Seoul: A potential relationship with Apple Inc made the second-richest family in South Korea even richer.
Hyundai Motor Co. shares jumped as much as 25% in Seoul on Friday – the most since 1988 – after South Korean media said the automaker was in talks with the US tech giant about developing self-driving cars.
Hyundai initially confirmed the report before calling it back to exclude any mention of Apple, saying it was receiving requests for technology cooperation from a number of companies.
Hyundai will spend 20 trillion won (US $ 17 billion) over the next six years on new technology to help switch to electric and autonomous cars.
Regardless, rising stocks boosted the combined wealth of Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Yusun Chung and his father Mong Koo by nearly $ 2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Euisun, who succeeded his father as group president in October, has been pushing for technologies including electric cars and self-driving vehicles to turn the carmaker into one of the world’s leading companies.
Hyundai Motor Company will spend more than 60 trillion won (US $ 55 billion) in these areas over the next five years, and in 2019 it set up a US $ 4 billion autonomous driving joint venture with General Motors. It plans to launch its first electric car this year.
Any collaboration with a large tech company can bolster that push. Apple said it would take at least five years to introduce an autonomous electric vehicle, according to people familiar with the plans, which means it is in no hurry to decide on potential partners in the auto industry.
Investors are increasingly turning to electric vehicles and their suppliers, driven largely by an unstoppable rally in shares of Tesla Inc.
On Thursday, Elon Musk overtook Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person, with a net worth of $ 194.8 billion.
With Friday’s jump in Hyundai Motor shares, Euisun Chung is now valued at $ 4.8 billion and his father’s fortune rising to $ 7.4 billion. The two directly own about 8% of Hyundai Motor.
Friday was also a good day for the richest person in South Korea. Jay Y Lee of Samsung Electronics Co. has earned more than $ 2 billion as the nation’s largest company advanced the most since March, hitting its peak after it reported a 26% jump in operating income.
Samsung’s heir faces a nine-year prison sentence for bribery, with the Seoul High Court preparing to hand down a ruling on January 18.