The combined financial assets of the rich more than doubled from 182 trillion won in 2007 to a staggering 406 trillion won last year. The wealthy had an average of 2.2 billion won per person.
The Maeil Business Newspaper took a look at the investment portfolio of financial and real estate assets and investment patterns of rich people, based on the report by the think tank.
The report found that their investment pattern has shifted from stability-oriented investment or aggressive investment to medium-risk and medium-return investment over the past five years amid low interest rate and low growth. They, especially those in their 40s and 50s, who newly joined the ranks of the rich, scaled back the portion of real estate while their appetite for offshore investment increased.
Customer complaints rise after measure against borrowed-name bank accounts By Bae Mi-jung
Financial regulators said Friday they will look into whether banks are forcing financial plans to customers who want to open new bank accounts in the name of complying with efforts to root out borrowed-name bank accounts.
There are growing customer complaints due to banks’ request for automatic transfer for utility fee payment through a new bank account among non-workers such as housewives and job seekers in the name of preventing borrowed-name bank accounts.
“In order to prevent financial frauds through borrowed-name bank accounts, we have to make it difficult to open new bank accounts but this should not be a business means for banks. We will investigate bank practices,” said Cho Sung-mok, a director at the Financial Supervisory Service.
After the Financial Supervisory Service implemented a tougher measure against borrowed-name bank accounts this year, commercial banks ask customers to make clear the purpose of bank account registration in case of new accounts. However, some banks ask customers to apply for automatic transfer of money for utility fee payment in order to further support the purpose of bank account registration, leading to complaints from customers.
Banks say there is no other measure but to make it difficult to open a bank account in order to reduce the number of borrowed-name bank accounts, but increasing customer complaints make them feel heavy. A bank official said banks are under pressure due to regulators’ strong drive against borrowed-name bank accounts.
S. Korea and Japan no progress over fish import ban By Seo Dong-cheol
Talks between South Korea and Japan over the ban on fishery imports ended with no results as they just stuck to their positions.
This elevated the possibility that the issue would be handled at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The government began preparing for the dispute settlement process, believing that the dispute would prolong.
At the WTO headquarters at Geneva, Swiss, on June 24 and 25 (local time), the government had bilateral negotiations with Japan over Seoul’s import restrictions on Japanese fishery products, but the talks ended after the two parties confirmed differences, said the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy Friday. Japan will establish the dispute settlement panel after examining the outcome of the latest talks.
The bilateral consultations were held under the WTO regulations that the two parties should have the first meeting in a month or within the agreed period if the concerned party asks for consultations over dispute settlement process. Japan on May 21 had requested the bilateral consultations arguing that the Seoul’s import ban on Japanese fishery products is unreasonable.
A ministry official noted, “as it was the first-ever consultations, they only focused on what the other party seeks and produced no results.”
Regulations choke growth of S. Korean healthcare industry By Kim Tae-joon
South Korea should come up with clear standards of the digital healthcare industry, as Apple’ ‘Healthkit’ and Google’s ‘Google Fit,’ fitness platforms collecting fitness data, have been given a green light thanks to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continuously loosening regulations, say a report.
In a report titled the ‘task for the improvement of regulations for the revitalization of manufacturing-service integration: focusing on digital health care,’ which was released on Friday, the Korea Economic Research Institute pinpointed that one of the obstacles that hinder the growth of the digital healthcare industry is delays in setting out clear guideline for mobile app medical devices.
Since the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced the guideline of mobile apps for medical devices, the direction for specific regulations has not been presented, confounding relevant industries.
Apple unveiled its digital healthcare platform ‘Healthkit’ in June last year and Google also branched out into the healthcare business, releasing ‘GoogleFit,’ which enables users to share health information gathered from various medical mobile apps. The FDA’s continuous deregulation paved the way for Apple and Google’s entry into the digital healthcare industry.
In fact, the US announced the ‘draft of the guideline for mobile medical app regulations’ in 2011 and thereafter released more specific guideline for standards of FDA permission subjects in 2013.
