New telecoms giant celebrates its birth
"Two heads are better than one" is an axiom that can also apply to business circles. The story is used for the telecommunications industry. Two Korean telecommunications firms merged into a new telecommunications giant.
KT or Korea Telecom (www.kt.com ), a new telecommunications giant was launched in Korea on June first with the goal to beat a steep nationwide and worldwide competition in the market. It is a kind of long-awaited merger of two telecommunications service providers - KT and its mobile subsidiary KTF or Korea Telecom Freetel. As a result of the merger, the new KT emerged as the new telecommunications giant, which will provide wired and wireless telephony, super-speed Internet, WiBro and IPTV services. The new entity has a combined annual sale of W18.9 trillion (US$15.3 billion), assets of W24.1 trillion (US$19.5 billion), and about 38,000 employees.
The launch of the new telecommunications giant has heralded a big bang in the telecommunications market, as it was a sign showing that a new order is being established in the industry. It also signifies the birth of Korea's first convergence enterprise, handling both wireless and mobile communications services.
The new KT is therefore, determined to take the lead in the country's efforts in the telecommunications industry as a whole. The telecommunications conglomerate will also look for new markets, with a focus on emerging economies in central Asia and Africa.
A year of 2009 was kind of tough year for most of the web sites including portal sites, shopping malls, banks and even the Blue House due to the damage of the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) Attack. Government organizations like National Intelligence Service (NIS) and the Ministry of National Defense (MND), which deal with diplomacy for national security, also had bitter experiences because their main servers were off-line for some period of time.
After that, the Korean government works out comprehensive anti-cyber terrorism measures by spending more than 1.3 billion of annual budgets in order to establish the responses such as providing national protection of private and public information, strengthening and activating cyber terrorism measures from the control center, in national and local governments and amending the Information Technology law.
But small and medium sized or individual types of malwares are still attacking many official and individual sites. These are even evolving themselves and destroying user's PC to get rid of hacker's traces. In spite of activating such anti-cyber terrorism measures, this is the time in which all of us need to prepare for long battle to protect our properties against cyber terrors.
Korean semiconductors and LCDs fight back to global depression
Technologies that have been on a roll in the field of cutting-edge technologies of world market 2009 would be Korean Semiconductors and LCDs. Popularities and growth of these two cutting-edge technologies did a lot of important roles in terms of providing an opportunity for Korean economy to rebound toward the year of 2010.
Total market share of Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductors in the second quarter of 2009 was 57.2 percent for the DRAM product lines. Korean LCD industries including Samsung Electronics and LG Display have successfully marked the balance in the black and sold the most products in the third quarter.
These products have acquired strong competitiveness by doing its business with a lot of world customers. These factors have actually elevated Korea's position higher in the world's IT industries. Therefore, we will be able to have high hopes very soon.
Korea ranks 9th in world export market share
Despite the global economic crisis, major industries including IT, shipbuilding, and automobiles remained successful in overseas markets. For the first time Korea is expected to be ranked among the top 10 global exporting countries. On Nov. 24, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy analyzed the export record and the results showed that Korea exported US$260 billion worth of goods from January to September, remaining at ninth place.
Korea moved three steps forward from last year's No. 12 spot. According to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, the decreased rate of export was relatively lower than competitors - UK (10th), Canada (11th), Hong Kong (12th), and Russia (13th). Actually, the export rate of the top 15 global export countries was reduced by 27.8 percent on average. Compared to a 20.9 percent decrease in the export rate of Korea, the UK had 30.5 percent, Canada had 36.6 percent, and Russia had 44.3 percent. Also, the trade surplus reached US$30.1 billion and ranks fifth in the world after China (US$136.3 billion), Germany (US$122.1 billion), Russia (US$76.7 billion) and the Netherlands (US$33.9 billion).
Since 1950, Korea is recorded as the third Asian country after Japan in 1955 and China in 1997 to be ranked in the top 10 of global exports.
Green growth in the electronics market
The government decided to inject a total of W107 trillion (US$83.8 billion), about two percent of the GDP, into the Green Growth sector each year for the next five years. This project is expected to bring from W182 trillion (US$142.5 billion) to W206 trillion (US$161.3 billion) in production induced effects and create 1.56 million to 1.81 million jobs. If implemented successfully, it will position Korea within the world's top seven green growth powerhouses by 2020, and within the world's top five by 2050.
The government's Green Growth paradigm basically envisages making its economic growth pattern a sustainable, environmentally-friendly one; seeking a virtuous cycle of the environment and the economy to maximize their synergy effects; carrying out a Green revolution in people's everyday lives; and utilizing Green Growth as new momentum for national development.
The Green Growth policy was initiated by President Lee Myung-bak when he set for a Low Carbon, Green Growth vision in his speech on the 60th founding anniversary of the Republic of Korea in 2008. Since then, the government has been pushing for the implementation of the Green Growth policy as a comprehensive development strategy aimed at creating new jobs and expanding future growth engines through harmonious management of the environment and the economic development.
Korean launch fails but it turned out half of success
Korea launched its first space launch vehicle (KSLV- I), or Naro, from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province at five pm on Aug. 25 after seven delays. However, it failed to put the Science and Technology Satellite-2 into orbit.
Naro blasted off 15 minutes after the automatic countdown began. Fifty-four seconds after the takeoff, Naro exceeded the sound barrier. Three minutes and 35 seconds later, its upper section separated. Three minutes and 49 seconds after the takeoff, its first-stage engine was ordered to stop and three minutes and 52 seconds later, its first-stage rocket separated.
