Wednesday, November 5, 2014

LTW: Flexing Air Muscle, Elder Divorce, and K-Biz Environment

1. National
1) Leaders of North and South Korea flex air muscle
South Korean president Park Geun-hye thumbed up at a ceremony to mark the first deployment of FA-50 fighter jets manufactured with Korea’s indigenous technologies. South Korea plans to produce 60 FA-50 jets to replace old F-5 fighters. Tit for tat, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un also visited an airbase, pushing buttons in a cockpit of Mig-29. The once warming relationship initiated by Kim’s top 3 cronies’ visit to South Korea a month ago is now cooling down rapidly over propaganda leaflets flown by balloons to North Korea, and the pictures of the two leaders in fighter jets were the testimony of cold Korean peninsula.

Kim Jong-un’s next photo to be released soon would be with his thumbs at his nose in front of a rocket launch pad, Kim offering Obama free carriage of supplies for the International Space Station that Antares rocket failed to do so last week.

2) More old couples divorce than young ones
According to the Office of Court Administration, the number of divorces in 2013 among couples married 20 years or longer was 32,433, or 28.1%, taking up the most of the total 115,292 separations. The number for newly married couples less than 5 years followed with 27,299 cases, or 23.7%.  The top reason for divorce for old couples was irreconcilable differences with 47.2%, followed by financial problems (12.7%), adultery (7.6%) and conflicts between family members (7.0%). In the mean while, the number of total splits has increased for three years straight, from 114,707 in 2011 to 115,292 in 2013.
My marriage was in serious danger during Chooseok, Korean Thanksgiving holidays, in 2001. I had secretly lent some money a few months before Chooseok to a friend of mine whom my wife thought not trustworthy. On Chooseok, my friend paid a visit to my father’s house near Gimpo Airport while I was out for some walk, and returned the money to my father, saying “Please pass this money I borrowed to HyungSik” The problem was my wife was there with my father. The recent frosty Park Geun-hye and Kim Jong Un relationship was a honeymoon compared to mine with my wife for the next two weeks after Chooseok. .

2. Economy
1) Korea scores high in business environment
According to the “Doing Business 2015” report by World Bank, Korea ranked 5th out of 189 WB member nations in terms of providing a good environment for business. The evaluation was based on 10 areas; starting a business, obtaining construction permits, access to electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, contract reinforcement and resolving insolvency. Korea scored high for electricity and trading across borders, but low in registering property. Singapore topped the list with U.S. and Japan ranking 7th and 29th, respectively.
 It was lucky for Korea the survey didn’t have ‘labor relationship’ as one of the categories. The militant labor union culture has been prevailing since 1987 when union was legalized after democracy movement. A case in point. While Hyundai Heavy Industry has been suffering from big loss two quarters in a row, 1.1 trillion won in Q2 and another 1.9 trillion in Q3, its union are on strike demanding 6.51% wage increase and 250% bonus, wrongly thinking HHI is a fountain that never dries up.

3. Auto Industry
1) GM Korea to pay for overstated Cruze gas mileage
The Korean version of Department of Transportation said GM Korea voluntarily promised to pay 420,000 won ($400) to owners of Cruze for exaggerated fuel economy claims. The government said the combined mileage for the 1.8L version did not meet the stated 12.4 km/L, rather recording 11 km per liter.  It is expected to have 33 billion won impact to GM Korea.  This is the 2nd time an automaker in Korea had to compensate for false advertising of gas mileage after Hyundai Santa Fe in August this year.
If the Cruze mileage was a negative story, GM Korea had lots of positive news. Its Malibu diesel model is selling like hot cakes, with its sales only restricted by the diesel engines GM Korea has to import from Europe. The combined sale of its 3 RV models (Orlando, Captiva, and Trax) has increased by 29% from the same period last year. These successes have made GM Korea see its sales quadruple in just 12 years after GM bought it from Daewoo. Big hands to GM Korea!

