Korean handset vendors making splash in world stage

William Lee/Ovum
20 Jul 2010

Korean handset players’ global competitiveness has improved dramatically, underpinned by their understanding of consumer demand and their flexible yet cost-effective multi-platform strategies.

Strong design capabilities have allowed vendors to exploit the trend to focus design on intangible factors, even in lower-tier segments.

This has been reinforced by technical leadership in new hardware elements such as high-pixel cameras, multimedia features, and screen size. And also Samsung and LGE were first to market with touch-screen handsets, though it was the iPhone that initiated mass take-up.

Moreover, the adoption of a multi-platform strategy by the Korean operators has made it easier to collaborate with operators and other members of the ecosystem. At the same time, collaboration with component manufacturers has allowed vendors to keep the costs of a multi-platform strategy down.

The booming smartphone market could be an opportunity for SEC and LGE, and niche market has expanded due to Apple being held in check by operators but there are some critical challenges Korean handset manufacturers need to overcome. These include:

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