Samsung develops technology to double battery capacity By Chung Seung-hwan
South Korea’s Samsung Electronics has achieved an innovative technology that doubles battery capacity for smartphones and electric vehicles.
Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology announced on Thursday that it succeeded in developing a technology of cathode material that materializes energy density almost double the existing lithium-ion battery.
The research result was published in Nature Communications, a science journal published online-only, with the title of ‘Silicon carbide-free graphene growth on silicon for lithium-ion battery with high volumetric energy density.’
Graphite is usually used as cathode material of battery but silicon coated with graphene, which was developed by Samsung, has the capacity four times bigger than graphite and, when it is applied to lithium-ion battery, this battery can materialize the energy density twice more than the existing battery.
Graphene is a two-dimensional crystalline material consisting of six carbon atoms. It is 100 times stronger than steel and has very high level of conductivity of thermoelectricity. Samsung Electronics applied for a total of five patents related to this technology in the US, Europe, China and Korea.
Sohn In-hyuk, a researcher of the think tank, said, “the latest research is the result of applying the manufacturing method of high crystalline graphene to silicon cathode to significantly raise the capacity of lithium-ion battery.
Prosecutors acquits Natural Endotech of fake ‘Baeksuho’ product sales By Ji Hong-goo
South Korea’s prosecutors said it acquits Natural Endotech and its CEO of alleged production and sales of fake herb products.
Suwon district prosecutors office said Friday, “it is hard to conclude that Natural Endotech intentionally mixed fake ingredient of Cynanchum auriculatum Royal into Cynanchum wilfordii (called ‘Baeksuho’ in Korean) products.”
Naturalendo Tech earned around 120 billion won ($107 million) annually from Baeksuho products.
Prosecutors said, “the firm annually spent around two billion won for ingredients, of which three percent was for the fake ingredient” It added, “there is no intentionality in its alleged acts of mixing the fake herb and neglecting the fact.”
Additionally, the firm used its own technique and conducted an on-site inspection into the herb-planting lands, prosecutors cited as a reason for acquittal.
Asked about whether the fake herb contains toxic substances, prosecutors replied, “we need more scientific evidence to make a conclusion.”
Under the law, Cynanchum auriculatum Royal is not recognized as the ingredient for health supplementary products, but China and Taiwan approve it as a food ingredient.
However, prosecutors noted, “we ban the use of the herb until the food authorities approve based on the toxicity test.”
Maeil Business's 10 proposals for S. Korea to become software powerhouse By Yoon Won-sup
The Maeil Business Newspaper selected 10 proposals for South Korea to become a software powerhouse, based on opinions collected from readers while running a series of six articles, as well as a survey of software experts at home and abroad. The proposals focus on specifically what key players in the society, including the government, companies and educational institutions, should do.
First, a software promotion control tower under immediate control of the President is needed to transform an outdated industrial structure into a software-oriented one and establish a software-based society.
Second, in order for future public servants to grasp the value of software products and reflect it to their work, software subject should be included in civil service examination.
Third, experts suggest introducing an exam, which could evaluate coding ability, like TOEIC, as an alternative to poor university education on software.
Fourth, a software master system should be adopted.
Fifth, the Ministry of Employment and Labor should strengthen software vocational training in retraining for employment.
Sixth, special cases of military service should be expanded for high qualified software talents
Seventh, software companies should allow two tracks for developers. The companies should provide developers with options: continuing to work in development area till retirement age or becoming an executive.
Eight, an ‘investment meeting hall’ where software venture business people and investors can have a meeting regularly should be established in Pangyo Techno Valley where software venture companies are concentrated.
Ninth, software quality competitiveness should be raised with open source.
Tenth, the software area should be nurtured to create another Kim Jung Ju who founded Korea’s largest game company.
Corestem surges on IPO day By Kim Jan-dee
Stem cell therapy provider Corestem shot up on its first day of trade Friday.