2) Elantra hits 10 million after 24 years
Hyundai Elantra (Avante in Korea) became the first Korean model to reach the 10 million milestone in cumulative global sale, after 24 years its first generation launch in 1990. Only 10 other models have done so, including Toyota Corolla, VW Golf and Beetle, Honda Civic and Ford Focus. Some 7.4 million units were marketed in 177 countries, while around 2.6 million were sold in Korea. About 6.4 million units were manufactured in its Ulsan plant in Korea, while the rest were produced in China, India and the U.S.

I worked on 2nd generation Elantra that launched in 1995 as a manufacturing engineer. My responsibility was on moving system that includes doors and I had to hear lots of whining noise from my boss who kept forcing me to make better quality Elantra. If you happen to still own a 2nd generation Elantra and hear some nagging wind noise, just be happy with it. It is probably only one tenth of decibel I had to take from my boss. I didn’t say it was you, JJ Kim!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

L2W: Severance Splits, IT Theft, BMW Test Drives

The Supreme Court ruled that a retirement pension or severance payment expected in the future should be included in the property to be divided when a married couple files for divorce, ending a 1995 precedent that ruled the opposite. Pension and severance pay were excluded in divorce settlement because it was difficult to calculate how big they would be. The Supreme Court decision last week was about a divorce suit over a couple of 14 years of marriage, in which the husband requested a share of his wife’s pension, claiming he had contributed to his wife’s career as a teacher.
With close to 30 years working in two companies in my career, I am also entitled to get pension and severance pay upon retiring. My wife has been working at home. There would be no divorce with my wife.

2. Economy
1) GM Korea O.K with fixed bonus as ordinary wage
GM Korea said it would count fixed bonuses as “ordinary wage” to make a deal with union workers threatening to go on strike over wages. While this proposal can avoid the risk of losing its recent sales momentum, it will cost the company significant money to keep its 14,000 employees as overtime payment is based on ordinary wage. A GM Korea spokesman said the decision reflects the company’s will to prevent anything that can disrupt the firm’s revitalization. GM Korea’s domestic sales reached 71,958 units from Jan to July, up 10.4% year-on-year and the highest output since 2004.
A local newspaper had a conspiracy theory, reporting GM’s decision might be intended to cut the cost competitiveness of its competitor Hyundai and Kia, which are also fighting against the union over the same ordinary wage issue. There was no man on the moon, and Sept 11 was the work of CIA, to the newspaper reporter.  

2) Samsung IT products robbed overseas
A Samsung factory in Sao PauloBrazil was robbed after two dozen armed bandits walked away with 40,000 smart phones and lap tops worth 36 million dollars on Jul 7 when eyes of whole world were on Brazil for the World Cup. This was not the first time Samsung has been the victim of robbery overseas. Its two state-of-the-art OLED TVs en route to a trade show in Berlin disappeared in transit in Sept 2012. In Oct 2012, 1,400 Galaxy Note 2 were lost in storage at a cargo depot in Kuala LumpurMalaysia, costing the company 1.16 billion won ($1.1M). Smarphones have become targets as they are small, but can bring good money when sold on the black market.

LG, a big rival to Samsung, probably didn’t want to be outdone. It also suffered robbery in October last year when a truck loaded with 22,999 G2 smartphones worth 15.8 billion won ($15.5M) disappeared in Kentucky while the truck driver stopped to go to toilet at a restaurant. Not clear whether the restaurant was KFC, though.

3. Auto Industry
1) Samsung SDI signs MOU for BMW EV battery
Samsung SDI and BMW signed a memorandum of understanding on Jul 14 for the supply of SDI’s EV batteries at BMW’s new driving center in Incheon. Though how much exactly the MOU is worth is not known, it is estimated to be billions of U.S. dollars.  Samsung SDI supplies batteries for BMW i3 launched last year, as well as electric sports car i8 to be released this fall. BMW sold 5,396 i3 EVs in the first half of this year, with U.S. sales exceeding 1,000 units in May. Samsung earlier signed a next generation EV battery supply agreement with Ford last month, is close to make a supply contract with Tesla.

