PRESIDENT Michael Sata says there would be no Korea without Samsung as the electronics giant has more money than the Asian country.
And President Sata was elated when he discovered that a Zambian, Weston Chirwa, is part of Samsung Electronics' management and described him as "industrious".
President Sata took time to meet several Korean investors with the aim of luring them to invest in Zambia.
Yesterday, the President, in the company of ministers Sylvia Masebo, Given Lubinda, Bob Sichinga and Emmanuel Chenda, visited Samsung City, the home of Samsung Electronics where he pleaded with them to set up a factory in Zambia.
President Sata said Zambia's central location and its land-linked status provides an opportunity for the country to become a major supplier of Samsung products and the company's business growth.
"I can see that there is a problem with organisation here…Korea is Samsung, without Samsung, there would be no Korea today. Samsung has more money than Korea," he said.
Samsung Electronics currently has a workforce of around 200,000 employees in 72 countries where it has a presence, with its operating profit hitting US $14.7 billion in 2011 (around K77 trillion), more than double Zambia's 2012 annual budget.
Earlier, Samsung Electronics president and chief financial officer Ju-Hwa Yoon said his company, now ranked 9th among the top 100 global brands in 2012, goes where the market exists for its wide range of products, hinting that they were in a process of setting up a plant in Egypt.
But President Sata objected and argued that Zambia had a much bigger market and presented attractive opportunities for business growth than Egypt.
"You will make more money in Zambia and you will see that for yourself…Instead of going to Egypt, come to Zambia because it has the largest market than Egypt," he said. "In Zambia and many other countries in Africa, Samsung is appreciated. Having known Samsung myself for more than 20 years, I have not been impressed with your development in Zambia.
I am told you are building another factory here; why not build in Zambia? And don't blame us if other Korean companies come and we give them incentives for investing in Zambia. So my main request to you is to come and open a factory in Zambia. When you do, you will have the entire central African market.
Zambia is surrounded by countries like Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana…"
And President Sata was delighted when Chirwa was among top Samsung officials who welcomed him at the Samsung City.
"…There is a Tumbuka who is working here, he is very industrious," he said, jokingly adding, "As you come to Zambia, bring him (Chirwa) along so that he can take you to Lundazi for you to see how backward they are."
Ju-Hwa also said his company, through the existing bilateral ties between Zambia and Korea, would find ways to increase its presence in the southern African country following President Sata's appeal.
After a tour of the Samsung City, Lubinda and Sichinga laid a foundation stone at a construction site for Is Dingseo - a Korean company that is seeking opportunities to invest in Zambia - on behalf of President Sata.
Sichinga said the government was looking for credible companies that could invest in low-cost housing for a majority of Zambians owing to the current housing deficit in the country.
"And I invite you to come and be part of the Investment Summit which will be held from November 26-30. Please be part of that," said Sichinga.
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