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Hyundai looks to repeat late founder’s Mideast success with EVs, hydrogen
Korean conglomerate signs slew of agreements, contracts upon Yoon's state visitBy Kan Hyeong-woo
Published : Oct. 24, 2023 - 15:05
Hyundai Motor Group is venturing into the Middle East as it explores new business opportunities with cutting-edge technologies in the region, looking to recreate the pioneering legacy of Chung Ju-yung, Hyundai Group’s late founder.
During President Yoon Suk Yeol's state visit to the Middle East, the South Korean conglomerate announced a series of agreements and contracts to set up a new manufacturing plant for electric vehicles and cooperate in the eco-friendly energy sector with efforts to establish a hydrogen mobility ecosystem and construct mega-sized plants in Middle Eastern countries.
The region has a special meaning for Hyundai Motor Group, as its founder created his legacy there in the 1970s. Chung led Hyundai’s aggressive bidding campaign to capture a signifiant share of the region’s construction market, successfully scoring massive projects including the famous construction of an enormous industrial harbor in Jubail, an eastern coastal city in Saudi Arabia.
Hyundai Motor Group's Executive Chair Chung Euisun, the grandson of the late founder, on Monday visited Hyundai E&C’s underground tunnel construction site in the Line, a linear city being built as part of Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion-Neom project to create a futuristic, urban area in its northwestern Tabuk Province.
According to Hyundai E&C, the company is currently working on a 12.5-kilometer part of the Line’s underground tunnel for high-speed and freight trains.
“Hyundai Motor Group will advance the history built by Hyundai E&C’s trust together and actively provide support with responsibility,” said Chung as he thanked the employees there and emphasized the importance of quality and safety.
Hyundai E&C and Hyundai Engineering said Tuesday that they secured a $2.3 billion contract for the Saudi Arabia Jafurah Gas Processing Facilities Project from Saudi Arabian Oil Company, better known as Aramco.
With the latest contract, Hyundai E&C will carry out 23 construction projects worth 26.3 trillion won ($19.5 billion) in five Middle Eastern countries. The projects, which are being conducted in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, include oil and gas plants, a harbor and a nuclear power plant. The company will continue to seek more orders as it plans to take part in the upcoming bidding competitions such as gas processing facilities in Saudi Arabia’s Fadhili and Safaniya.
Hyundai earlier announced the signing of a joint venture agreement with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund to construct its first auto assembly plant in the Middle Eastern country and a multi-stakeholder partnership with the Korea Automotive Technology Institute, Air Products Qudra and the Saudi Public Transport Company to establish and develop an ecosystem for hydrogen-based mobility in the area.
The automobile factory will be built in King Abdullah Economic City with an annual production capacity of 50,000 units including electric vehicles. As the plant is expected to be completed in 2026, the automaker plans to target the Middle Eastern market through a diverse portfolio and localized marketing.
Hyundai Rotem and Hyundai Steel have also been bolstering their presence in the Middle East. After bagging a $563 million deal from Egypt to supply railway trains for Cairo's metro lines last year, Hyundai Rotem looks to enter the Middle Eastern railway market with its hydrogen-based technology. Hyundai Steel is developing new materials for steel pipes to cope with gas transportation as the Middle Eastern countries expand energy projects with liquefied natural gas.
“The Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, where things are changing dynamically, is a symbolic region that former chairman Chung Ju-yung created his Middle East legend,” said a Hyundai Motor Group official.
“Hyundai Motor Group will create new opportunities in the Middle Eastern market through business diversification.”
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