Lee Kun-hee, the owner of whole Samsung and thus the richest man in Korea, was not at the signing ceremony as he is in coma from May 10. Samsung being the economic locomotive for Korean economy, many are wishing Mr. Lee get his health fully recharged like his SDI batteries and spring back to his office soon.

2) Grand opening for BMW’s test drive center in Korea
BMW has completed a test drive center in Incheon near Incheon Airport, its first in Asia. With 77 billion won ($75M) investment in 240K sq.m land, the size of 33 football fields, the test drive center has 2.6km closed circuit racetrack as well as training academy and showroom. It also has BMW’s fifth R&D center located at the center, with 20 engineers who focus on navigation systems designed for Korean terrain and car battery technology.

BMW is the No.1 foreign brands in Korea, selling close to 16,000 units in 2013, taking over 10% of import market share. Its 520d was the best selling import model with 8,346 units sold. BMW being so popular in Korea, many Koreans take pride in using BMWs for their basic transportation; Bus Metro and Walk.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

L2W: Xi in SK before NK, DMZ Tragedy, & Illegal Subtitles

1. National
1) Chine leader Xi Jinping in Seoul, prior to Pyongyang
Xi Jinping visited Korea on July 3, the first time ever a Chinese leader made his first visit to South Korea, before its ‘blood ally’ North Korea. Xi and Korean president Park Gun-hye jointly announced nuclear free Korean peninsula and expedited FTA by the end of this year as well as other announcements that can put the U.S. and Japan in difficult position. Xi also met with Korean business leaders including Hyundai Chairman Chung Mongkoo who appealed for Chinese government approval for its new auto plant in Chongqing. Feeling betrayed by his big brother, outraged Kim Jong-un fired two missiles to East Sea in protest just a day before Xi’s visit. 
 The U.S. government was clearly not happy that South Korea is getting close to each other, in fear of a crack in U.S.-Japan-South Korea alliance against China for regional peace. So uncomfortable that the U.S. State Department even declined comment on the Xi-Park summit meeting result. Park Geun-hye now has to dance under two loud speakers that blare out Love me tender and Saturday Night Fever separately at the same time. 

2) A Fragging in DMZ kills five of his comrades
A Korean soldier serving in DMZ, identified as Sergeant Lim, threw a grenade and fired at his fellow soldiers, killing 5 and wounding 7 others on Jun 21. He was caught wounded two days later after failed suicide attempt in standoff. It is reported that Lim had hard time to fit in, been harassed by other soldiers and often been taunted by those even under his rank. Lim lost his temper when he saw graffiti on a wall in the post, depicting him as a skeleton. Though Lim was classified as the soldier that needed extra supervision because of his mental problem, he was put in to patrol DMZ with live ammunition as there were not enough soldiers. Too tragic as Sergeant Lim and his victims were young men who were defending the nation at the most dangerous area under military duty at $100 a month. 
Korean military is facing lack of young men due to low birth rate these days, and it may be a time to think about conscripting females for equal opportunity. My wife swims longer than I, talks faster than I, yells louder than I, cooks better and I, and even negotiates harder than I with Louis Vuitton salesman. She was definitely better prepared to fight against North Korean army than I was 32 years ago.

2. Economy
1) Koreans sued over ‘illegal subtitles’ by U.S. TV producers
Police is investigating 15 Koreans after Warner Bros. and other U.S. TV producers sued them for creating subtitles for popular American TV series distributed illegally on the internet. This is the first time that individuals have been sued for merely making the subtitles for pirated TV series. American TV series have become very popular among young people after “Prison Break’ in 2005, and some 40% of Korean adults have been exposed to U.S. dramas through various channels. One of the biggest domestic websites streaming U.S. series has more than 200,000 members, some of whom voluntarily create subtitles and upload them. 
 I have learned English for 40 years, served in a U.S. military base for 2 years, worked in Hyundai Canada for five years, currently have been working for an American company for over 15 years, but still have problems in understanding American movies or soap operas without subtitles, especially when they are about comedy or complicated conspiracy. I wish the defendants win the lawsuit, and the sooner the better, as I can no longer fully enjoy all the good jokes by Leonard and Sheldon in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ without the subtitles.  

