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Hyundai replaces China head amid weak recovery

Seoul

SOUTH Korea's Hyundai Motor Co on Wednesday said it has replaced the head of its operation in China after less than one year, to accelerate recovery in its biggest market.

The carmaker is recovering only slowly from the impact of a diplomatic row between the Seoul and Beijing governments, while a dearth of sport utility vehicles hit its sales hard last year.

Hyundai named Yoon Mong Hyun, head of its Turkey operations, as president of its Chinese joint venture with BAIC Motor Corp Ltd. The venture's current head, Tao Hung Tan, who only started the role in September, will support the Chinese business from the carmaker's Seoul headquarters, the company said.

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Affiliate Kia Motors Corp also named Jin Byung Jin as head of its Chinese joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Group Co Ltd.

"These appointments are to reinforce our competitiveness, which has been showing signs of recovery in the Chinese auto market," the companies said in a joint statement.

Hyundai's Chinese retail sales climbed 4 per cent while Kia's rose 1.3 per cent in January-June compared with the same period a year earlier. REUTERS