KT's Koo sees opportunity coming after pandemic ends
KT CEO Koo Hyun-mo pointed out that the ongoing economic weakness resulting from the pandemic is different from other challenging periods in that the fate of several industries was “decoupled” from the overall downturn — meaning some fields were growing even as most of the economy was suffering.
The comments came during a Thursday seminar held for venture capitalists under the theme of changes that will follow Covid-19. Koo’s lecture was focused on strategies companies should employ to recover from the pandemic-driven crisis and to seize opportunity.
“Online education, telecommuting, telemedicine and delivery apps are business segments that experienced rapid growth after the Covid-19 outbreak — these won’t be short-lived trends. They’re part of a long-term shift in our society and therefore are fields full of business opportunities,” he said.
Online education services, for example, exist but never experienced explosive growth of this scale before Covid-19’s advent. With most subjects having been offered via online education, some of them may continue to be offered permanently online, the CEO said. In telemedicine, for which adoption was slow before the disease arrived, the outbreak allowed the testing of systems that could provide better access for the vulnerable.
“The biologic and health industry have so much growth potential. Even if your business is not directly about biologics or health care, the sectors will spur a score of relevant business fields,” he said.
With Korea’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic having received global attention, Koo said introducing IT-based medical services may offer opportunities for local companies to launch business overseas.
As for business owners, the CEO said this is the time to pose fundamental questions about office culture and old practices that were left unquestioned before the pandemic. The unexpected crisis is also a good opportunity to establish a system that would prevent chaos in emergency situations in the future.
“Covid-19 asks for strict preparations to be made in terms of supply network, staff safety, plummeting demand and office lockdowns,” Koo said. KT also had the experience of closing down the building of a customer call center, after which the telecommunications company established an upgraded backup system so that all tasks could be moved to another location in a similar situation.
“The experience of overcoming a crisis like Covid-19 can turn out to be an immense asset for a company,” said Koo. “Covid-19 has benefited Korea’s image. To extend this opportunity to bring fundamental change, we need to develop insight.”
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [firstname.lastname@example.org]