I am glad to meet you all. In 2017, the first year of my Administration, SBB Tech Co. was awarded the Industrial Service Medal for its localized production of core robot components. It is a great pleasure for me to see the fruitful results of your hard work today and offer you my congratulations and compliments. CEO Ryu Jae-wan just presented his very ambitious vision. Shall we give a congratulatory and encouraging round of applause?
As you well know, Japan removing Korea from its list of “white
countries” prompted us all – regardless of whether we are from the Government, large businesses or the general public – to sense even more acutely the importance of our parts and materials businesses, especially small yet strong companies.
SBB Tech turned away from short-sighted gains and sought to promote technological independence even while the market for bearings, especially ball bearings – its main product, was seeing remarkable growth. With a single focus on enhancing the competitiveness of manufacturing, the company has long proceeded with its own R&D program to procure original robot technology. As a result of such endeavors, it succeeded in developing the world’s second precision control decelerator, thereby laying the groundwork for the independent production of robot components. The company has provided a significant boost to strengthening the competitiveness of our manufacturing.
This emergency has shown a spotlight on the determination and hard work of executives and staff at SBB as a best practice. I am genuinely grateful to you all. As President, let me express my appreciation with a round of applause.
Technological expertise can provide for a country. Thus, all countries everywhere and at any time have striven to improve technological capabilities. Switzerland still retains its status as something of a mecca for the precision machinery industry thanks to its apt utilization of technicians who migrated there to avoid religious persecution. The United Kingdom and Germany could be at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution because they proactively attracted engineers from across the whole of Europe. It is known that what Japan most coveted during its invasion of Joseon in the late 16th century were our ceramic artists and potters who possessed advanced skills.
The driving force behind our economic growth despite the setbacks from colonization and war was none other than technological prowess. When Korea was still a developing country, it didn’t stop at merely assembling products for advanced nations but managed to develop homegrown technology and nurture scientists and engineers. By doing so, Korea was able to become the only country among the newly independent states after World War II to rise as an advanced nation.
Korea has many small but strong companies, including SBB Tech, that are leading the Fourth Industrial Revolution with ingenious technology and a number of small and medium-sized enterprises that are armed with advanced technology. I was told again today that there were many cases in which local companies developed technology but then struggled due to difficulties finding domestic buyers. However, because Japan has now removed Korea from its whitelist of countries, there’s an increasing number of companies that are trying to find domestic replacements for imported supplies. Although this is imposing hardships on companies heavily dependent on Japanese parts and materials, I hope that they will take this as an opportunity to transform our industrial ecosystem in the long term. The Government, for its part, promises to provide support actively.
I genuinely admire our people and businesses that have turned challenges into opportunities instead and surged ahead whenever faced by such adversities. We’ve been able to turn crises into opportunities like this thanks to those businesses that have unceasingly taken on challenges while always endeavoring to develop technologies to lead the global market, just like the SBB Tech executives and employees here.
The injustice of Japan removing Korea from its whitelist of countries is the kind of matter that we must take issue with. However, apart from that, I believe that our people and businesses will surely turn this into a blessing in disguise this time as well and further strengthen our economy and industries. The Government will also do all it can to come up with short-, mid- and long-term countermeasures.
However, what the Government should do is provide support. When our businesses, including big companies, work to support each other by, for example, purchasing and jointly developing domestic parts and materials or adopting original technology, our technological prowess will advance and our companies can grow accordingly. Only when the competitiveness of our manufacturing industry increases further, can our economy continue to grow. The Government will actively provide assistance.
Seeing SBB Tech’s award-winning accomplishments, meeting all of you who have made them happen and hearing your stories, I feel truly proud of what you have achieved and gained more confidence that “We can do it, too!” I look forward to today’s meeting becoming a great opportunity to listen to what you have to say firsthand about your experiences and difficulties as well as to discuss the efforts needed from the Government and our business sector.
I promise to listen attentively to your opinions and reflect them in policies as much as possible. Please feel free to share your thoughts.