Korean firms polish image
Sunday 12 February 1995
Just before Christmas the Samsung name went up in lights at Piccadilly Circus, and construction began on a £600m plant near Stockton, Cleveland, where the company will make microwave ovens and computer monitors.
Samsung, Korea's largest corporation, unveiled a new logo a couple of years ago. Next month, Goldstar - the third largest - will change its trading name to LG Electronics and unveil its new logo. Both moves are intended to portray a more sophisticated image to Western consumers.
These are just the most obvious signs of expansionism. The two giants of Korean electronics manufacturing are also following their Japanese role models in more significant ways as they seek to consolidate their position as global brands.
One key way in which Japanese manufacturers have been able to create products with character has been by learning more about the cultures of their target markets. Car-makers such as Nissan and Mazda injected creativity into their products when they set up design studios in California.
Their Korean counterparts have not been slow to copy the example. In 1991, Goldstar set up its Design-Tech Studio in Dublin with assistance from the Industrial Development Agency in Ireland. In addition to this European outpost, the company also has small design studios in the United States and Japan, thus covering the "Triad" of the world's three main economic regions as described by McKinsey's well-known management theorist Kenichi Ohmae.
The Goldstar Design-Tech Studio employs Irish designers who work alongside Koreans. The centre hosts occasional international workshops with visiting Korean and European designers and students. lt is the hub through which Goldstar employs leading European design consultancies to produce designs that are appropriate to regional markets. The management structure allows Goldstar to maintain close relations with its chosen consultancies, according to the general manager, Soon-In Lee. "I believe this is a very good way to relate designer and consultant."
Samsung, too, has recently devolved its design activity. The company works closely with the international product design consultancy IDEO, both in London and through a joint venture studio in the US. A key element of Samsung's design strategy is the planning of product ranges that reflect regional differences.
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...
£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...
£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...