Steady support for SamsungSamsung Electronics, the world’s largest consumer electronics maker, has truly been performing up to its name. Its market capitalization recently reached $110.2 billion, eclipsing Intel Corp.’s $109.3 billion. It has long beaten out its electronics rival, Sony, and recently topped Nokia, the world’s largest handset maker, in market value.
News of these successes has helped to create a stir in local markets, along with an announcement by the Financial Times Stock Exchange Group that Korea has been upgraded to developed market status from its previous position in the advanced emerging category.
The company boasts a few of the world’s highest-ranking products, including semiconductors, mobile phones and digital displays. It has been instrumental in pulling the country out of the global financial meltdown, and its shares have become widely popular among global investors as a safe and profitable bet.
But it must be careful of the so-called $100 billion trap. Many multinationals have found themselves sliding back after reaching this landmark. Some are debilitated by their own growth, which makes them overly indulgent or rigid. Others become too wrapped up in their own success to notice they are on a downward slide.
Intel and I.B.M. have been marking time ever since they reached the $100 billion mark in 1999. General Motors and Ford Motor, once pillars of corporate stability in the U.S., plunged to their lowest point amid a cycle of debt and sluggish sales. Shares of Sony worth $100 billion in 2000 have since been slashed to one-fourth of their previous value.
Samsung Electronics must learn from the mistakes of these corporations and the successes of those who have sailed through the $100 billion trap to come out on top. General Electric, Microsoft, Toyota and Apple are the best examples. They have dominated the global market by maintaining their existing product lines while also venturing into new territory by developing technologies and restructuring their organizations. In addition, these companies concocted some of the most widely used management strategies introduced to the global corporate community.
After it reaches its $100 billion peak, Samsung Electronics must prepare to tackle some new horizons of its own, always keeping in mind that escaping the land mines is a bigger challenge than getting to the landmarks.