3. Auto Industry
1) Kumho expands its tire plant in Georgia
Kumho Tire, Korea’s No.2 tire maker after Hankook Tire, announced it is resuming construction of its plant in Macon, Georgia with investment of $413M to finish the construction by 2016.  The plant got a ground breaking in 2008, but the construction was halted after Kumho went to a debt workout program in 2009 during Lehman Brothers crisis.  Kumho said the Georgia plant will have annual production of 4 million tires. Kumho is currently the largest tire supplier for Hyundai Alabama and Kia Georgia plant. Kumho is relying on North American market for 20% of its total sales. Kumho has technical alliance with Yokohama Rubber.
 Kumho Tire and Asiana Airlines are subsidiary companies of Kumho Group.  Founded by late Park In-chon who started taxi business with two old American cars at the age of 46 in 1946, Kumho Group has expanded its business mostly in transportation business with 36 subsidiary companies. Kumho was Mr.Park’s pen name. 

2) Renault Samsung Motors offers diesel sedans
RSM announced it already has received 1,500 contracts for its SM5 Diesel sedan powered by Renaults’ 1.5 dCi diesel engine imported since it started accepting pre-orders on Jun 23. It said its SM5 D will be different from its competitors’ models as it is a ‘segment break,’ offering a downsized engine for customers who want European pragmatic style. RSM’s SM5 D is another proof Koreans are hot with diesel cars. Nine out of ten top selling import models are diesel.  Hyundai recently launched its Grandeur (Azera) with R 2.2L diesel engine to fight against German premium diesel sedans, while GM Korea has started selling Malibu Diesel, which has 2.0L turbo manufactured in Germany
 Despite high fuel efficiency, Koreans used to shun diesel engines for passenger cars because of noise from vibrations unique to diesel engines. Not any longer. With better technology products such as high performance balance shaft modules and isolation pulleys to control vibration, the diesel engines have become much quieter. I wish my wife also has good balance shaft modules and isolation pulleys when she is shopping in Louis Vuitton stores.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

L2W - Red Devil Downer, Hangover, & Posco Power

1. National
1) Korea unlikely to advance to next round in Brazil
Korean soccer team got a good start with 1-1 draw against Russia in the World Cup in Brazil, but fell into a deep swamp after a shameful 4-2 defeat against Algeria on Jun 22. Korea can advance to next round only if it wins against mighty Belgium, and Russia wins against Algeria with just one, not two or more, goal lead, which would be no better than anticipating a snowstorm in Death Valley in July. Other three Asian nations in Brazil World Cup, Australia, Japan and Iran, are also facing the same fate as Korea. Koreans are just to be content to be in the World Cup 8 times in a row from 1986 Mexico World Cup, the most in Asia.  
Lee Keun-ho, the one who scored the goal against Russia, is recorded as the lowest paid player in Brazil WC, getting only 1.78 million won (U$1,745) a year, while the Russian goalie who allowed Lee a goal is paid $29.9 million, 17,000 times more than Lee. No joke as Lee is currently serving in the Korean army as a sergeant. 

2) Psy’s new release reaches No.26 on Billboard
Psy’s new single ‘Hangover’ debuted at No.26 on last week’s Billboard Hot 100, making him the first Asian to have three songs in the Top 30. The other two are Gangnam Style and Gentleman. The Hangover, which features Snoop Dogg, is about Korea’s notorious drinking culture, such as boilermaker, karaoke bar and love shot. It has attracted 78 million views on Youtube in just two weeks while Psy’s Gangnam Style has racked up over 2 billion Youtube hits, the record that may not be easy to break for a while. Psy plans to release his next song ‘Daddy’ in August.
I was in Barcelona a couple years ago, drinking lots of Spanish wine with many love shots with my colleagues. Psy would have hired me , not Snoop Dogg, had he seen me in hangover in Barcelona two years ago.

