South Korea’s Harim Group and its chairman, Kim Hong-kuk, have been accused of not supporting the domestic shipbuilding industry after the company ordered six ships from China.

Harim Group, which according to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, is the largest poultry company in South Korea with a 32 percent market share, acquired a 58 percent share of Pan Ocean Co. Ltd., the country’s largest bulk shipping company.

According to Korea Times, an official with Pan Ocean said the decision to order ships from China was one of finding the best deal for the company.

“Currently, Korean shipbuilders are demanding 10 percent more to build new ships compared to Chinese shipyards. It was an inevitable choice to boost our competitiveness under the nature of competitive global bidding," the company official stated.

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Harim’s business decision comes at a time when Korean shipbuilders such as Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Samsung Heavy Industries have just managed to start recovering from a financial slump.

At the time Harim Group acquired Pan Ocean, it stated that it intended to add a grains trading business to Pan Ocean and plans to grow it into a major dealer, increasing efficiencies in shipping.

Other Harim Group business activities

Earlier in 2017, Harim Group affiliate Farmsco acquired the animal feed and breeder units of Indonesian stockbreeding firm Sujaya Group as part of the company’s plan to expand into the country. Also in 2017, plans were revealed that Harim Group would expand its poultry processing plant in Iksan, South Korea, adding four new lines over a five-floor plant, with the processing equipment being ordered from Marel Poultry.

Harim Group, in 2011, purchased U.S. poultry company Allen Family Foods to form Allen Harim Foods. Allen Harim is the 21st largest broiler company in the United States, having produced   8.57 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis in 2016.