Hutchison’s Li Ka-shing, Samsung Elec chairman seek deeper business ti

HONG KONG, Sept 12: Hutchison Whampoa owner Li Ka-shing and Samsung Electronics Co Chairman Lee Kun-hee, two of the richest men in Asia and among the biggest names in telecoms, met for the first time to discuss ways to deepen ties, especially in handset and network operations.

The news comes weeks after Li’s mobile carrier Hutchison 3G (UK) signed up Samsung Electronics to provide infrastructure equipment in Britain, marking the South Korean company’s first foray into the European market.

The talks, which took place on Tuesday at Li’s Cheung Kong Group headquarters in the heart of Hong Kong’s financial district, also touched on ways to expand the groups’ cooperation to broader areas, Samsung Group said in a statement, adding that it was the first time the two top executives had met.

Samsung Group is the parent of Samsung Electronics, the world’s top technology firm by revenue.

Ports-to-telecoms conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, owned by Li—Asia’s richest man—confirmed the news.

The meeting was attended by Samsung corporate strategy chief Choi Gee-sung and Lee Jae-yong, the chief operating officer at Samsung Electronics and son of chairman Lee. Chairman Lee is also South Korea’s wealthiest person.

Victor Li, the elder son of octogenarian Li and executive vice chairman of Hutchison Whampoa, was also present.

Samsung Group presides over more than 80 companies, including its flagship, Samsung Electronics, while Li’s group controls global telecom operator Three Group.

In telecommunications, Hutchison competes with Britain’s biggest mobile operator, Everything Everywhere—a joint venture of France Telecom SA’s Orange and Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile. It also competes with Telefonica SA’s O2 and Vodafone Group Plc.(agencies)

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