Samsung Electronics is on a roll thanks to the huge popularity of its latest smartphone. The Galaxy S4 has sold 10m units within a month of its release, making it Samsung’s fastest-selling smartphone ever – the Galaxy S4 reached the 10m mark in half the time taken by its predecessor. Continue reading »
Right way to drink at work
For decades, abuse from bullying managers and compulsory binge drinking have been almost as important in South Korean corporate culture as relentless hard work.
Not any more. Under pressure from workers’ protests, public opinion and fears of international criticism, Korean companies are changing their approach. Continue reading »
Concerns over possible intervention by the South Korean authorities are growing as the Korean won neared it’s strongest level to the dollar in two-months.
The won ended onshore trading at 1,091.4 per dollar on Tuesday, the strongest since March 8, marking its third consecutive day of gains. Although there were no signs of any major action by local financial authorities, traders are becoming more cautious as the stronger won raises the prospect of intervention. Continue reading »
The weaker yen is slowly hampering South Korea’s growth momentum, with the country’s industrial output falling 2.6 per cent in March from February.
The latest data marked a fall for a third straight month, clouding the country’s economic outlook. Industrial production fell 3.0 per cent last month from a year earlier, severely undershooting market estimates, as labour unions at Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, refused to work on weekends. Continue reading »
After that ad, and a drop in profits, some good news for Hyundai. To the relief of many investors, the labour union has ended its seven-week dispute with the company over weekend work.
The 45,000-strong union will resume their overtime work from this weekend after refusing it for the past eight weekends, demanding higher wages. The temporary work stoppage cost the company more than Won1tn ($900m) in production losses. Continue reading »
Lock&Lock is a curious entity in modern manufacturing. Despite fierce competition in a crowded sector with few entry barriers, the South Korean kitchenware company consistently boasts double-digit operating profit margins.
Cho Moon-sun, head of investor relations, puts it down to branding. “Once you are recognised as a premium brand, consumers will buy your products even if they are three or four times more expensive,” she says. Continue reading »
Many Korean banks, hard pressed to find growth at home, have tried to expand into emerging markets across Asia, their main targets due to cultural affinity.
But a decade on after launching aggressive expansion plans, they have struggled to gain a strong presence overseas because of their limited international experience and a lack of an extensive international network. Continue reading »
South Korea’s $15.4bn supplementary budget is expected help shore up the country’s short-term economic growth, but the long-awaited measures may not be enough to boost the country’s long-term growth potential.
The bigger-than-expected extra budget was unveiled on Tuesday to much fanfare with finance minister Hyun Oh-seok predicting that it will help drive up the country’s growth rate to about 3 per cent in the second half. Continue reading »
The rising tension on the Korean peninsula is finally having an impact on Seoul’s financial markets, as investors worry that the current tension is likely to be prolonged, unlike in the past. South Korean stocks closed at their lowest level in more than four months on Monday, hit by heavy foreign selling. Continue reading »
A huge recall announcement on Thursday has come at a difficult time for Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors.
Together the two companies are recalling almost 1.9m vehicles in the US for electronics problems related to brake-light switches and air bags. Coming hot on the heels of a dose of bad publicity over over mis-stated fuel efficiency claims, the latest affair will do the Korean duo no good in the crucial north American market. Continue reading »
Hopes are high in Seoul that the new government will unveil a stimulus package this week to kick-start the stalled economy.
Expectations of a supplementary budget worth about 10tn won ($9bn) helped drive the benchmark Kospi index up 1.8 per cent this week, after it fell to a five-week low on Friday on concerns over Cyprus. Continue reading »
South Korean government officials are flirting again with the idea of introducing taxes on financial transactions to curb rapid capital flows in and out of Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
Eun Sung-soo, director general at the finance ministry, told reporters on Wednesday that the government was considering “various” financial taxes to reduce volatility in capital flows and could strengthen existing capital control measures, if needed. Continue reading »
South Korea’s protracted housing slump is causing a headache to its new government. President Park Geun-hye faces a challenge in boosting stagnant property prices, which has been holding back domestic consumption in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
South Korea’s house prices have been flagging for the past two years and are showing no signs of recovery this year with the economy forecast to grow only 2.8 per cent after last year’s estimated 2.0 per cent expansion. Continue reading »
Not this time – maybe next. The Bank of Korea on Thursday left interest rates unchanged at 2.75 per cent for a fifth consecutive month, despite slowing economic growth and low inflation. Continue reading »