By Na Hyun-joon
Kim Sang-jo, a professor and outspoken critic of South Korean’s family-run chaebols, particularly, Samsung Group, picked by President Moon Jae-in who had vowed to reform chaebols to head the antitrust agency, pledged to be stricter on the four major business conglomerates.
“Since the four groups - Samsung, Hyundai Motor, LG, and SK - make up two thirds of the assets of top 30 conglomerates - (antitrust) regulations on chaebols should be focused on them,” the nominee to chair the Fair Trade Commission said in apres conference on Thursday.
Kim who had been the architect of Moon’s campaign slogan to reform the archetypal ownership structure of Korean chaebols where members of a single family over generations control an umbrella of companies and build riches with a limited equity share said the president approved of his direction to overhaul the chaebol system.
Moon under Kim’s recommendations has vowed tougher crackdown on abnormal business practices of chaebol families including interest-building through cross-sharing structure and abuse of their market predominance to help level out the playing field for smaller players.
On the demand for easing the banking law that restricts non-financial companies’ ownership in banks and other financial institutions - namely to prevent chaebols from dominating the financial industry as well - to vitalize growth of internet banks and new forms of financial services, the issue needs to be reviewed and coordinated along with other government agencies, he said.
Kim would be able to start the ministerial-level office upon confirmed by the National Assembly.