중앙데일리

Korea’s image trails Japan, U.S. and even China

Surveys show consumers abroad don’t get brands’ high-tech buzz   PLAY AUDIO

Apr 27,2010
International consumers’ opinions of South Korean products have improved over the years, but they still think local products are less than three-fourths as good as products made in other advanced countries, according to a state trade promoter yesterday.

In its 2009 report on South Korean brands, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency said if the products of such advanced countries as the U.S., Japan and Germany are valued at $100 on average, South Korean products of the same quality are valued at $71.50.

The figure, from a survey by Kotra of 8,230 people in 31 countries, was up 3.3 percentage points from a 2008 survey. The figure rose 0.5 percentage points and 1.4 percentage points in 2008 and 2007, respectively, from the year earlier.

Kotra said the improvement in South Korean products’ image was attributable to Korea’s enhanced global reputation, which it said came from the country’s “successful” response to the global economic crisis and its planned hosting of the G-20 Summit in November.

Many experts and corporate officials, however, said another survey pointed to an even larger image gap between South Korean and advanced countries’ products. In a February survey, Anholt, the world’s leading nation branding evaluator, ranked South Korea 31st out of 50 countries, behind even China and India.

“The Korea discount is still out there although it is not as big as it used to be,” said Hong Seong-il, an industry policy researcher at the Federation of Korean Industries, the biggest local business lobbyist group.

Kotra said tension between South Korea and North Korea is still a major downside to consumer perceptions. “In the survey, students and the general public outside the corporate realm linked South Korea more with the Korean War and North Korea’s alleged nuclear weapons program than with technologies and economic development,” said Kim Sang-muk, a Kotra official.

The country’s relatively low level of overseas development aid to the rest of the world also plays a part in its low image. On a 0-to-5 scale, South Korea was given 3.16 points for international contributions, the Kotra survey showed, less than 3.81 for the U.S., 3.76 for Japan, 3.48 for Germany and 3.28 for China.

Two qualities South Korea tries to emphasize in its marketing - dynamism and technology - have yet to be recognized by consumers. For dynamism, South Korea was given 3.57 points compared with Japan’s 3.95, the U.S.’s 3.80 and China’s 3.6. South Korea’s 3.50 mark for state-of-the-art technologies was better than China’s 3.40, but significantly lower than Japan’s 4.38, the U.S.’s 4.08 and Germany’s 3.89.

“Korea already has many strengths, but the world does not know it,” said Hong Sung-tai, a business professor at Hanyang University. One in four people surveyed by Kotra said they thought Korea’s leading company, Samsung, was a Japanese brand.

“What is needed for the government and the Presidential Council on Nation Branding is to come up with effective strategies to market Korea,” Hong said.

By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]



dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장