China’s IT wave is burying Korea
You can guess the status of a company by its location in the dozens of exhibition halls in the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Money cannot buy a prime location. A company should prove its technological caliber and future vision to be assigned a good booth.
The big shots in the global IT market are mostly located at the Central Hall at Las Vegas Convention Center. This year, some 150 companies that proved their technologies set up their booths here. In the central hall, the front row is the most-coveted real estate.
This year, Samsung Electronics landed the crème de la crème right in front of the entrance. Other regulars are LG Electronics, Sony, Canon, Panasonic and Cassio. It is notable that Chinese company Huawei is trailing the leaders very closely, setting up a booth right behind Sony. Huawei is the second largest communications device maker and third smartphone maker in the world.
Newcomers were in the back, and Chinese companies had a strong presence. Nearly half of the exhibitors were Chinese. Television makers Hisense, Changhong and TLC were prominent. Other companies presented smart sensor measuring air quality when connected to a smart phone, home lighting connected to Alexa and telephoto lens that can be clipped on a smartphone.
A Korean researcher said, “The television makers that used to have simple booths in the back have grown rapidly and are moving towards the front.” He added that the Chinese companies will take over the Central Hall soon.
With so many Chinese companies participating, the competition for prime locations gets fiercer. A company from Guangdong Province making Bluetooth audio was told that they would have to move to another hall next year. A company making ergonomic desks says that they want to expand next year but it won’t be easy.
When so many new Chinese IT companies are working hard to get a spot in the Central Hall, no Korean IT company could be found. The only Korean companies in the Central Hall were Samsung and LG. There is no company that will become a leader in the future.
Korea’s industrial environment failed to nurture technologically competitive small and medium businesses. The class changes constantly.
There are so many emerging Chinese companies in the back row, and we still haven’t got any. Companies cannot grow in a year or two.
JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 9, Page 29
*The author is an industrial news reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.