2. Economy
1) Posco ranked as the most influential steel maker
World Steel Dynamics (WSD) selected Posco as the world’s most influential steelmaker of the year, with 7.91 score out of 10 points. Posco has made the No.1 title for the past 5 years. America’s Nucor was the runner up, followed by Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal.  Hyundai Motor’s sister company Hyundai Steel was ranked 9th. The WSD evaluates the world’s 36 steelmakers in 23 categories including productivity, profitability and technology. 
Posco had been the only supplier that asked ‘why?’ instead of ‘how high?” when told to jump by Korean auto makers because Posco had enjoyed a virtual monopoly on steel supply in Korea since its establishment in 1968. Hyundai decided to build its own steel mill in 2004 after buying then bankrupt Hanbo Steel in Dangjin located 30 minutes southwest of Pyeongtaek. That was when Hyundai probably had knee injury from constantly jumping high to please a Tier 4 supplier. 

3. Auto Industry
1) Bosch Korea to invest $60M in 2014
Hermann Kaess, Bosch Korea president, announced it will invest 62 billion won ($60M) this year as it celebrates its 25 years in Korea. Most of the investment will be spent for the manufacturing of engine direct injection products at its Daejon plant “to maintain local efforts and contribute to Korea’s long-term development.”  Mr.Kaess also said the company has high hopes in micromechanical sensors (MEMS), a key technology when it comes to the internet of Things and services. Bosch Korea had consolidated sales of 1.8 trillion won (U$1.7B) in 2013.
Being No.1 or No2. auto supplier in the world, Bosch is very well known to Koreans in auto industry. It is a different story for those outside the auto world. The first comment Psy would make when he hears Bosch would be “Ah, that Anheuser-Busch! This Bud’s For You!” 

2) Hyundai won the glory back
Hyundai Motor came first among 20 brands exclusive of luxury brands in the latest 2014 Initial Quality Survey by JD Power and Associates. This is the third time it ranked top after 2006 and 2009. Hyundai ranked 5th last year. If to include luxury brands, Hyundai was fourth after Porsche, Jaguar and Lexus. Hyundai’s sister Kia also did well, ranking 3rd in a tie with Chevrolet. Launched in 1968, JD Power IQS survey is the most used reference by American consumers, looking at owner-reported problems in the first 0- days of new-vehicle ownership.
June always came as a trauma to Hyundai engineers, including me, in the 90’s as it was the month JD Power’s IQS ranking was released. With low quality level, Hyundai was in a race against Kia, then Hyundai’s competitor, to get out of the bottom, and it was a dream to reach in the middle of the pack. I was responsible for wind noise score for the Sonata produced in Hyundai’s Bromont plant, and I had to bear with lots of whining noise from my Big boss for one full year until the next IQS release. I didn’t say it was you, Mr. SB Lee. 


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

LTW - PM Withdrawal, Another U.S. Captive in NK, & Too Much Work

Ahn Dae-hee, former Supreme Court judge known as Mr.Clean Hands, withdraw from his nomination as prime minister just six days after nomination, a setback for President Park Geun-hye’s efforts to make the government straight after the ferry incident in April. Ahn has been accused of making 1.6 billion won ($1.5M) in six months from July 2013 to Dec 2014 by working as a lawyer after his retirement from Supreme Court in 2012. He denied any wrong doing or conflict of interest through connections, and said he was withdrawing only to avoid putting burden on Park’s administration. Park has to find a new candidate to have him pass the hearings.
 Ahn has a perfect career history as a judge for over 30 years, but it was the money he earned as a private lawyer with good reputation that made him withdraw for the PM job. Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona made over 6 million dollars in Spanish La Liga last year while a friend of my son in FC Seoul made mere 40K dollars in Korean soccer league. Lionel Messi should withdraw from Brazil World Cup starting next week.

