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(Reuters) — Samsung Electronics said it would set up a 500 billion won ($445 million) fund to help small suppliers, the highest-profile South Korean firm to unveil steps in the wake of new President Moon Jae-in’s call to protect small businesses.

Moon came to power this month promising to rein in the family-owned conglomerates that dominate Asia’s fourth-largest economy. Calling himself the ‘jobs president’, he has also said he wants to discourage contract jobs, raise the minimum wage and reduce working hours.

Samsung Electronics said the fund will allow its suppliers to borrow cash interest-free for a year so that those suppliers’ subcontractors can be paid promptly. It will run until May 2020.

The tech giant decided to establish the fund after meetings with suppliers late last year, it said in a statement.

In other recent moves by South Korean firms to support jobs, the nation’s largest agricultural cooperative said it will consider making 5,245 temporary workers regular employees.

The National Agricultural Cooperative Federation employs more than 35,000 full-time and part-time workers at dozens of affiliate companies, including a bank and a hypermarket chain.

SK Broadband, an affiliate of South Korea’s largest telecom firm SK Telecom, will set up a service subsidiary that will make 5,200 workers currently on contract regular employees, Yonhap news agency said on Tuesday citing the company.

An SK spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)


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