Saturday, January 18, 2020

South Korea Lunar New Year --The Year of the White Rat

South Korea (as well as China and Vietnam) celebrate two New Years'. One on Jan. 1 and the Lunar New Year celebration, which this year falls on Saturday, January 25.

For your Korean colleagues (living and working in Korea), you can wish them Happy Lunar New Year on Wednesday afternoon by phone, text, or email, which is Thursday AM in Korea and their last workday before the holiday. 


Koreans this year will have a 4-day weekend starting Friday K time.
For expatriate Koreans working outside Korea/ globally, you can wish them a Happy Lunar New Year on the day itself, Saturday, January 25, or at some time prior on Friday.
 

Here is the formal greeting.
Sae hae bok mani ba deu say yo
Image

One more thing…
The year of the rat opens up a new 12-year cycle of animals in the Chinese zodiac. As the first animal to finish the Great Race of the Chinese zodiac legend, the quick-witted rat represents new beginnings and versatility.


According to legend, a Great Race was organized by China’s Jade Emperor to determine the order for the annual calendrical signs. The competition saw the small but clever rat crossing a final river race obstacle by riding on the back of the ox. Then nearing the finish line, the resourceful rat jumping off to cross before the other animals. Thus, being name first among the animals of the 12 Chinese zodiacs.
In Korean folk tales, though the tiniest among the zodiac animals, rats are seen resourceful, nimble, diligent and productive—this translates into 2020 being seen as a year of wealth and abundance.

As always, I appreciate your comments and thoughts, as well as any inquiries to support you and teams by steering through Korea facing business issues with a proven strategy, work throughs, and solutions
Don

Monday, January 13, 2020

Korea facing Oscars, CES 2020, The Habit Burger Grill and Korea 2020 book

With the new year, I thought I’d share some Korea facing updates.

First, it's nice to see a Korean film nominated for several Oscar awards. South Korea has a rich history of film production. This is no surprise to me as the film, “Parasite” has gained considerable attention by critics and movie-goers.
Me and Toki, the Robot
Next, I’m back from CES 2020. South Korea had the 3rd largest number of companies at the annual electronics trade show held in Las Vegas. The LG and Hyundai Motor booths were visionary and inspiring. 

My work at the Show centered on developing a western facing brand message and PR for the Hancom Group—one of South Korea’s largest information software companies. The booth shared their robotics, AI platforms, Life Blockchain and smart cities technologies.  

The brand message and PR were quite successful with considerable traffic to the booth and media attention. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191218005693/en/
On my Korea market entry work, I am highly engaged in seeking a local Korean partner for America’s best tasting burger brand—The Habit Burger Grill.  I feel they will do very well in Korea.  

The fast-casual burger segment is doing very well. And in a related industy article in Forbes, The Habit Burger and my work to bring it to Korea were mentioned. I am open to inquiries for a local developer partnership. 
Finally, there has been lots of interest in my new book Korea 2020, a workplace in transition. Here is a link to learn more. 


As always, I’m here to support Korea facing business. Your questions and comments along with any new business opportunities are welcome. 
Don

Friday, December 20, 2019

South Korea’s Hancom Group Steering Innovative IT Ecosystems

With the CES 2020 Show just weeks away, and the Holidays upon us, I wanted to share more on how Hancom sees the future of technology.
Pre-show and Show media interviews are welcome, too
You can reach me at  Dsoutherton@bridgingculture.com
Don
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, Dec. 20, 2019 /Hancom Group, South Korea’s leading ICT company has announced it will unveil its next-generation Life Blockchain technology at the 2020 CES Show in Las Vegas.
How Hancom sees Blockchain
Within the Group’s “Safe World” vision, affiliate Hancom WITH has built upon its 30 years of core competencies as a trusted and integrated information security provider. Ever evolving and steering the 4th Industrial Revolution IT ecosystems Hancom WITH offers convergence solutions that enhance productivity in both Blockchain and Intelligent City Platforms. 

1. Next generation Blockchain
Hancom provides a robust and trustworthy blockchain service by integrating security technology and blockchain technology. Within our lineup of products is HancomSLedger, a blockchain platform that allows privileged user access, providing electronic contracts, document notarization services, civic applications/certifications and public data access. 
HancomSLedger optimized modules support various areas like supply chain, IoT and finance and can be easily configured for new services. As a result, it assures data integrity, transparency and service efficiency.
2. Next generation Intelligent City Platform
Hancom’s Intelligent City Platform acts as an urban controller tower collecting and analyzing information from transportation, safety, and the environment to help make the most suitable decisions. Hancom simplifies the development process in the complex data processing and monitoring of literally thousands of devices. As Hancom provides a proven seamless rapid development process, Hancom Intelligent City Platform is scalable and customizable to fit each city’s environment.

