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Wonderful IT Power Korea. Korean Brands Catching the Eyes

Wonderful IT Power Korea. Korean Brands Catching the Eyes

Posted June. 28, 2002 23:07,   


▽Korea World Watches = Contrary to Koreans’ wishes, negative images were lingering in foreigners’ minds: for example, a country of division, instability of its economy and politics.

In last May, KOTRA conducted a survey on the Korea’s image among foreigners. 12,793 people across 72 countries were surveyed. 33% responded that they remembered Korea as a divided nation. 22% of respondents recalled the World Cup, 25% high-speed development and 13% the ’88 Olympics.

But the Korea-Japan World Cup serves a new opportunity to eradicate the imagery.

Koreans and workers living or stationing abroad stressed, “This is the first time the foreign media heavily focused on the bright side.”

Go Ki-soo explained the atmosphere in Japan, “The news from Korea was absolutely dark in nature: the Korean War, assassination of former president Park Jung-hee and the economic crisis. Throughout my entire life, this is the first time to hear only bright news about Korea.” He immigrated to Japan in 1950 and now runs a software company developing translation software.

This change of attitude toward Korea resulted from the synergy-effects of the World Cup’s hallucination of the world, the Semi-final legend of Korea and the orderly, enthusiastic fans named Red Devils.

The major foreign media highlighted not only the victories our team has achieved; they also shed light on the unprecedented “street cheering” and Korea’s strength as IT power. The US and European press also contributed to leaving positive images by using impressive headlines like “The Red Devil’s Dance is Changing Korea” and “The Sun in the East is Spewing out Fire in Korea.”

Also the image of “Country of Enthusiasm, Korea” has been branded deep into the minds of 60 million people around the world. It was mainly due to the unyielding spirits of the Korean team and the Red Devils, whose cheering was thunder, but whose self-control was never lost. Foreigners eye-witnessed all of these, without any manipulation, on TY screen.

▽Shaping Outcomes = IT industry is the one directly “hit” by the World Cup. Only in June, Samsung Electronics witnessed their sales volume of TV projectors in United Kingdom shot up more than 10 times comparing with the last June’s. The interest in Korean-made electronics is getting widespread in World Cup participating countries like Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland.

KT signed up a 100 million dollar contract with the Indonesian government for building up Indonesia’s “e-government project.” KT volunteered for the World Cup sponsorship to tap on the Asia’s telecommunication market. It was right on the bull’s eye. It estimates the marketing effects from the World Cup at a little less than 1 billion dollars (i.e. I trillion won).

Samsung SDS also agreed to build up a database worth $ 200 million for a Chinese company specializing in recreation business. Especially in China, “IT Power, Korea” is the strongest image branded. Accordingly, the sales volume of IT products will skyrocket in China.

This World Cup also planted feeling of pride in the dealers selling Korean products. Murad Apdula Murad, a UAE national dealing for LG Electronics, Inc., sent e-mail to the headquarters in Korea, saying, “I got really impressed at the Korea’s image. I feel like a part of it. I sell LG products. I am proud of it.”

It is true of the dealers working for Hyundai Motors, which is also an official sponsor. Kim Yong-hwan, the chief executive in charge of Europe, delighted, “Dealers’ compliments keep coming in. They praise our decision to sponsor for the World Cup. It would be more than billions of dollars only in terms of advertising effects.”

Byong-Ki Lee Im-Sook Ha eye@donga.com artemes@donga.com