Bloomberg TV

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

South Korea Powers Ahead

The power of branding is something that Korea can teach the world. Just a few years ago, Korean products were el cheapo substitutes for Japanese makes. The Asian financial crisis almost forced Korea's hand, and it took the country a long time to recover. Well, guess what? Korea's most widely watched stock index, the KOSPI, has just reached an all-time high. At a time when the Dow Jones is more like the Down Jones (which I actually saw as a typo on CNN), Korean stocks are powering ahead.

What lies behind this resurgence? The emergence of Korean brands as global ones is definitely a factor. For instance, Samsung's image has been burnished by its range of cool phones, LCD displays, and other state-of-the-art consumer electronics. Nowadays, I and many others regard Samsung as a premium brand and not another also-ran. (LG Electronics isn't far off the pace.) Hyundai is also becoming renowned as a value-for-money make, featuring a range of desirable cars. You would've been considered a cheapskate for buying a Hyundai in the past, yet it's now a perfectly good substitute for Japanese makes. Check out the Hyundai Sonata now and back when it was lumped with the Yugo and tell me that there's no difference.

Also strong are steelmaker POSCO (just in time for China's commodities boom) and Daewoo Shipbuilding (which has benefited from growth in shipping). What do all these companies have in common? They've established brand equity whether they're B2B or B2C firms. Taiwanese firms, many of which make electronics approaching commodity status, would be well-advised to follow the Korean example. Indeed, BenQ is their first major attempt at branding. The future is always uncertain, yet building a good reputation with customers helps in any situation. Let South Korea show us the way.

Posted by Emmanuel |

« Home | John Berry Riles Markets » //-->


Post a Comment

 © Bloomberg TV 2005 - Powered by Blogger Templates for Blogger