Intelligent City Platform
Stop by the Hancom 2020 CES booth located at South Hall 2, AI & Robotics, Booth 25628 of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Learn more about Hancom WITH at https://www.hsecure.co.kr/index_e.php 
Media Contact
Don Southerton
+1-310-866-3777
Dsoutherton@bridgingculture.com
About The Hancom Group
Founded in 1989, today Hancom Group is a leader in creating innovative ecosystems that will lead the world through the convergence of technology. 
With its reach of 13 affiliate companies covering Hardware, Software, and the Finance industry, the Group’s mission is to create a  “Convenient World, Connected World, and Safe & Secure World.” 
Convenient World
Hancom Inc. Global smart work solutions from AI to productivity software solutions.
Hancom MDS Intelligent convergence solution leader based on IoT and embedded technology IoT.
Hancom Mobility Sensor-based smart parking sharing solution.
Hancom Robotics Intelligent logistics and service robots. 
Connected World
Hancom Interfree Voice recognition and translation that remove language barriers.
Hancom Teladin IoT-based wireless solutions.
Hancom Talkafe Communication solutions.
Accufly.AI AI-based solutions for barrier-free communication with the best technology from Korea & China.
Safe World
Hancom WITH Next-generation smart city platform creating a secure urban ecosystem based on blockchain.
Hancom Lifecare Integrated safety solution ranging from personal safety equipment to social safety.
Hancom GMD Mobile Forensic & AR/VR Solution based on Digital Data Analysis.
Hancom Investment Investing in companies with excellent technology in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

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Saturday, December 14, 2019

South Korea’s Hancom Group to exhibit at CES 2020


Who is Hancom? How does Hancom envision Robotics, Smart City and AI Life Blockchain technology?

For Immediate Release








SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, Dec. 13, 2019 /Hancom Group, South Korea’s leading ICT company today announced that it will participate at CES 2020, Jan.7-10, 2020, in Las Vegas. The company will present its visions for making the world better through pioneering future innovation for an ever-evolving tech industry.



Rendering of the Hancom Group CES 2020 Exhibit

The new exhibit will be located at South Hall 2, AI & Robotics, Booth 25628 of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Who is Hancom?
Hancom like the other highly recognized South Korean market leaders will share with the industry how it uniquely envisions Robotics, Smart City and AI Life Blockchain technology.

How Hancom sees Robotics
Led by Hancom’s Convenient World vision for work and life, Toki is one in a line-up of specialized robots for home and educational use. With customized AI conversations through face and voice recognition tailored to each family member, Toki also has home monitoring and video calling capabilities. Come experience Toki live at the Show.



Toki, Home and Education Robot

How Hancom sees Smart City and Blockchain
Driven by Hancom’s Safe World vision, the innovator has developed an Intelligent City Platform, the next-generation smart city platform creating a secure urban ecosystem by connecting everything to each other utilizing the latest technologies. This connectivity will improve city services and infrastructure, as well as the quality of life for urban dwellers.

The Intelligent City Platform acts as urban control tower integrating AI technology, blockchain and IoT, while utilizing real-time data for easy visualization.


Intelligent City Platform

On Life Blockchain, Hancom’s efforts are game changing and wide ranging. They include a seamless, private blockchain platform to allow privileged user access, providing electronic contracts, document notarization services, civic applications/certifications and public data access.



Life Blockchain

“As South Korea’s leading ICT company, we look forward to sharing at CES how Hancom will contribute to make the world Smarter and Better,”  Dr. Peter Wonsok Yun, President of Global Business, Hancom Group.

Pre-show and Show media interviews are welcome.

About The Hancom Group
Founded in 1989, today Hancom Group is a leader in creating innovative ecosystems that will lead the world through the convergence of technology.

With its reach of 13 affiliate companies covering Hardware, Software, and the Finance industry, the Group’s mission is to create a  “Convenient World, Connected World, and Safe & Secure World.”

Convenient World
Hancom Inc. Global smart work solutions from AI to productivity software solutions.
Hancom MDS Intelligent convergence solution leader based on IoT and embedded technology IoT.
Hancom Mobility Sensor-based smart parking sharing solution.
Hancom Robotics Intelligent logistics and service robots.

Connected World
Hancom Interfree Voice recognition and translation that remove language barriers.
Hancom Teladin IoT-based wireless solutions.
Hancom Talkafe Communication solutions.
Accufly.AI AI-based solutions for barrier-free communication with the best technology from Korea & China.