2) Another American held captive in N.Korea
Jeffery Fowle, a 56-year-old man from Ohio, became another American arrested in North Korea on charges of violating the national law. Fowled arrived in North Korea on April 29 as a tourists, and is arrested for leaving a Bible in his hotel room. There are other two American detainees in North Korea; Kenneth Bae, who has been held since Nov 2012 and is serving 15 year of hard labor for “hostile acts against the state,” and the other Matthew Miller, 24, who entered the country on Apr 10, allegedly seeking asylum in North Korea. North Korea has been using American detainees as a leverage to open dialogues with the U.S.
There is a safe and easy way to travel to North Korea. Practice basketball well enough to play in NBA, paint your body with colorful tattoos, and have a weird nickname like “worm.”

2. Economy
1) Korean work long hours and, years also
It is well known Koreans work long hours, and it became known by recent OECD survey that Koreans also work longest years after retirement. Korea’s official retirement age is 60, but Korean men on average work another 11.1 years more before they effectively retire. Mexican men had the 2nd longest interval between official retirement and effective retirement, with 7.3 years, followed by Chilean men with 4.4 years. Korean men’s average life expectancy was 84.1 years, meaning Korean men have only 13 years to live after effective retirement. A relatively weak pension infrastructure was the key reason for Koreans working after retirement.
Korean often open their own small business after their retirement. What are the most popular small businesses for the retirees?  In a survey in 2013, multi media shops like PC Room, screen golf and Karaoke were most popular with 39%, followed by restaurants and bars with 21%, because of low entry barrier. The problem is over 90% of these small shops close after 5 years and signboard shops should be the lucrative business to go to.

3. Auto Industry
1) Samsung SDI to make batteries for Ford
Samsung SDI announced it will jointly develop with Ford next generation lithium-ion batteries that is 40% lighter and has better energy efficiency than the standard lead-acid battery for gas-fuelled vehicles. The car battery business is one of the five areas Samsung Group has selected in 2010 as new growth engines. The other four are solar cells, LEDs, medical instruments and bioengineering. Samsung SDI accounted for 25.8% of the global small sized secondary cell market last year, leading the market for four years in a row since 2010.
I recently had a dinner with a gentleman working for the development of electric vehicles in Korea’s largest OEM. He said the days of fully electric vehicles will be coming, not as early as many experts are expecting because of the three reasons. “First, customers wouldn’t stand losing 4 hours to recharge the batteries at a battery station. Second, the government would be losing tax money from the gasoline. Third, many people like you working in auto suppliers will be losing jobs.”

2) Hyundai Russia won quality prize from Medvedev
Hyundai Russia won the grand prize in quality management in a ceremony in Moscow led by PM Dmitry Medvedev. It was the first time the award was given to a foreign company. Hyundai received the award just three years after its launch in St. Petersburg in Russia. The company was praised for the quality of its cars, as well as its corporate leadership customer service and corporate social responsibility efforts. Hyundai Russia’s Solaris, Accent in Korea, is the best selling import compact car, holding nearly 15% of the market share. It was also chosen as the bet compact car as the Russian Car of the Year awards for 3 years consecutively.
Mr.MK Shin, the plant manager in Hyundai Russia, was at the ceremony, receiving the award from Medvedev. Mr. Shin spent most of his 34 years in Hyundai at quality division. The only time he worked outside quality was 1998-1999 when he worked in Overseas Engineering department with me. He was fast speaking, full of energy and dedicated to work. I personally liked him as he was the only one in my department who made me look tall.



Monday, May 26, 2014

L2W - Ferry Fugitive, Election Season, & Chinese Cash

1. National
1) Ferry owner under most wanted list
Yoo Byung-eon, the owner of ill fated ferry operator and leader of a religious cult, is being chased by the police with 500 million won ($500K) on his head. Besides culpability in the ferry disaster in April, Yoo is suspected of embezzling 129 billion won from his companies, and selling calendars with his photos at 5 million won ($5,000) a piece to his companies. They include 44.6 billion won he transferred overseas illegally. It is reported that Yoo is attempting to stow away out of Korea with his 2nd son.  The government plans to seize his asset to pay for the cost incurred by the ferry accident as well as the jail sentence for him.

