South Korean firms warn of difficult 2012

TECHNOLOGY giant Samsung and car manufacturer Hyundai, South Korea’s largest companies, rallied staff yesterday to brace themselves for a year of intense competition due to the weak global economy this year.

The South Korean government also warned of tough times ahead in a new year statement as global demand for the country’s exports languishes. Finance minister Bahk Jae Wan called for a contigency plan to prevent “contagion” in the face of Eurozone woes, saying, “The global economy may rapidly deteriorate if the European debt crisis worsens.”

Lee Myung Bak, the president of Asia’s fourth largest economy, announced his intention to reduce inflation to the low three per cent range and invest over 10 trillion won (£5.6bn) in creating jobs.

The recent death of Kim Jong-il and ascension of his son in North Korea has added to uncertainties.