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An American International Group Inc.-led consortium agreed to buy three affiliates of Hyundai Group for $856 million, the biggest foreign investment in South Korea's financial industry, said U.S. investor Wilbur Ross, one of the buyers. The purchasers--including AIG, the biggest insurer; California Public Employees Retirement System, the largest U.S. public pension fund; and GE Capital Corp., the top non-bank finance company--will gain access to 250 outlets in Asia's third-biggest economy.
As a young engineer working in International Business Machines Corp.'s semiconductor research laboratory, Chin Dae-Je had access to the company's advanced technology. Thus, he believed that IBM would be less than pleased when he decided to leave after seven years to help launch South Korea's semiconductor industry. Instead, IBM sent Chin on his way with words of encouragement and a two-month bonus.
August 7, 1987 | Associated Press
Thousands of workers staging sometimes violent strikes forced shutdowns at dozens of major industrial plants Thursday. The government said new labor disputes started at 18 plants. The most recent shutdowns were at the country's largest shipyard, machinery and auto assembly plants, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported. The strikers demanded more money, better working conditions and the formation of "democratic" unions to replace existing pro-management unions.
January 23, 1985 | JAMES RISEN, Times Staff Writer
Hyundai Motor Corp., aiming to become the first Korean auto maker to enter the U.S. market, is reportedly planning to open a U.S. sales and marketing headquarters in Garden Grove in time to introduce its first models here next fall. Hyundai, which began selling its small cars in Canada last year, has already hired away several top American officials from Toyota Motor Co.'s U.S. sales arm in order to staff its own new U.S. operations, a Toyota spokesman confirmed Tuesday.
February 27, 1989 | JANE APPLEGATE, Times Staff Writer
Following years of pressure by U.S. government trade negotiators, five U.S. life insurance companies recently received permission to enter South Korea's insurance market, which is worth $6 billion a year. In 1985, U.S. trade officials filed a formal complaint against the South Korean government and both sides have been negotiating ever since, according to Gordon Cloney, president of the International Insurance Council in Washington.
March 2, 1995 | From Associated Press
It will introduce kids to basketball star Shaquille O'Neal and could cause addictions to steamy American soap operas. South Korea's 20 cable TV channels began broadcasting Wednesday, promising to revolutionize the viewing habits of an audience whose tastes have long been smothered by government-censored programming. The arrival of cable opens a market for American programs in a country where parents already lament that their children are all too eager to embrace things Western.
January 12, 1997 | Walter Russell Mead, Walter Russell Mead, a contributing editor to Opinion, is a presidential fellow at the World Policy Institute. He is the author of "Mortal Splendor: The American Empire in Transition" (Houghton Mifflin) and is writing a book about U.S. foreign policy. He visited North Korea last summer
In Korea, sometimes even the good news can be scary. The latest example came two weeks ago, when a reluctant North Korea defused a simmering crisis and put international negotiations back on track by apologizing for an incident last fall, when a heavily armed North Korean submarine ran aground in the South. That apology was, make no mistake about it, good news--and one of the most important foreign-policy victories of the Clinton administration to date.
President Kim Young Sam's order to pry open a financial system designed to conceal corruption and tax evasion--his most controversial reform yet--has proved a political success but may cost South Korea 1% of its gross national product this year. In addition, the initial stage of the transformation indicates that still more reform will be needed to bring about complete openness.
October 11, 2008 | Barbara Demick, Times Staff Writer
You know you're not in Cannes when the all-female marching band, wearing white go-go boots, belts out communist anthems at the opening ceremony. This is a film festival like none other in the world. There are no movie stars, no paparazzi, hardly any press. No studio executives doing deals on their BlackBerrys -- cellphones and other wireless devices are banned in North Korea. For that matter, so are most movies. North Korea is the closest thing the world has to a hermetically sealed society.
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