Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, will meet with Masayoshi Son, chairman of Softbank, in Seoul on July 4. The two are known to be close friends.
This meeting has been arranged as Son wanted to meet with Korean business leaders after his meeting with President Moon Jae-in. Son is expected to share opinions on innovation-based economic growth with Moon at the Blue House.
Son would meet with Chung Eui-sun, senior vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, and Koo Kwang-mo, chairman of LG Group, in addition to Lee. It is still unclear whether the meeting between Lee and Son will be held alone or together with other Korean business leaders.
Son will meet with Lee in two and a half years since they last met at the Samsung Electronics building in Seocho-gu, Seoul in September 2016. At the time, Son met with Lee after a meeting with former President Park Geun-hye.
Lee visited Japan two times after he was given a suspended sentence in February last year. In June last year, Lee met with officials of Japanese auto parts makers such as Ushio Electricity and Yazaki to promote partnership in the field of electronic equipment for automobiles. In May this year, Lee visited NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest telecom company, and discussed cooperation in 5G mobile communications.
Lee is highly likely to share his views on autonomous driving and semiconductors at the meeting with Son. Through the Softbank Vision Fund, Son has massively invested in global mobility companies such as Uber, Didi Chuxing, China's largest vehicle-sharing company Uber, and Grab, the largest vehicle-sharing company in Southeast Asia. Son is also the largest shareholder of ARM, a U.K. semiconductor design company. Son’s businesses overlap with those of Samsung in many sectors.
"I understand that Lee and Son are close friends, so they often enjoyed playing golf together in the past," said an official of the Korean business community. "I hope that their meeting will contribute to easing an economic tension between Korea and Japan at a time when economic relations between the two countries are on a collision course.”