South Korea: Hite Jinro CEO expects fiercer competition on liquor market this year
Hite Jinro CEO Kim In-kyu expressed his will to lead the liquor market based on innovation this year, the Korea IT Times reported on March 23.
"This year's liquor market will face fiercer competition than last year due to the introduction of a quantity-based tax on beer, changes in the business environment due to the notification of the National Tax Service, and the launch of a series of new products by competitors," Kim said at the 68th shareholders' meeting of Hite Jinro held at the Hotel in Seocho-gu, Seoul on March 20.
Hite Jinro appointed Lee Ku-yeon, a former managing director of Hite Brewery, as an outside director on the same day. Kim In-kyu was reelected as an in-house director this time thanks to the success of new products Terra and Jinro Is Back.
Hite Jinro surpassed 2 trillion won in sales for the first time in seven years last year on the back of the popularity of new products such as Terra and Jinro Is Back. The company posted 2.035 trillion won in consolidated sales and 88.2 billion won in operating profit last year.
Thanks to the strong performance, Hite Jinro held an overseas business briefing in New York last month and announced its plan to turn its beer business into a surplus this year, which has been in the red for five years.
The global economy was the slowest growth since the global financial crisis last year due to uncertainties stemming from the U.S.-China trade dispute and economic slowdown in major advanced countries, Kim said, adding that internal and external conflicts triggered by diplomatic and political problems between South Korea and Japan have further added to the difficult conditions of the domestic economy.
"Even under difficult circumstances, we found a breakthrough in the crisis and saw hope through the efforts of all executives and employees," he added. "Terra and Jinro Is Back, which focused on all their capabilities and technologies, responded well in the market and achieved a turning point in their performance."
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