The Korean communications network device market will be a fierce battleground this year in which neck-and-neck competition will be waged between existing players and new entries. With the runnerup group's aggression to take a larger share of the market from leaders strengthening from late last year, several multinational firms entered the market, adding fuel to the already heated competition.
As for the router and switch market, dominated by Cisco Systems Korea, Juniper Korea Co. which emerged as a dark horse this year, stays strong, and 3Com Korea is pitching its marketing, leading to cutthroat competition.
In the fast rising L7 switch market, Radware and Nortel Networks are maintaining their strength and a domestic player, Piolink Inc, and F5 Networks of the U.S. are boldly exploring the market, creating a multilateral competing structure.
In particular, Piolink is drawing attention as it revealed an advanced L7 switch based on its competitive edge in the L4 switch market.
The optical transmission device market has been dominated by Lucent, Alcatel, Nortel Networks and Ciena. Other foreign vendors such as Mahi Networks and Tellium, and domestic counterparts including Intelligent Telecommunications, Letek Communication and Coweaver are turning aggressive to benefit from the market shift to next-generation devices.
Despite a business slump over the past few years, the communications network market has enormous growth potential. Foreign vendors have commanded much of the market while domestic players remained down as recently as last year.
But the situation has changed. Several domestic start-up firms developing their own technology are emerging fast in the network market at home and abroad. Some of the newcomers are gaining rapid recognition in the overseas markets as well as in the local market with the high quality of their products and technological power.
Domestic switch company Piolink Inc. supplied its products to around 40 companies, such as Japan's FXC, SMC and Yokohama during the first half of this year. Considering that their benchmark test is progressing with a large Japanese firm, exports will rise further.
Nitgen Technologies' Enpia Division is eager to make its mark in the market with "IP Master", a STM (System Traffic Management) solution which Enpia claims is different from other companies' products. Of the 8.4 billion sales goal for this year, the company expects to earn billion won from device exports and consulting.
Comtec Systems Co. developed and launched eight models of Gigabit Ethernet switches for small and medium-sized enterprise network environments for the first time in the domestic market. In the wake of this new product development, the company plans to enter the multimedia integration and intelligent application markets and make inroads into the U.S., Europe and Japan.
Xener Systems attracted attention in the industry by focusing on development projects for next-generation communications equipment for Internet telephony and multimedia telephony together with developing IP PBX for enterprises. Huconex, a VDSL (very-high-data-rate digital subscriber line) chip developer, is now under negotiations with Hanaro Telecom to supply 50-mega chip-sets which it developed in cooperation with domestic VDSL device manufacturers, and is knocking on the overseas markets as well.
Although large contracts diminished, notably due to network saturation and the economic slowdown, domestic companies supplying 155-megabit/2.5G/10G-class small and medium-sized transmission devices have seen their sales rise steadily. Despite the economic recession, Coweaver, Armitel and Millinet have struck it rich due to rising expansion and replacement demand for their optical transmission devices from large telecommunications carriers and from other companies and public organizations.
As seen above, domestic companies have been active in the communications network market from last year. In face of the foreign firms' dominance, the domestic industry's activity is expected to continue this year led by a group of topnotch companies with technological and price advantages and a capable workforce.
However, industry experts advised the domestic industry not to plunge into competition with foreign rivals recklessly, but to leverage core competencies. And only by seeking lucrative business, rather than ruthless expansion of sales, can they win the race ahead.