Safe World
Hancom WITH Next-generation smart city platform creating a secure urban ecosystem based on blockchain.
Hancom Lifecare Integrated safety solution ranging from personal safety equipment to social safety.
Hancom GMD Mobile Forensic & AR/VR Solution based on Digital Data Analysis.
Hancom Investment Investing in companies with excellent technology in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


Media Inquiries
Don Southerton
+1-310-866-3777
Dsoutherton@bridgingculture.com

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Sunday, December 01, 2019

Korea 2020: The Book

I've been in editing mode for the past few days. Plans are for an end of December release of my new book Korea 2020: A workplace in transition. 





Many thanks to those of you who previewed the manuscript and shared comments. If you, too, would like to preview and comment, I'll email you a draft copy.

Korea 2020 shares not only what’s behind the current corporate trends but also the impact of Change both in South Korea and for operations outside Korea. 

Exploring this change is at the core of this new book. Topics include the restructuring of age-old corporate norms such as more casual dress, a simplification of workplace titles leading to flatter organizations, and the pushback against workplace bullying and gender discrimination. 

It also drills deeper and provides readers with workarounds, work throughs, and insights.
Don

Saturday, November 23, 2019

A Time of Significant Change for Korea

As I have shared before my ongoing book writing project “Korea 2020” will explore the most recent and ongoing changing Korean workplace. I look to provide “the what,” and “the why”. 

Don Southerton Author
The present corporate “restructuring” underway among the top Chaebol is beyond the scope of what many of us who have long supported Korea have seen before and should not be dismissed. I do not see it in the same regard as, for example, the annual year-end shuffling of teams and leadership, or the common Korean corporate practice “change for the sake of change. “

I see the current driver as something much deeper and more significant.

I also feel that now more than ever with the wide range of changes underway and their potential implications that all working with Korean facing businesses to recognize, seek out and gain a deep understanding of what impact it will have on the local overseas operations and their work.  Something I do my best to provide amid an ever-increasing workload. 

As always, my focus is providing context and insights...
Don

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Open Communications and Korea Facing Business

Checking emails at 2:30 AM.  

Trying to not doze off and miss a late evening phone or Facebook Message call.

Responding early morning to a previous evening’s urgent Text.

Waking up to a rather lengthy request for revisions on a multi-page document that the Korean team needs to finalize as is due that day in Korea. 

Don Southerton
This week we look at some of the new challenges as we’re finding more open and direct communications between Korean HQ and local teams. This is more and more commonly surfacing for teams. 

By its very nature, Korean facing business is the interaction of worldwide teams operating in different zones—with Korea and North America—their working days beginning as our ends and visa versa.

Beyond the different cultures globally working together on a daily basis, which I speak of often, we have seen the advancements in telecommunications as well as more open communications between working-level teams in the West and Korea.  

(BTW I can recall a time when an international call between the US and Korea was not only costly but few Korean office landlines even had international access.) 


That said, it’s now common for Staff in Korea to now pick up their mobile phone and reach out via an app for a one on one with a western team member.  This contrasts with the old model where all communication between HQ and local subsidiaries went through and was screened by the local expatriate team.  

The new model is not without its challenges. 

For one, email requests often need clarification and even a message received in the AM in the West with hopes that by the end of day (morning in Korea) there will be substantial progress—without some clarity—little may have been accomplished. 

More so, even if a request is made—local teams are often stretched thin—and any new workload can be seen as overwhelming.

Also common are End of Day requests—again sent at the beginning of the day in Korea—but received as the day is wrapping up in the West.  In contrast for an expat team their “second day” often begins around 4-5 PM as the Korean HQ is back on-line and their work often running late into the evening—but for western employees working late is most often not an option. 

I do have a number of work-arounds—most the result of nearly 20 years working directly with teams and leadership in Korea.  Here I share two among my many proven hints.

Hint 1

In the case of a last-minute request or a request that may require more clarity and/or substantial research….

As I learned from a senior Korean executive, in many cases Korea often requests local input so teams and leadership can finalize an important decision. They are aware of time restraints and that a comprehensive response could take days. Noting that they are looking for some input, even input limited in scope, that may help sway their decision—pro or con.     

Hint 2 

In the case of a request and not wishing to seem uncooperative—but unable to respond as requested due to commitments and workload….

Given my experience in dealing with urgent HQ request as noted in Hint 1, I suggest sharing with the Korean team that you’d be happy to assist but you’ll need additional time due to current deadlines, end of day, etc. 

As a caveat, I always ask for their timeline and then share some options on when you may be able to assist. I have found what is assumed to be an urgent request often does have flexibility. 


In closing, I feel the move to more open and direct communications between HQ and the local team is quite positive. It is not without its challenges as we learn to adapt, build relationships and work within the restraints in time difference, life balance and work hours. 


I look forward to your thoughts and comments.  


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