HCS has its presence in 11 countries including Korea. As a global financial company with around 2,500 overseas employees, HCS is making all-out efforts to expand our business territories to the whole world. From this month, HCC/HCS Newsroom delivers stories of expats who are working hard at every corner of the world to introduce and expand HCS’s financial services. You can see vividly what is really happening in the global business of HCS aiming at Global One Company.
Jaewon Lee and all HCR employees are smiling for the camera at their team building dinner.
“Здравствуйте!” Hello from Russia! I’m the second HCS expat to be on the series of “Hear from Expats”, Jaewon Lee, CEO of Hyundai Capital Russia. Hyundai Capital made its first step in Moscow, Russia in 2008 to explore the idea of entering into the Russian market. After three years of preparation including local market research, Hyundai Capital Russia or HCR, a consulting entity providing its OEMs with finance consulting services launched in 2011. I have been taking on the role of the CEO at HCR for two years starting from October 2016. There are unfamiliar cultures and business in Russia. I believe you may also find what you think it would be and what it actually is like are totally different. I would like to take this opportunity to be featured on “Hear from Expats” and share my three years of experience living in and with Russia and its auto market and its people.
Jaewon Lee and HCR employees participating in a year-end event hosted by Kia Motors RussiaOpen the door of the Russian market, open Russians’ wallets
What comes to your mind when you think of ‘Russia’? Probably something dynamic like Red Square, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Trans-Siberian railway, etc. What do its auto and financial service industries look like? Back in 2017, the Russian government announced ‘The auto industry strategy 2025’ to boost the morale in the auto and its related industries by increasing domestic demand and providing more support to the export sector. However, the market does not look like it’s bouncing back easily due to a negative perception created during the communist era towards influx of foreign capital and a passive attitude towards economic stimulus. How about the financial services industry? Russians feel strong about owning assets and negative about taking out a loan. That is why the number of transactions where customers buy a car all cash accounts for more than half of the total transactions, even though the government provides customers financed to purchase a car with a subsidy amounting to more than 10% of the car price. Most of global car brands are already in the Russian market along with their captive finance arms, but struggling for the same reason. Russia’s central bank is supporting the country’s largest car manufacturer ‘AvtoVAZ’ on top of that, which places foreign brands like us at a disadvantage.
(From the left side) Jaewon Lee and HCR employees visiting a Hyundai Motor factory in Russia, HCR holding compliance meetings on a regular basis for government relations
Then, how HCR opened Russians’ wallets? The key was financial products most optimized for the Russian market which were designed based on Hyundai Capital’s know-how to enter into new overseas markets. First, I would like to talk about how we launched a finance product called ‘Personal Contract Purchase (which predicts and sets aside a car’s future value and allows a customer to pay back the remaining amount) which keeps a customer’s monthly payments lower for the first time in the Russian market. A PCP was an ideal product for Russian customers who wanted to buy a car, but were reluctant due to more pressure on household budgets caused by a drop in their disposable income as the economic recovery was slower than expected. With the launch of PCP, the market share of Hyundai and Kia cars together went up from 15% in 2014 to 24% in September this year. HCR also made effort to select the right bank partners which were capable of carrying Hyundai Capital’s finance products in a stable manner. HCR is currently partnering with ‘Cetelem’ and ‘Rusfinance Bank’. We focused on finding partnership with financial institutions which had higher credibility and stability at the same time to increase the level of trust towards HCR in the local market.HCR employees are now looking at the world…Hyundai Capital’s DNA in HCR
I also would like to talk about HCR colleagues who were a big help for HCR to get through tough times. HCR is a small entity with only 15 employees in total, but 80% of them are local hires who are one of the best experts when it comes to the Russian financial market. They are grateful friends who I turn to for advice every time I have an issue or a problem while doing my job as an expat and also the CEO. I always grapple with an idea as the CEO thinking, ‘How can I share Hyundai Capital’s DNA with them?’ Looking back, what worked the best was to giving people more opportunities to help them experience in person that they are part of Hyundai Capital’s global business. That is why I encourage my colleagues to participate in career development programs hosted by Global HR Department at HCS including Global Exchange Program and Talent Development Program to help them feel proud. I also try to talk them into being interested in ‘Global Site Visit’, a program which invites Hyundai Capital’s global employees to its headquarters in Seoul.
(From the left side) HCR employees having a great time at Happy Hour designed to getting them closer,
HCR officially sponsoring the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance in Moscow in October 2019.
HCR employees taking a photo with the conductor Markus Stenz after the performance
Russian are into the Korean culture from K-Pop, K-drama, food, fashion, etc. In the country where the Korean Wave is strong, HCR is dreaming of creating ‘the Korean Wave in finance products’. Though HCR is a consulting entity now, we are taking one step after another towards the dream of bringing ‘the Korean Wave’ to financing by converting into a captive finance company which will provide the Russian consumers with its finance products directly in the mid-to-long term. The Russian economy is still recovering. But as Hyundai and Kia car sales are posting strong numbers recently, Hyundai Capital needs to play a more important role. Car sharing and mobility-related industries are developing gradually mainly in some big cities in Russia as well. HCR is committed to making new attempts to address the changes taking place in the Russian auto industry and its market.
Hyundai Capital is formulating innovative and advanced HR policies fit for a global financial company while offering diverse programs to enable effective sharing among employees around the world. Global Mobility Program offers new career opportunities to employees worldwide. Other programs such as the GEP (Global Exchange Program) and TD (Talent Development) enable employees to gain experience overseas and cultivate global leadership. Global Internship Program, Global Site Visit and the GCCA (Global Corporate Culture Ambassador) initiative which aims to exchange corporate culture among different entities encourage global employees who differ in nationality, language and culture to better understand each other.