Inteterview | Hoonhee Park, Founder & Executive Director of Korea-China Young Leaders Association

"Expanding the field of collaboration for the young leaders from Korea and China" "Poised to develop into a platform that creates opportunities"

Inteterview | Hoonhee Park, Founder & Executive Director of Korea-China Young Leaders Association

By Je-Heun, Ha

What visions does Hoonhee Park, the Founder (Founder & Executive Director) of Korea-China Young Leaders Association that organized Korea-China Young Leaders Forum with Fortune Korea, have for this forum? He said he will develop the Korea-China Young Leaders Forum as a platform that young and competent leaders from Korea and China gather.

The 2018 Korea-China Young Leaders Forum was co-organized by Korea-China Young Leaders Association and Fortune Korea. Korea-China Young Leaders Association is a non-profit organization that aims for private sector diplomacy between the next generation leaders from Korea and China. It received the official authorization from the South Korean Government in January 2016.

Hoonhee Park, the Founder and Executive Director of the association, graduated from high school and college in China, and studied finance at Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, with a double degree in international relations. He later came back to Korea and worked in Goldman Sachs Investment Banking Division. While he was working there, he realized the influence of Chinese enterprises that are equipped with strong financing capabilities. He said ”I thought, if we could build a closer relationship with China, we would be able to communicate intimately with Chinese enterprises. As such, I started thinking about strategies to bring about a new set of Sino-Korea relationship. This resulted in Korea-China Young Leaders Association.“

Kore-China Young Leaders Association operates in three major business areas, namely ”Sino-Korea International Forum“, ”Government Collaboration for Public Good“, and ”Consulting Business for Private Enterprises“. In Sino-Korea International Forum business, beginning from ”Korea-China Young Entrepreneurs Forum“ in Shanghai in December 2015, the Association organized global forums for young leaders including ”Attracting Chinese tourists and Promoting Local Economy“ with the Government of Gwangju at the National Assembly in May 2016, China Session at the ”Asian Leadership Conference 2017“, an annual conference by Chosun Daily which the former U.S. President Barack Obama and the former British Prime Minister David Cameron also attended, and most recently, ”Korea-China Young Leaders Forum“ at Hotel Shilla, Seoul in March 2018.

In the Government Collaboration for Public Good business, the Association organizes public interest-driven projects by cooperating with governmental organizations. For example, in April 2016, the Association concluded an agreement on attracting 50,000 Chinese tourists with Gyeonggi Province, Gyeonggi Tourism Organization and ”Shanghai Happiness No.9“ which is a Chinese retail giant in seniors industry. In the following month, it also concluded an agreement on attracting 20,000 Chinese tourists with the Government of Gwangju, Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee at the National Assembly of Korea, and seven major Chinese travel agencies.

In the Consulting Business for Private Enterprise business, the Association delivers its business consulting service through a Sino-Korea joint platform called Kulture Connect (KC), which was officially launched in November 2016. Hoonhee said, ”The range of each business field looks extremely large at first glance. However, the theme that connects everything together is that they are all Sino-Korea collaborative projects for public good.“

Currently, serious global issues such as U.S.-China trade disputes and multilateral negotiation on North Korea nuclear threats are ongoing, and aftermath of THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) crisis still exists. In this respect, the 2018 Korea-China Young Leaders Forum had an exceptional significance as it brought together the next generation corporate leaders who would lead the economy of both countries. Hoonhee said, ”Unlike the other past forums that engaged older generation leaders and academic scholars, our forum was differentiated in that the key players are young and talented next generation leaders who are the protagonists of the future Korea-China economy.“

The Chinese next generation leaders at this forum included inheritors of multinational firms, descendents of elite political families, and successful young entrepreneurs. These leaders included: the eldest son of Zhenhua Mao, who is the Chairman of the largest credit rating agency as well as a local partnership company of Moody’s in China - China Chengxin Credit Rating Group, the eldest daughter of Wei Guo, the Chairman of Digital China Group, the top Chinese IT service provider with a number of listed subsidiaries, the eldest son of Yan Zhao, the Chairman of Bloomage group which took over J.P. Morgan investment banking business in China, and Melody Li, the grand-daughter of the Former Chinese Premier Li Peng, who was an iconic figure in the conservative wing of the Chinese Communist Party in the late 20th century.

How was the reaction of Chinese leaers who attended Korea-China Young Leaders Forum? Hoonhee said that the attendees were very motivated, giving enthusiastic support and praising the forum. ”The Vice President at China Chengxin Credit Rating Group, Sai Mao, said it was a great opportunity to understand the remarkable potential of Korea. He said that it is very surprising that a country that used to be one of the poorest places succeeded in cultivating a number of globally renowned companies and achieving a high standard of living. He asked me to keep him posted on opportunities in Korea going forward, adding that now the Korean market is in his core interest. I thought ‘this should be the true role of private sector diplomacy’ in response to his comments.“

What is Korea-China Young Leaders Association planning? Hoonhee Park says ”The 2018 Korea-China Young Leaders Forum is not just a one-time event. This is an event that will lay the foundation for building a new paradigm for Sino-Korea relationship. I will keep developing this forum to a platform of new opportunities and constantly bring in the next generation leaders of both countries for cross-border collaboration. I will not stop making efforts in creating new value through this platform and believe together we will shoulder the future of the global society.“

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