January 13, 2016 12:51
The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada last week saw a poor showing for Korean companies as the event focused on virtual reality, drones and electric vehicles.
Korean IT firms were considered global leaders until very recently, with Samsung and LG spending millions of dollars this year to set up mammoth showcases for their TVs, refrigerators and air conditioners.
But U.S., Chinese and Israeli tech companies proved a bigger draw with cutting-edge products that have the potential to carve out new markets, despite having smaller booths.
On current showing, Korean IT companies could become extinct in 10 to 20 years.
The situation was the especially poignant in a hall called Eureka Park, which featured products made by some 500 start-ups. The hall was filled with small booths showcasing the latest drones, virtual reality devices, workout gadgets and surveillance cameras. Most were U.S. companies followed, surprisingly, by French ones. Some 160 French start-ups took part in this year's CES.
But a mere 20 Korean booths huddled in a corner, and Samsung's in-house venture program "C-Lab" was the only one that drew any attention.
Foreign players also stole the show with electric vehicles and self-driving cars. Ford joined hands with Amazon and demonstrated a new technology that uses Internet of Things devices to remotely operate an automobile and home appliances. Toyota featured GPS technology that automatically creates a map while driving.
"While Korean companies focus on TVs, refrigerators and other established products, foreign rivals are busy searching for new growth engines, which is quite unnerving. We need to look further ahead," said Park Jong-hwan who runs a venture firm which makes car navigation apps.
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