Day two of the Chazen South Korea 2016 trip started off with a bang. After walking across the street from our hotel, we received a super warm welcome in the form of a massive banner (see picture below) from the CEO of Lotte Group and sponsor of the CBS Chazen Tour, Shin Dong-Bin, along with an army of staff. Lotte Group is one of the largest companies in Korea, employing over 60,000 people across business units ranging from retail to financial services. As one of the Korean chaebols (South Korean form of business conglomerate), the Lotte Group plays a crucial role developing the Korean economic landscape. Needless to say, everyone was excited to learn more about the Lotte Group.
The group was instantly “wowed” by a presentation on the newly constructed Lotte World Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world. Following a motivational video highlighting all of the amenities and services offered through the Lotte World Tower (with phrases such as “Korea’s pride soars even higher”), we all put on construction hats and took an elevator to the top of the tower for arguably the best view of Seoul. A few interesting facts about the tower:
- The project cost $4B in total capital output
- The tower creates economic value of $10B
- The tower will be home to a 6 star hotel
We also listened to a presentation by Shin Dong-Bin who shared an overview of the many businesses Lotte is engaged in. It was unbelievable to see how diverse the Lotte Group is in terms of industry. Mr. Shin explained that despite the diversification of the brand, it’s market shares in respective industries was so great that he was not concerned about being spread too thin.
We were then introduced to the Lotte World Mall (a huge luxury shopping destination), the Lotte Concert Hall (the first in Korea to introduce vineyard-style seating), Lotte World Acquarium (where we hung out with beluga whales, seals, and other types offish), and the Lotte Cinema (home to the largest theater in the region and the largest movie screen in the world).
Part two of the visit was to the Lotte Homeshopping studio and the Lotte Confectionary factory. The former was awesome: we had the opportunity to experience a live broadcasting of a TV channel that broadcasts live 20 hours/day highlighting and selling items such as clothing and apartments for sale. The latter visit was even more awesome: we got to see how gum, ice cream, and chocolates were processed while also trying samples of everything. We could not have asked for more special treatment and the visit with the Lotte Group was a huge success overall.
The combination of jet lag and unlimited amounts of candy led to a group snoozing session on the bus ride afterward, but we quickly gained some energy back to regroup for our visit with the Ministry of Unification and the CBS alumni dinner reception. More details to come!
– David Batt, CBS ’16