[Viewpoiont] Content is necessary for success

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[Viewpoiont] Content is necessary for success

Hwang Chang-gyu, former head of Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor business, has been tapped to lead the new National Research and Development Strategy Planning Team.

The team is the supreme decision-making body for governing the distribution of the research and development budget of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy - a budget that will amount to 4.4 trillion won ($3.87 billion) every year. He will co-chair the newly launched strategy planning team with Minister Choi Kyung-hwan, who will play a nominal role.

In other words, it is Hwang who will take the full responsibility to develop national R&D projects. Because of this people have called him the Chief Technology Officer. I, however, think he should be called the Chief Content Officer instead.

These are the days when content, rather than technology, is in full swing.

Against this backdrop, the former chairman of Samsung, Lee Kun-hee, has returned to lead Samsung Electronics. Though Apple’s iPhone 3G and Samsung’s Omnia II are classified in the same smartphone category, the market’s response to both types of gadgets is as far apart as heaven and earth.

What is the reason for this?

In a nutshell, Apple’s iPhone scrambled to ink agreements over content, while Omnia II focused on just selling the device itself. Users of the Taiwan-produced iPhone cannot video chat or enjoy Digital Multimedia Broadcasting services.

However, what the CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, has done was to expand into the infinite realms of content applications to ensure that iPhone users can enjoy a wide variety of digital entertainment.

The real power behind the surging popularity of Apple’s iPhone is a web of industrial networks for countless amounts of content that must be downloaded if the users want to enjoy diverse media on the iPhone.

But Samsung was bent solely upon manufacturing the device itself, while the iPhone has lured its users to attractive content applications where users might pay more than $20 per application. iPhone users throughout the world have become voluntary slaves to such a magnificent temptation.

In summary, the iPhone craze is worthy of our fear, in terms of the fact that it succeeded in saturating major markets by capitalizing on content while we are especially vulnerable to the front.

In one word, Samsung’s Omnia II is losing business to its iPhone competitor, mainly due to its weak content ware even though it has a competitive technological advantage and simply excels in the device capabilities.

The mobile market is no longer limited to just one product, which clearly suggests where we should go from here.

Yet it does not mean that technology is no longer needed.

What I am advocating it that is that the technology should be become content-based.

If so, it is right to set the strategic direction for research and development by considering such factors mentioned above. In line with that, I believe the title of Hwang’s new job should be changed from Chief Technology Officer to Chief Content Officer.

One can ask me why it is so important to change a mere title.

Don’t forget: we should not ignore the simple fact that the title we are putting out today may create a big gap in the direction and vision of tomorrow.

The most urgent task that awaits us is that our research and development must give the highest priority to the new content applications.

Some people might say that his job is not a “national” one as it should be carried out within budget limits of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

Not so.

I believe such a turf war is completely useless. He will be put in a position to carry tremendous responsibilities of managing a vast budget on his shoulders. Therefore, his responsibilities are truly “national.”

The point is in what direction we should be heading in the future.

Research and development should not be confined to a traditional meaning of technology.

The ratio of research and development on content should be raised by the greatest extent possible.

We are living in an era of content after the era of software and hardware.

Simply manufacturing a device, however profitable it may look, has no future.

Simply creating software required to operate the device is not enough any more. It is imperative to give impetus to the development of content, to ensure that users of hardware and software can enjoy an unlimited array of entertainment.

Now our survival depends on how to make intensive investment in this field.

That’s why Hwang’s role as Chief Content Officer is so important.

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.


By Chung Jin-hong
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