Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Image of Korea's Technology Level Trails Germany, Japan, U.S.

An interesting article in the Joongang Daily reports that the image of the technology level of Korean products trails that of Germany, the U.S. and Japan.  (click on the graphic at left to see a larger version) As readers will know from previous posts, I have a longstanding interest in the problem of national images--how they are formed, how they change and the influence they have upon foreign policy, to name just a few aspects of my interest.
Today's article is based on a 2009 report by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.  It notes that if products of such advanced countries as the U.S., Japan and Germany are valued at $100 on average, South Korean products of the same quality are valued at $71.50.  The article notes that, although there has been an improvement in Korea's image over the past several years, the "Korea discount" is still there.  In other words, tension between South Korea and North Korea is still a major downside to consumer perceptions.  According to a KOTRA official, "In the survey, students and the general public outside the corporate realm linked South Korea more with the Korean War and North Korea's alleged nuclear weapons program than with technologies and economic development."  Finally, one in four people surveyed by KOTRA thought that Samsung was a Japanese brand.

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