The stock’s initial price was set at 32,000 won, twice higher than its IPO price of 16,000 won and climbed to its daily limit high.
Established in 2003, the company developed a stem cell therapy to treat Lou Gehrig's disease for the first time in the world.
POSCO drops Daewoo Int’l stake sale plan By Kim Jan-dee
POSCO said Friday it will not push a plan to separate and sell the resource development business of affiliate company Daewoo International.
POSCO had planned to dispose of Daewoo International’s stake in a Myanmar natural gas project, but triggered strong objection from company employees.
Semicon Light extends strong gains By Ko Deuk-gwan
LED manufacturer Semicon Light extended gains on its second day of trade Friday.
At 2:36 p.m., the stock advanced 20.40 percent to 18,000 won.
The stock’s IPO price was 11,300 won. The initial price was 11,500 won Thursday and rose by 30 percent to close at 14,950 won.
KTB Investment cuts target price on Hyundai E&C By Kim Jan-dee
KTB Investment & Securities lowered its target price on Hyundai Engineering & Construction from 68,000 won to 65,000 won, saying the builder’s new orders and earnings will be disappointing in the second quarter. But the stock brokerage maintained a ‘Buy’ rating on the builder.
Q2 consolidated sales will fall 2.6 percent year-on-year to 4.58 trillion won ($4.10 billion) and operating profit will decline 8.9 percent to 254.6 billion won as large projects outside the Middle East have yet to begin, said Kim Sun-mi, an analyst at KTB Investment & Securities.
But the company’s overseas orders will recover from the third quarter, Kim said.
HMC Investment Securities to invest into DHL’s aircraft By Kang Da-young
HMC Investment Securities has signed with domestic institutional investors on an aircraft investment agreement worth $92 million.
According to HMC Investment Securities on Wednesday, KDB Daewoo Securities and other investors will jointly invest into B777-200LRF aircraft used by global logistics firm DHL.
HMC Investment Securities and KDB Daewoo Securities will set up an SPC to buy a stake in the aircraft. A 6 to 8 percent annual return is expected.
DHL is wholly owned by Deutsche Post.
Daewoong Pharm extends gains on hope of new drug development By Jeon Kyung-woon
Daewoong Pharm rose to another new high on speculation the drug company will be benefited by new drug development by its affiliate.
The company’s stock price gained 3.68 percent to end at 141,000 won. Daewoong Pharm rose more than 50 percent this month and 100 percent this year.
Daewoong Pharm recently acquired a 30.2 percent stake in Hanall Biopharma to strengthen its drug development capability.
Natural Endotech hits daily limit high on no indictment By Ko Deuk-gwan
Natural Endotech shares surged after news prosecutors concluded that no charge should be brought against the company regarding the nationwide controversy over its fake ingredients.
The company’s stock price jumped 29.75 percent, the day’s daily limit high, to end at 21,150 won.
National Assembly stalls as Park vetoes bill By Woo Je-yoon, Kim Gang-rae
With the political deadlock caused by the exercise of veto by South Korean President Park Geun-hye, the National Assembly has stalled once again.
As Moon Jae-in, leader of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) fought back with a statement to the nation in response to the tough stance of the president, the standstill seems to last long. This has sparked concerns over the possible resurgence of the National Assembly in a ‘vegetative state,’ in which not a single bill had been passed for about five months last year in the aftermath of the Sewol Ferry disaster.
Historically, each National Assembly went through crippled operations, but the 19th Assembly is seen as the worst dysfunctional Assembly in history in terms of passing bills.
A case in point is the political quagmire last year following the outbreak of Sewol ferry accident. The National Assembly came to a halt as the opposition party held back the National Assembly by saying, “any bill cannot be dealt with before a special law on Sewol Ferry is passed,” and thereafter not a single bill for public livelihood was passed.
