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  • Archive for July, 2013

    China’s ‘Smart’ Smartphone Strategy: Being ‘Global’ and ‘Globalized’

    July 24th, 2013  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    As I mentioned in a 2011 BBC News article, while Samsung and Apple have locked legal horns over a global and costly patent dispute, Samsung (and Apple) should now be pivoted towards the rise of a new generation of Chinese challengers.
     
    Chinese smartphone firms that are not entirely household names today in South Korea, the U.S., and Europe, inevitably will be in the future. This may not happen today or tomorrow, but rising Chinese challengers—Huawei, Lenovo, Coolpad, and ZTE—just to name a few, have the potential to be true dominant global players. This results in two main challenges facing both South Korean and Californian tech firms going forward, especially as it relates to the largest growing smartphone market, mainland China.
     
    The first challenge for such firms is that China’s “Big 4” smartphone players are already localised, while others are less so. As a result, China’s smartphone firms will instinctively and strategically know how to compete with foreign competitors like Samsung on their own home turf (where China has recently displaced the U.S. as the world’s largest smartphone market). This will be critical since Chinese consumers are known to be fickle fast movers, switching to new smartphone models about every six months (compared to every two years in the U.S. market). Thus, such Chinese firms will be best positioned to be where future demand will be, while foreign firms will still be sorting through market research from an outsider’s perspective. Already, one of the Chinese Big 4, Huawei, has introduced the world’s thinnest smartphone with the introduction of its Ascend P6. China’s Big 3 also will be more sensitive to the need for competitive low pricing in a country where the average person earns a mere fraction of those in South Korea and North America.
     
    Second, while the likes of huge firms have focused on being global, such firms may not necessarily be globalised. To be a sustainable dominant player in the current ever-evolving environment, a company needs to be both global and globalised. While South Korean and California-based tech titans are certainly global (in terms of overseas revenue, market share, and branches), they have yet to be fully globalized (in terms of strategic decisions made by a diversified group of senior leaders from around the world based on global standards).
     
    Firms like Lenovo have a senior executive board that boasts a global group of diversified talent who have true decision-making authority for the betterment of the firm. In the case of South Korea’s largest smartphone producers, most or all of the senior management are entirely domestic. Although having an entirely domestic board does not in itself signal not being globalised, it is nonetheless an important and revealing indicator for outside investors. And while having a homogenous board may lead to a higher chance of seamless execution, its downside may be the relative inability to see or do things differently. 
      
     
     
     
     

    Inter-Korean NLL Negotiations: 3 Takeaways from the 2007 Summit Meeting Minutes

    July 1st, 2013  by  Asia-Pacific Global Research Group - Jasper Kim

    The South Korean government recently released the minutes of the historic summit between former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The Inter-Korean Summit was held in Pyongyang in 2007. The motivating factor behind the release of the Summit meeting minutes links to the recent controversy related to whether then President Roh made concessions regarding the Northern Line Limit (NLL), the de facto maritime border since the the end of the Korean War (1950-53) between the two Koreas.
     
    The summit dialogue–which reflects two very different bargaining styles–seems to demonstrate how South Korea appeared to want and value the negotiation more than the North.
     
    Excerpts linked with South-North negotiation strategies from the summit include:
     
    1. Roh Moo-hyun conveyed his detailed desire to resolve the NLL issue through a joint fisheries area and a maritime peace zone, to which Kim Jong-il merely stated that he would raise this issue in a subsequent ministerial meeting.
     
    – South Korea’s negotiation strategy: provide a clear roadmap of how the two sides (the two Koreas) can work in an “integrative” bargaining fashion, in the hope of forging a creative solution (i.e., viewing the NLL issue as a potential forward-leaning “deal-making negotiation” (DMN) rather than a traditional “dispute settlement negotiation” (DSN)).
     
    – North Korea’s negotiation strategy: provide no affirmative answer (to very specific suggestions), and relegate the issue to a lower level ministerial meeting (i.e., stall and demur, thus signaling that the leadership viewed the NLL issue in a Cold War era “DSN” perspective).
     
    2. When Roh asked that they meet again in the afternoon to discuss the matter further, Kim implied that the visiting South Korean president’s afternoon schedule was already full. “And what is there more to discuss? Haven’t we already covered the basic grounds?” he said, indicating he did not wish to push the topic further. Roh, however, insisted on another meeting in the afternoon and Kim finally gave in, saying, “I will agree since you are so persistent”
     
    – South Korea’s negotiation strategy: request more time with the ultimate “decision-maker” in a top-down Stalinist regime, which will maximize the likelihood of a proffered policy being implemented.
     
    – North Korea’s negotiation strategy: try to provide an opportunity for the South Korean leader to “save face” by suggesting that his schedule was already too full, which in a Korean context, is considered as a fairly clear “no” reply. This was followed by Kim Jong-il allowing for more time in the afternoon to meet and chat, which provides the bargaining advantage to North Korea, since Kim Jong-il provided a “[W]hat is there more to discuss?” standard for Roh Moo-hyun to subsequently satisfy for the afternoon talks. In addition, a sense of obligation and burden was placed on Kim Jong-il by Roh Moo-hyun for his insistence on further talks, which in a Korean context, is considered not to be in compliance with “proper” behavior, especially given that the South Korean president is the “visitor” who was essentially making a demand of the “host.”
     
    3. The summit was held in Pyongyang with a short timeframe for an agreement.
     
    – South Korea’s negotiation strategy: try to return to South Korea from the negotiations in Pyongyang with a symbolic and/or substantive agreement with the North that would help with Roh Moo-hyun’s legacy.
     
    – North Korea’s negotiation strategy: have the Inter-Korean summit negotiations held on its own “home turf,” while giving less than a full day between the two leaders to resolve complex historical issues that would normally take significantly longer to accomplish, especially given the relatively little contact between the two Koreas. Here, North Korea knows of its negotiation counterparty’s time deadline, which the North is using to its advantage by stalling the demurring on important issues to the former South Korean leader (who is additionally time-constrained due to the oncoming “lame duck” perception near the end of his constitutionally-mandated one-time five-year presidency, a political time constraint that Kim Jong-il obviously did not face).