Six minutes and 35 seconds after the takeoff, the second-stage rocket was ignited. And seven minutes and 33 seconds later and the first-stage combustion ended. But the launch failed to put the satellite into orbit.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology will conduct a second launch in the first quarter of 2010.
Survival of the smartest
An interesting battle of smart phones has begun in Korea as Apple launched its iPhone and Samsung released the Omnia 2. After the first introduction of the iPhone in the global market, Apple's iPhone has gained tremendous popularity around the world and then the latest iPhone 3GS with a 3.0 OS was released on June 8, 2009. The iPhone is available in over 80 countries and more than 35 million units have been sold. However, before the arrival of the iPhone, some were skeptical about the success of the iPhone in Korea due to the dominance of Korean manufacturers like Samsung and LG. However, the iPhone gained exceptional popularity in Korea with 62,000 consumers pre ordered an iPhone during the first week after the release announcement. The biggest strength of the iPhone is not just its hardware. The integration of its iTunes software makes the iPhone a great smart phone. Through iTunes, Apple provides a variety of media contents like music, movie, TV shows, podcasts, and audio books that are updated constantly and can be personalized for its users.
Samsung released the Omnia 2 (Samsung i8000) on June 15, 2009 and the response was unbeaten by the iPhone at a number of 65,000 new clients. The smart phone has a 3.7 inch Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) screen, which promises a brighter and clearer screen of 16 million colors and uses less battery power. Its DMB application lets users watch television anywhere and its five megapixel camera with face detection and smile detection helps users take extremely clear pictures. In addition, the Omnia 2 has introduced Geo Tagging, which enables the iPhone to automatically tag a picture with the location. This will allow the user to remember where the picture was taken.
Opinions are different on which smartphones are better. The iPhone has lost prospective clients in Korea due to its limitations with wireless internet and some of problems including the absence of DMB, irreplaceable battery and warranty issues while Omnia 2 supports unlimited wireless internet for a certain fee and host .avi files for the movies. However, the speed issues are slightly leaning toward iPhone 3GS due to its faster OS based on Mac and touchscreen functions that allowed two or more instantaneous clicks.
The smartphone is not a gadget for professionals and early-adopters anymore. The smartphone has become a commodity and a fashion icon. As smartphones advance to become perfectly mobile, the market will be fierce and eventually, just as mobile phones have replaced telephones, the smartphone will eventually replace computers and laptops. As for now, the world will see a rapid growth in the field of smartphones where only the smartest will survive.
Dubai moratorium brings another impacts on global markets
Dubai World, the state-owned real estate and ports giant that has driven much of the economic growth in recent years, asked for a moratorium on its 59 billion US dollars' in debt until May 30 and global markets have taken this notice in one more impact on Nov. 25.
Dubai World, the centerpiece of the Dubai economy, is responsible for major projects such as palm-shaped islands and has been taken big attention from global leaders. Particularly it caused the collapse of housing market and was also hard-hit for the global credit cruncher and banks.
This deep impact brings a lot of difficult times not only for Dubai World, but also for major firms including Dubai Holdings, Commercial Operations and Dubai Sukuk center.
A younger Samsung ready to put the pedal to the metal
Samsung group carried out a group-wide reshuffle that reaffirmed the company's resolve to strengthen its signature managerial style: the so-called speed management, and marked the exit of an old generation.
The world's top TV maker named digital media chief Choi Gee Sung as CEO of the flagship unit of S. Korea's top conglomerate and Lee Jae Yong, the only son of former chairman Lee Kun Hee, as executive vice president. This shakeup is expected to expedite a shift in generations and help Lee Jae-yong the heir apparent to the group chairmanship - tighten his grip on the group and take a giant step toward the helm.
With the ascent of Lee Jae Yong to executive vice president, he serves as Chief Operating Officer(COO), a newly created position, thereby overseeing group-wide management and major overseas deals. In other words, Choi Gee Sung will be in charge of the group's housekeeping and Lee Jae Yong will play a role as an owner.
Korea succeeds in making the contract with the U.A.E.
South Korean president, Lee Myung-Bak and his United Arab Emirates counterpart, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan held a summit in Abu Dhabi on December 27. After their meeting, the U.A.E. announced that it will award the nuclear power plants contract to South Korea. The state-run Korea Electric Power Corporation accepted the US$40 billion contract that deals with constructing four major nuclear power plants. This is significant because it is the biggest contract ever since the 1980s when Libya made a contract of worth $6 billion dollars to construct the nuclear power plant. Moreover, this deal is Korea’s first to export nuclear reactors, build four 1,400-megawatts reactors, support operations and provide fuel. The Kepco consortium includes the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corporation, Korea Nuclear Fuel, Hyundai Construction & Engineering, Samsung C&T, Doosan Heavy Industries, Westinghouse of the United States and Japan’s Toshiba.
President Lee stated in his press conference that in the near future China will most likely construct 100 nuclear power plants as they plan to and will continue to plan on developing 400 by 2030. Thus, in order to combat China’s ambitious plan, South Korea will walk shoulder to shoulder with United States, Japan, France, and Russia as the first exporting nation of the nuclear power. In addition, President Lee stated that South Korea and United Arab Emirates will consider this grand contract as a stepping stone and in the long run, both nations will cooperate on education, innovative technology, and security to develop a strong and secure relationship.
Furthermore, one of the Blue House officials made a comment that this contract with the U.A.E. will open doors to many job seekers as the estimated job openings for the next 10 years will amount to 110,000. South Korea will become one of the economically advanced nations when considering other fields other than benefiting from exporting nuclear power plants such as finance, power technological development and machine construction. President Lee announced that he will invite President Khalifa to South Korea and hope to arrange additional meetings that will bring the two nations closer together. President Lee will come back to Seoul on December 28.