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CEO Interview | Huang De, Top Executive of Bank of China Seoul Branch

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Writer최고관리자 Day17-07-10 19:06 View1,486회


Huang De, Top Executive of Bank of China Seoul Branch

Seoul Metropolitan Government Expat Interview: A Dynamic and Vibrant city, Seoul





1.You are currently the representative of Bank of China, Korea as well as the manager of the Seoul branch. When did you first come to Korea, and how long did you stay?

The very first time I came to Korea was in March 1997 when the country was facing the IMF crisis. In the following years, I worked at the Bank of China Seoul, Ansan and Daegu branches until July 2008. After working 2 and a half years at the Beijing Headquarters, I returned to Seoul as the representative of Bank of China, Korea and the manager of the Seoul branch. In total I have spent about 17 years in Korea.



2.Your Korean is very fluent. Is there any special reason why you started learning Korean? As your resume states, you have obtained Bachelor of Architecture in Pyongyang. Is that the time that you started learning Korean?

I was very interested in Korea when I entered university. This was before China and Korea formed diplomatic ties, so I studied in Pyongyang with all expenses paid by the government. Since I did not know a single Korean word when I had graduated from high school, I took a language training course for a year. And then, I entered Pyongyang University of Construction and Building Materials Industries and completed my studies in 1992.



3.How was your life in North Korea? Is there any reason why you chose to study in Pyongyang? Also can you tell us a little bit about the difference between North and South Korea’s finance industry?

As I mentioned earlier, the choice was inevitable because I entered university before China and Korea formed diplomatic ties. Also because I was studying architecture, I wasn’t really aware of the North Korean finance industry. Around the time when I graduated, I started having an interest in economics, finance, trade, and business management. In 1992, China and Korea officially formed diplomatic ties and that is when Bank of China entered the Korean Market. I applied to Bank of China, thinking that they might need someone who can speak Korean, and I have been working for the bank ever since.



HaungDe interview 2014-08-26 (4)




4.You have lived in Korea for almost 17 years. And it seems like you have stayed in Seoul longer than any other city. What do you like about Seoul the most?

There is a sense in which Seoul represents the whole nation. You could almost describe it as the face of Korea. I especially like Seoul’s dynamic and vibrant atmosphere. For almost 20 years I have witnessed the changes this city has gone through, and compared to the past, Seoul has grown to become a beautiful city. The air has become much cleaner and living conditions have improved significantly. Above all, corporations have gone through the biggest changes. Before the IMF crisis, companies like Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motors and LG Electronics had a very family-oriented corporate culture. But after the crisis, Korean companies have moved forward as global enterprises and the corporate system has evolved with them.



5.In terms of market capitalization, Bank of China has ranked the 9th largest global Bank and is going through global expansion. What is the ratio of Koreans to Chinese employees in the Seoul branch? Does conflict ever occur due to the multicultural nature of the company?

Bank of China has around 300,000 employees in 11,000 branches. There are about 140 employees working at the Seoul branch, and only 10–15% are Chinese and the rest are Korean. Since I am able to speak Korean, and all the local employees speak Chinese fluently, we rarely have any issues. If anything, my Korean employees express their comfort at being able to communicate to me in their own language.



6.Last July, President Park and General Secretary Xijinping met during the summit and initiated a Won-Yuan direct trading market. Government officials and corporate leaders in Korea are expecting positive changes and new opportunities. As a manager of Bank of China, what impact do you think this is likely to have?

Won-Yuan direct transaction will have a positive impact for both China and Korea. For instance, last year China and Korea recorded about 274 billion dollars in trade transactions and all of them were settled in USD, which means companies involved in trade were exposed to currency risk. Won-Yuan direct transaction will severely decrease the possibility of currency risk and diversify currency used in global trade, stabilizing Korea’s international trade. Before the summit meeting, about 85% of the transactions were settled in USD, but now only 60% in USD and 25% in Chinese Yuan. In addition, many Korean companies entering the Chinese market can directly use Chinese Yuan to make investments. This will be also highly advantageous to the Chinese economy in that it marks a further step toward the Yuan becoming an international currency, a policy that the Chinese government is pushing forward. Thus, Won-Yuan direct transaction will be advantageous for both Korea and China.



7.What do you do in your free time? You can say anything like voluntary activities, sports, mountain climbing, traveling or being with the family.

As a university student, I was a very athletic and was a representative of various sports clubs like volleyball, basketball, and track and field. When I first came to Korea, I enjoyed being part of a soccer team with people from the Chinese Embassy and other Chinese companies. These days I’m too busy to exercise, but I enjoy playing golf with business partners and a bit of photography when I’m traveling.



8.Of all the achievements that you’ve made in Seoul, what is the most memorable one? And do you have any other goals to achieve?

Personally, I feel that I share a deep connection with Seoul. When I first arrived here, I was a single man in my late twenties. I met my wife here in Korea, who was taking language program at the time. We’ve raised a child here together, too. Seoul also means a lot to my career because I started off here as a junior employee of Bank of China; now I am the representative of its Korean corporation as well the manager of the Seoul branch. I have to say, I enjoy my job. Increasing the revenue of Bank of China and globalizing the Yuan as an international currency have been my passion over the recent years. So more than achieving any particular goal, I simply want to enjoy and get the most out of my time I have here in Korea.



9.Do you have anything to say to foreign investors who are looking to invest in Seoul? Anything that will help them to make wise investment decisions, or any factors they need to consider before making investments?

I have been doing business in Seoul for a long time now, and I can assure you Seoul has a great investment environment. To give you three examples; firstly, Seoul and its surrounding metropolitan area take up 70% of Korea’s economic infrastructure. Secondly, there are abundant human resources available and so companies have the best to pick out outstanding employees. And lastly, there are many educational, cultural, and recreational facilities for investors and their families to enjoy.


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