Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Greenpeace Korea gives Hyundai Motor billboard a new message

Activists from Greenpeace Korea put stickers on a Hyundai Motor billboard near company headquarters in Seoul.  As reported by The Korea Times, "Activists from Greenpeace Korea have allegedly damaged a Hyundai Motor billboard in a campaign against internal-combustion engines, with police saying Monday they were investigating them on suspicion of destruction of property.

"After receiving a report from Hyundai about the damage to its huge billboard on display near its headquarters, we are now looking into the case," an officer of the Seocho Police Station said.

According to the officer, the activists used a ladder truck to put stickers on the 40-meter-high billboard promoting the carmaker's Sonata, Sunday. They left the message "Now stop using internal-combustion engine cars."

The environmental organization said the campaign was part of a global protest calling for an immediate end to the production and use of cars running on internal-combustion engines that it refers to as the main culprits behind climate change."

Saturday, September 14, 2019

YouTube is Korea's leading Android App: Some implications

As reported by the Korea Joongang Daily, YouTube is by far the most frequently used Android app in South Korea.  A close reading of the article shows how this phenomenon relates to a theme often touched on in this blog, namely this nation's overly heavy dependence on the manufacture and export of hardware versus software and services (YouTube being a video content provision service).  See, for example, these posts.
A major theme of the Korea Joongang Daily article is that Korea's mobile service providers are unhappy with YouTube's popularity, believing that it does not pay enough for use of Korea's fast networks.  This line of reasoning tends to ignore the inherently global scope of the Internet and the fact that three quarters or more of the global ICT market is made up of software and services, NOT hardware.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Is Korea theh world's most innovative economy?

For the second year in a row, a Bloomberg survey has ranked South Korea as the most innovative economy in the world, as shown in the accompanying graphic. (click to see a full size version)  As always, the rankings depend on what is being measured.  Korea's world leading percentage of GDP spent on research and development (4.3 percent, which put it just ahead of Israel on this measure)was one factor that helped give it the overall first ranking.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Conversion to electric vehicles in Jeju: a progress report

The Korea Joongang Daily has a report on the ups and downs of Jeju island's conversion to electric vehicles (EVs).  As shown in the accompanying graphic ( click for a full size version) Jeju is ahead of the rest of Korea in both 1) the infrastructure needed for charging EVs and 2) renewable energy sources as a percentage of all energy use.  However, as the story explains, the process of finding a charging station and recharging an EV can be time-consuming and somewhat frustrating.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Samsung sells more smartphone components in China

As reported by The Korea Times,industry analysts note that "Samsung Electronics is expanding its supply of smartphone components such as camera image sensors and display panels to Chinese phone makers to take advantage of their soaring market dominance in the highly competitive smartphone market there..."  As this blog has noted in numerous prior posts, (see for example these) smartphones are essentially modular computing and communications devices.  Although Google's Project Ara failed, the physical reality is that all smart phones are created by putting together modules.  This helps to explain why the recent Japanese restrictions on the export to Korea of materials necessary for the manufacture of semiconductors and displays are so potentially damaging to Korea's economy.  In China, companies like Huawei and Xiaomi have come to dominate the smartphone market, in the process taking market share away from Samsung.   This development provides an opportunity for Samsung to improve its overall business position by selling more components to the Chinese manufacturers.