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Marking best year, Korean tech giants set sight on quality beyond compare

Unrivaled technology, new mindset to lay basis for customer-centric approach, say top execs

Samsung Electronics co-CEO Kyung Kye-hyun is seen delivering a New Year speech during a ceremony held in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. (Samsung Electronics)
Samsung Electronics co-CEO Kyung Kye-hyun is seen delivering a New Year speech during a ceremony held in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. (Samsung Electronics)
Top executives of South Korean technology giants stressed on Monday their need to push relentlessly for unmatched quality in a long-term approach, as their electronics and semiconductor chip businesses are projected to yield the highest revenue for 2021, in their respective New Year’s addresses.

Fierce competition on a global scale still leaves Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s leading electronics goods makers and chipmakers, with a long road ahead to secure a technology leadership.

While Samsung Electronics is expected to log a record full-year earnings for 2021 -- at nearly 300 trillion won ($250 billion) according to a consensus estimate provided by FnGuide -- complacency could put the company in danger.

“We’ve been at a challenging time due to a lingering pandemic fallout, but we’ve shown decent performance as we pushed ahead with an advanced technology and capital expenditure to gain an upper edge over competitors,” read a joint statement by Samsung Electronics’ co-CEOs, Han Jong-hee and Kyung Kye-hyun.

“Our business is increasingly prone to a fiercer competition. We are being pursued by followers in the fields where we stay on top spot, and we stay behind leaders in other areas.”

Highlighting the need for agility to embrace failures, for new values and a customer-centric approach, Han and Kyung urged its staff to push the envelope.

“Customer-oriented technology innovation has laid a foundation for where Samsung Electronics stands, and we cannot give up our best-in-class technology,” they said. “Now it is time to take a bold step further to have our customers become the most valuable part of our business. And we should move forward to deliver the optimal user experience.”

Choi Yoon-ho, chief of battery maker Samsung SDI, also stressed the importance of having a competitive edge over rivals in his New Year’s address. This is needed so the company can stay afloat regardless of the latent risk of supply chain disruptions, he said.

“The company with an absolute level of technology will be the sole survivor in the battery and electronics materials market,” Choi said. “The unbeatable level of technology will define who we are in 10 years.”

Chipmaker SK hynix’s co-Chief Executive Officer Park Jung-ho said the new momentum with an imminent deal highlights the need for its staff to have a ”global mindset“ during the New Year’s address.

SK hynix, projected to earn 43 trillion won for 2021, has completed its first phase of an acquisition of Intel’s NAND flash memory and solid-state drive business, which will place SK hynix as No. 2 in the global NAND market.

With the takeover of the new entity, dubbed Solidigm, SK hynix staff must have a new mindset to blaze a trail in its memory chip business, Park said in his speech.

“It is high time to break the mold by distancing ourselves from our past identity as a fast follower, and instead to have a leader mindset as a pathfinder,” he said.

Meanwhile, top executives of LG‘s component making arms -- LG Display CEO Jeong Ho-young and LG Innotek CEO Jeong Cheol-dong -- called on their staff to focus on innovations in user experience, in line with the message in December by LG Chairman Koo Kwang-mo.

By Son Ji-hyoung (
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Korea Herald daum