It's the season for startling pronouncements by global company CEOs. We just ran a post about IBM chief Sam Palmisano calling for a major shift in the business models of multinationals. A week earlier, Korea's Kookmin Bank chief Kang Chung-won cautioned firms against rushing into China.
The head of Korea's largest lender, which is also looking to become Asia's leading bank, explains his reasoning in a June 14 interview with the Financial Times (closed access). "We are looking at emerging markets with good bureaucracies that are committed to growth," Kang said. Vietnam, India, and Indonesia are at the top of Kookmin Bank's list of markets to expand into. Beyond Asia, he says Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine have great potential too.
Commenting on the attractiveness of the Chinese market, where South Korea is the largest foreign investor, Kang notes: "A lot of Korean companies have moved to China and they are having difficulties." He added Korean companies such as Samsung, Hyundai, and SK Corp have invested heavily in China, but the country was a "tough market" for firms.