Thursday, April 8, 2021

Korea as a test bed for the world

 As shown by these earlier posts over the years, I've been interested in the important role Korea can serve as a testbed for emerging digital technologies.   It has attained this status largely because of sustained emphasis on building digital network infrastructure, starting in the revolutionary 1980s.   The Korea Times recently published an article touching on this theme.   I recommend you read it here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

LG exits the smartphone market


 In a sign of the times, LG has announced that it will stop manufacturing smartphones.   As reported by The Korea Joongang Daily  and also widely covered in the Korean and international media, this move comes after 25 years in the business.  In a statement this week, LG explained that “The dominance of two companies was strengthening in the premium smartphone market, while competition in the affordable price segment was intensifying,” and “LG Electronics failed to actively respond [to such market conditions].” The company's statement also said that the move would “enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services.”  

The manufacture and export of smartphones by Korea has been a major theme of this blog over the years, as shown by these search results.   Given the commoditization of smartphones, as mentioned in this post, it was perhaps inevitable that the global competition for their manufacture would pose a major challenge for Korean manufacturers.  In historical perspective, another factor to consider is the "smartphone shock" that affected Korea's ICT sector following the arrival of the i-Phone at the end of 2009-beginning of 2010.