The Korea Herald


Coupang, Yuhan join labor policy-focused business lobby

By Park Han-na

Published : Feb. 19, 2024 - 17:05

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A Coupang delivery worker unloads delivered goods from a truck. (The Korea Herald) A Coupang delivery worker unloads delivered goods from a truck. (The Korea Herald)

E-commerce giant Coupang and pharmaceutical firm Yuhan Corp. are set to join the Korea Enterprises Federation, a business lobby representing over 4,000 businesses here, according to industry sources on Monday.

Some 10 firms, including Coupang, have submitted membership applications to the group, which are subject to approval from board directors and existing members at a meeting slated for Wednesday.

Coupang’s decision came after three years of deliberation since its parent company, Coupang Inc, was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2021.

“The KEF is a representative economic organization that has taken the lead in industrial policy promotion and deregulation. We decided to join for broad exchange and cooperation on industrial and economic issues,” a Coupang official said. The firm has been a provisional member of the group since April last year.

Its application for full membership appears to be an attempt to respond to labor-related issues that have been constantly emerged.

Among five major lobbies in the country, the KEF, which holds 4,250 member companies, has differentiated itself by focusing on regulations and legislation tied to labor-management relations.

Last year, Coupang became the second-largest employer in the country in 2023 after Samsung Electronics. The number of workers employed by Coupang and its logistics subsidiaries Coupang Fulfillment Service and Coupang Logistics Service exceeds 69,000 as of the end of last year while No. 3 Hyundai Motor had 68,400 workers.

Yuhan Corp. is also expected to join the group. The pharmaceutical firm recorded sales of 1.86 trillion won ($1.39 billion) and an operating profit of 56.8 billion won last year, up 4.7 percent and 57.6 percent, respectively, compared to 2022 due to increased technology exports.

Other new members for the KEF include drug maker Dong-A ST, Kospi-listed SingSong Holdings and air conditioning system supplier Hanon Systems.

At the board of directors and general assembly meeting this week, the reappointment of KEF Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik will put to a vote.

Once winning the approval, Sohn, who is also the chairman of the CJ Group, will serve his fourth two-year term at the KEF since he took the position in 2018. There’s no limit on the number of terms that a KEF chairman can serve.

Meanwhile, another business group Federation of Korean Industries said last week the number of members expanded to 427 after welcoming some 20 new companies including steelmaker Posco Holdings, cosmetics group Amorepacific and automaker KG Mobility. The FKI has persuaded Coupang to join the group but the firm opted for the KEF.