The Korea Herald


Foreign electronics makers eye Korean market

Samsung to take center stage at IFA 2014

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : April 27, 2014 - 21:01

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BELEK, Turkey ― Grundig, the leading consumer electronics maker in Turkey, has unveiled its plans to tap the Korean market, heralding a challenge to Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics.

Grundig was a German consumer electronics manufacturer, but was acquired by the Turkish Koc Holding group in 2007.

The company could launch its products, including liquid crystal display and light-emitting diode TVs, in the Korean market as soon as this year.

“We plan to introduce our products to Korean customers,” said Marc Azad, a director of product marketing and quality at Grundig.

The company, which has more than 80 years of history, is widely recognized in the European market, especially in Germany.

Some market insiders predict that the company ― when it launches its products in Korea ― would take some of Samsung and LG’s dominant market share.

Grundig does not only produce smart TVs but also high-quality audio and home theater systems which feature excellent connectivity and design.

“Our products all have a high potential for success in the European market,” said the director, hinting his confidence in other markets including those in Asia.

High-end consumer electronics brand Miele is expected to introduce its first robotic vacuum cleaner in Asian markets including Korea.

“The robotic vacuum cleaner is scheduled to debut in the European market first in May, and will likely be introduced in Asian markets within this year,” said Stefanie Waibel, Miele’s marketing director.

The Korean market is often considered an attractive market, since it can act as a test bed for consumer electronics manufacturers.

“Faring well in the Korean market dominated by Samsung and LG can enhance a firm’s reputation and competitiveness,” said a research analyst.
Turan Erdogan, CEO of Vestel Turan Erdogan, CEO of Vestel

Turan Erdogan, the CEO of leading Turkish TV maker Vestel, said his company was prevented from entering the Korean market around five years ago due mainly to the country’s nontariff barriers.

“Different from the Japanese market where we could not infiltrate due to strong brand power and the high technology of Japanese firms, we failed to introduce our products in Korea because of nontariff barriers,” the CEO said.

He did not clarify what those barriers were.

Erdogan said he tried to bring sample TV products by himself to supply to Korean distributors, but because of government regulations, he could not provide them to potential partners.

When asked if he wants to try to compete in the Korean market again, he said more research would be required, adding the “the market is too competitive to get into now.”

Meanwhile, Yoon Boo-keun, CEO of Samsung Electronics’ consumer electronics business unit, has been selected as the keynote speaker at this year’s IFA.

“Yoon will be the first figure who will deliver a speech at the brand new building for the IFA,” Christian Goke, chief executive officer of Messe Berlin, said at the Global Press Conference held on Saturday in Belek, Turkey.

The annual press meeting is held every year before the trade show in September.

Christian Goke did not go into further details on what Yoon would talk about, but he is expected to discuss technological trends in the TV and household appliance markets, including UHD TVs and the Internet of Things.

Yoon will become the first CEO to give a keynote speech at a newly built convention center called the CityCube for the world’s largest trade show, which boasts 90 years of history.

The IFA 2014 will be held in Berlin from Sept. 5-10.

By Kim Young-won, Korea Herald correspondent