At the time, the ruling and opposition parties continued negotiations on core issues of the special bill such as the selection of a head of a special investigation committee for the normalization of the National Assembly but the negotiations derailed every time because of wide difference of opinions. As Park Young-sun, then floor leader of the NPAD, faced a strong opposition of hardliners within the opposition party to broke agreements twice with Lee Wan-koo, then floor leader of the Saenuri party, her leadership took a heavy blow.
After all, from May to September last year, the National Assembly did not address any bill.
National Assembly stalls in political strife By Shin Heon-chul, Cho Si-young
All of nine parliamentary standing committee meetings were cancelled Friday, following a failure to handle 60 pending bills, including one on crowdfunding Thursday, a major political backlash against President Park Geun-hye who Thursday vetoed a parliamentary bill designed to empower the National Assembly to challenge government enactment.
Park denounced it as the assembly’s encroachment on administrative rights.
Park’s refusal triggered the main opposition party to declare an all-out boycott of assembly schedules until parliament holds a revote.
Moon Jae-in, the leader of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, issued a public notice, accusing the presidential office of fueling political strife. “Park looked to be willing to disband the National Assembly if she can. President Park looked down upon and insulted the Assembly,” Moon said. “Only the opposition party is left in the Assembly. President’s communication inability and bigotry should be judged by the nation.”
In contrast, the ruling Saenuri Party chief Kim Moo-sung s said, “Nothing can be done if the opposition party has dissents under the National Assembly Advancement Act.” “It is true that the opposition party did not cooperate in passing bills related to boosting economy.”
Last year the National Assembly was not able to handle any single bill for 150 days due to a parliamentary standoff over the enactment of a Sewol ferry special law.
Saenuri party’s fractional feud intensifying By Kim Seon-gul, Shin Heon-chul
Tension within the ruling party is mounting over the future position of its floor leader Yoo Seung-min.
Regarding Mr Yoo’s future position, the Saenuri Party policymaker Yoon Sang-hyun who is also a special advisor on state affairs said Friday, “the policymakers do not seem to aware the seriousness of the relations between the party and presidential office.” He further commented, “as I know, the true leader should ask himself about what to do, not asking to others.”
At the policymakers’ general meeting on Thursday, the Saenuri Party had agreed to restore party-presidential office relations on the condition that Mr Yoo does not resign.
At meeting held at the National Assembly Friday, “I sincerely offer apologies to President Park Geun-hye.” He added, “I am deeply sorry for not providing enough support for her.” However, things are hardly abating.
Some even are talking about supreme council members’ resignation and the possibility of early national convention to pressure Mr Yoo.
Presidential office is also showing an intention that it would not just let the issue fade away.
Ruling party floor leader says, “I would endure toward the end” By Shin Heon-chul
The Saenuri Party floor leader Yoo Seung-min, who is being forced into extreme amid the pro- President Park Geun-hye faction’s call to resign, is said to have expressed his willingness, “I would endure toward the end.”
According to sources from the ruling party Sunday, Mr Yoo delivered his message, saying, “I am mentally and physically weak now, but would endure this toward the end.” Reportedly, his close aides also advised Mr Yoo not to totter.
Floor leader Yoo visited Daegu on weekends. On every weekend, he goes to Daegu to take care of his father sick in bed.
However, after coming back to Seoul on Sunday, he has not arranged any meetings with aides. He is avoiding press interview or gatherings to be conscious of the presidential office, but seems to contact with his aides individually and draw up countermeasures.
Regarding the way to persuade the Pro-Park party faction members, Mr Yoo is reported to say that he would contact with them individually. However, nothing is confirmed over whether chief of pro-President Park Geun-hye fraction Seo Chung-won and Mr Yoo had contacted with each other during the weekend.
Regarding the issue, a non-Park’s fraction policymaker believed, “unless the nation has new President, the pro-Park fraction would stick to its stance.”
[Press Release]6th ROK-Israel Joint Economic Committee Meeting to Take Place(June 22, 2015)[Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
[Press Release]UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to Visit the ROK(June 22, 2015)[Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
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