Chinese Triumphs Should Wake Up Korean IT Firms

      September 11, 2014 15:14

      In a sideshow at the IFA electronics show in Berlin that might otherwise have gone unnoticed except by a few boffins, Chinese TV maker TCL unveiled the first 110-inch curved UHD TV. Another Chinese TV maker, Hisense, became the first in the world to unveil a flat screen television with quantum dot technology, which boasts better clarity than LCD TVs and is cheaper to make than OLED TVs.

      The global TV market has long been dominated by Samsung and LG, which offered bigger screens and the most innovative technologies in 3D and OLED products. But for how much longer, now that the Chinese are no longer two technological steps behind but one ahead?

      In the smartphone market, Chinese manufacturers Lenovo and Haier are releasing products that in some ways rival those of Samsung and Apple. And they are launching smart home appliances that can be operated from phones and tablet PCs.

      Of course they still fall behind Samsung and other industry leaders in terms of brand power and reliability, but it is only a matter of time before they gain the edge.

      What drives them is intense competition in their home market, where only the most competitive players can survive and those who do are capable of taking on the best the world has to offer. A case in point is Xiaomi, which was only established four years ago and is now the No. 1 smartphone maker in the world's most populous country.

      In these circumstances Korea can barely hope to stay ahead of Chinese players in TV and smartphone technology, because they are armed with both cost competitiveness and technological savvy. If Korea is to stay ahead of the pack, nothing less than a paradigm shift is needed in the industry, together with an active search for new markets. Korean companies must find solutions, not by perpetually mimicking and benchmarking industry leaders, but by developing truly creative new technologies.

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