Innovation is key to the success of Chinese firms

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Innovation is key to the success of Chinese firms

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Kang Yong-nam

Innovation is the core source of the success of Chinese IT companies, says Kang Yong-nam, general manager of Lenovo Korea, and the country can no longer be seen as “under-developed … with a manufacturing-centered industry”.

He was referring to his company’s experience with more than 1.3 billion customers in China. He said the experience of Chinese companies has allowed them to “[read] changes in consumer purchasing patterns”.

Ten years ago, Chinese customers bought Samsung or LG products just by looking at the brand names. Now customers search for the products with specific functions they want and buy most of them online.

“Time has passed and stocking products at bricks-and-mortar shops will not guarantee sales anymore,” he said. “Notable innovation must be preceded to induce customers.”

Illustrating his comments, Kang, laid down the PC monitor on a table in his office. As he touched the monitor, it turned into a gaming screen for two people. “It was Lenovo that took the initiative in developing the Yoga tablet with a kick-stand, which is far from typical rectangular tablets, and laptops with separate monitors and keyboards,” he said, adding “all of the
results stem from taking in customer requests.”

Online communication accelerates the process of developing products customers desire. It is one of the reasons why Chinese companies invest in Social Network Service (SNS) platforms.

Lenovo Korea introduces their new products on Facebook ahead of their roll out. The release date is set depending on the number of ‘likes’ listed for the product.

“It’s already been two years since mobile businesses similar to Kakao Taxi settled in China and mobile payment systems like Alipay were introduced even earlier,” Kang pointed out. “While Korean companies are ahead of others in hardware technology, it’s rather slow at implementing services enhancing customer experience.”

He further emphasized that “the ability to read customer appetite is what’s driving the growth of Chinese companies.” He added, “Here lies a reason why we can no longer see China as an under-developed country with a manufacturing-centered industry.”

BY KIM HYUN-YE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]
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