Samsung Electronics

Nostalgia for a Despot: an Armchair Perspective of Korea’s Present

The big talking point in the land of the morning calm is undoubtedly the election of the conservative party candidate Park Geun Hye to the presidency. Park’s father is man by the name of Park Chung Hee, whose name is both revered and reviled in Korea. Park Geun Hye is a woman, but more in the vein of Margaret Thatcher, where it could be argued gender is incidental.

Park’s election has sparked plenty of talk due to her relationship with her father who ruled this nation with a very controversial iron fist for the best part of two decades in the 1960s and 1970s. While I didn’t follow the election race in too much depth, I know that Park’s victory ticked all the boxes in terms of surprise, disappointment, doom, and any other negative or positive political emotion you can think up.


SK Group: Korea’s Corporate Governance Litmus Test?

Korea’s SK Group Under Potential Investigation
Recently, this nondescript article appeared on Yonhap; $88 million in possible embezzlement, allegations unproven, perhaps mere speculation. Move on, nothing to see here, next…hold on a second.


Books about Working, Doing Business and Corporate Culture in S Korea

Check the books below, if you are planning to work or do business in S Korea. These books will help you get insight on the Corporate Culture in S Korea and at the same time educate you about the Business Etiquette you need to follow while working in Korea.


corporate_book_sony_vs_samsungSony vs Samsung: The Inside Story of the Electronics Giants’ Battle For Global Supremacy
by Sea-Jin Chang


Annoying Things About Korea #14: No Netflix, US Open, NFL

Licensing Agreements Are a Pain In The Neck


Maybe Samsung Hasn’t Won Quite Yet

No Surprise Here: Apple v Samsung Is a Long Way from Over
The mK Business Daily may have changed its (i)tune in today’s article. Unlike the previous article on this topic, the subject of this post, the new article points out that Apple may replace Samsung components with other manufacturers’ components. These components just happen to be used in the very popular (and profitable) iPhone and the iPad. While the Galaxy Tab may be a fine tablet and the Galaxy S is a very good smartphone, Apple must be one of Samsung’s most important customers. The same cannot be said in reverse.


According To mK Business Daily, Samsung Has Already Won

 


Private Lenders’ Profits Growing in Korea: Not Good

Growing Profits is Good, Right? Not So Fast
This seemingly innocent post here reported that the interest income earned by private lenders in Korea has risen handsomely. The five largest private lenders, A&P Financial Co. (Rush & Cash), Sanwa Money, Welcome Credit Line, Lead Corp. and Baro Credit, posted a greater than 20% increase in interest income during 2010. The article also reported that smaller private lenders’ interest income rose by over 30% during the year. Well, herein lies the problem.


Rare Earths Trade War is a Potential Korean Disaster

Rare Earths Are Important to Korea's Economy
Rare earths are a group of rare elements.  They are used in the manufacturing of technology products including smart phones and earphones.  In the article, this very interesting table was included, which points out the uses of rare earths in the production of products.





United States Usage
(2008 data)
Metallurgy & alloys
29%
Electronics
18%
Chemical Catalysts
14%
Phosphors for monitors, television, lighting
12%
Catalytic converters
9%
Glass polishing
6%
Permanent magnets
5%
Petroleum refining
4%
Other
3%

Source: geology.com


If you look at the list, perhaps you will notice electronics, TVs/monitors, and catalytic converters.  Did you ever hear of Samsung Electronics or Hyundai-Kia Motors?  In other words, rare earths are important to some of the most important Korean industries.
Earlier, the Seoul Gyopo Guide pointed out that North Korean-Chinese cooperation on rare earths was a troubling development.   Today, on Bloomberg.com, it was revealed that Australia blocked the Chinese takeover of an Australian company because Australia was concerned over the Chinese gaining further control of rare earths.

Conclusions
This issue will require constant attention.  It is certainly on the radar screen of all of the largest Korean companies.  Korea must secure rare earths sources, and given that China controls approximately 95% of these, it will make the South Korean-Chinese economic relationship more complex than ever.  Already, China is challenging Korea in another important industry, shipbuilding.   
You can easily conclude that a rare earths trade war has already broken out between the U.S. and China.  Korea's economy is not as large nor as diverse as the U.S.', and as such, it must avoid the economic warfare and secure sources of rare earths critical to Korean industries.  Not addressing this issue would be shortsighted at best, and a disaster at worst.



North Korea-Chinese Agreement on Raw Materials is a Worrying Development

It's No Secret:  China's Economy's Growth Has Benefited South Korea
It is a well-known fact that the economic development of China has been very rapid, as it has grown at basically 8-10% per year for almost the past 30 years.  The impact on the global economy has been enormous. The largest Korean companies, Samsung Electronics, Hyunda-Kia Motor Corporation, LG Electronics, Hyundai Heavy, SK Energy, POSCO, to name a few, have benefited \during this time.  The revenues earned \by the largest Korean companies have funded research and development efforts which have yielded global market share gains versus its global competitors, including the Japanese.  Globally, Korean companies are at least on par with their global competitors as measured by almost any measure.  The Seoul Gyopo Guide has pointed out that the relatively weak Korean Won has also played a very strong role in this.

China's Growth Has Keep Global Inflation Down.  For Now.

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