Globalization is a keyword in Korean society. This article highlights trends in Korean global expansion.
According to a recent Chosun Ilbo article, Korean family-run corporations are less and less rooted in the country that spawned them. The article cites this trend as developing into transnational corporations... entities that acquire many characteristics of nations themselves without depending on the country where they originated.
How this manifests..
For example, operating in 42 countries with 76 foreign subsidiaries, LG Electronics faces an annual linguistic headache because it has to translate its CEO’s New Year’s speech or management guidelines into 25 languages.
LG has launched a project to translate its in-house intranet and common regulations into English to make English the company’s official language by 2008. [ Samsung has similar plans, I'm sure all the large Korean Groups will follow.]
The Samsung Group tallied its 2005 sales at $140 billion. [ I'm told its was closer to $200 billion.] Translated into GDP, the group would rank 35th among 180 nations, larger than Malaysia and Singapore but a little smaller than Iran and Argentina. By the same token, LG would be 48th, Hyundai Motor 49th, and SK 55th. As far as their staff is concerned, the firms have also long outgrown national boundaries.
LG Electronics has 42,000 staff overseas and only 30,000 in Korea. Samsung Electronics has more than 42 percent of staff, or 50,000 people, abroad.
Hyundai Motor hired more than 1,300 new workers overseas last year, compared to 1,200 in Korea. In addition, all of the company’s new investment in facilities goes abroad.
Samsung has 1,500 Korean employees in 337 foreign subsidiaries in 58 countries. LG Electronics has 1,100 Koreans in 76 foreign subsidiaries in 42 countries.