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The Korea Herald
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THE INVESTOR
April 24, 2024

Market Now

[CES 2024] AI success hinges on steady, strategic investments: Chey

  • PUBLISHED :January 11, 2024 - 09:50
  • UPDATED :January 11, 2024 - 09:50
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SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won is briefed on the "AI Fortune Teller" feature at the group's exhibition booth at CES 2024 in Las Vegas on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

LAS VEGAS/SEOUL -- The era of artificial intelligence is opening, and its success will depend on how the market is created to measure up to high expectations and investment, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won said, taking part in the CES 2024 technology show in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

After touring the showrooms of Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics on the opening day of the world's largest tech show, Chey pointed to transparent TV screens as novel items that may open an entirely new product category.

"The AI era is just opening. AI applications are being introduced to enhance various aspects. Frankly, nobody knows what the impacts it will have and how fast it will unfold," Chey said, speaking to reporters during his visit to the group's exhibition booth.

"There will be a lot of investment and resources injected into the sector and (its success) will depend on how the market is created to keep up with the inputs," he said.

For SK Group, South Korea's second-largest conglomerate, all of its affiliates across various industries such as semiconductors and telecommunications will work together to come up with "comprehensive solution packages" while fostering a talented workforce to gear up for the era of AI, Chey said.

As the leader of the conglomerate group that owns the world's second-largest memory chip maker SK hynix, Chey projected a turnaround in the slumping sector is finally near.

But he also warned companies should be prepared to respond to unexpected changes in circumstances rather than relying on predictions, citing how the duration of the cycle of soaring and dwindling demand in the chip industry appears to be growing shorter.

"It looks like the cycle period is getting shorter, but the impacts are getting deeper. This is what happened last year, with the chip businesses witnessing historically unprecedented levels of downturn," Chey said.

"As the losses were so big (last year), (the industry) is obviously going to recover now, though we cannot be sure about how big the growth will be."

With a number of elections slated for this year around the world, including the US presidential election, these geopolitical matters will also have profound impacts on business, Chey said.

"Our (SK's) strategies will vary depending on who is elected, so we will prepare for both scenarios. This kind of risk is something we can prepare for," Chey said.

"You don’t call something a risk when you are already aware of it. Bracing for the unexpected is the crucial task for businesses."

This year, his plan for SK Group is to "fine-tune" the work of the affiliates, bring changes to their conventional way of working and address new challenges for the future.

Collaborating with other companies would be one of the key ways to do this, Chey said, to bring new insights and ideas.

“I believe collaboration between companies has become more important. We cannot guarantee success from doing what we have always been doing," he said while hinting at the possibility of SK affiliates collaborating with Siemens.

The chairman also noted the importance of achieving net-zero emissions, saying each country should come up with its taxonomy for environmentally sustainable business operations.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com), Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)

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