Interested in earning the 500 million won bonanza instantly? Open your eyes wide, and look for a gentleman who is 99% copy of Col. Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken 

2) June 4 local election heats up
Candidates for the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy are leading the key three regions in Korea, Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province, for June 4 local elections, according to the latest poll. In Seoul, the NPAD’s incumbent mayor Park Won-soon has a clear lead over ruling Saenuri party’s Chung Mong-joon, with 51% vs. Chung’s 35.4%. In Incheon, the incumbent candidate from NPAD is leading by comfortable 10%, while it is neck and neck with less than 1% gap in Gyeonggi Province. Chung Mong-joon, the chairman of Hyundai Heavy Industries, used to have a slight lead over Park Won-soon, but had to watch his popularity drop because of his teenage son’s comment on his Facebook after the ferry disaster. He wrote “Koreans must be uncivilized to throw water bottles at the Prime Minister, and swear four letter words at the president who were at the scene to urge quick rescue effort.” Experts think the ruling party and President Park Geun-hye are bearing the brunt of public anger over the ferry disaster.

Opposition party leader claims that president Park Geun-hye has to be totally responsible for the Apr 16 ferry disaster. As there has been no ferry accident since then, the president must be doing a pretty darn good job these days then. 

2. Economy
1) Park attends international debut of Korean reactor
President Park Geun-hye attended the event celebrating the installation of a Korean made nuclear reactor in U.A.E on May 20. Built by Doosan Heavy Industries, the reactor is the first to be exported overseas. Korean companies have won U$18.6 billion worth of orders for 4 reactors until 2020. The two countries made diplomatic ties in 1975, and the relationship got a momentum in 2009 when Korea won the deal to build four 1,400 megawatt nuclear reactors at $20 billion by 2020. After the ceremony, Park made a visit to a Korean military base near Abu Dhabi where Korean soldiers are training U.A.E forces as part of the nuclear deal. 
Kim Jong-un must be complaining why South Korea can make and export nuclear reactors freely, while he becomes an Adidas soccer ball in Brazil World Cup to do the same. Well, it would O.K if Col. Sanders has a knife in his kitchen, but not, if Ted Bundy has one in his pocket. 

2) Much Chinese money falling in Korea
Some 4.3 million Chinese tourists visited Korea last year, spending 3.75 trillion won with their credit cards, to Shinhan Card, an eye popping increase of 82.7% from 2012. The rise was especially notable in plastic surgery for which Chinese visitors spent 65 billion won last year, up 85% and accounting for 47% of total spending by foreigners at Korean hospitals last year.  Others Chinese tourists spent more were skiing and leisure activities that went up 103%, superstores with 38% up and cloth boutiques with 31% increase. 
K-Pop culture has become very popular in China. When actress Chun Jee-hyun whispered to her boy friend man in a Korean soap opera titled ‘You who came from stars,’ saying “Chicken with beer is the best on a snowy day ” in Feb this year, the demand for chicken and beer up went up so high all over China that there were as many as 3 hours of long lines in chicken restaurants in China, a good thing for Chinese chicken restaurants which had been suffering from bird flu epidemic. Col. Sanders has lost his public enemy No.1 status to the pretty Korean actress among Chinese chicken. 

3. Auto Industry
1) Kia celebrates its 30 million vehicles 
Kia Motors announced its global sales will surpass the 30 million milestones this month, 52 years after its first three wheel light truck K-360 rolled off its Sohari plant near Seoul in 1962. As end of this April, Kia had sold 29.9 million vehicles. Kia surpassed sales of 10 million in 2003 and 20 million in 2010. Its subcompact Pride, which was introduced in 1987 and sold in the U.S as Ford Festiva, was its best seller with 3.46 million units sold. Ironically, Kia’s growth in sales got stronger since it went belly up, and then bought by Hyundai in 1998.
My family owes a lot to the K-360 as it was what my father had driven to deliver goods in the 60’s and 70’s to bring bread for the family. As per K-360 name itself, K is not from Kia, but from a Mazda model code. What about 360? It is not from 360 degree panorama view, but from its 357cc engine displacement.