Thu, April 25, 2024

'This is the first time any global electronic goods company has built a full-capacity factory in Nepal'

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Sung June Park, Managing Director of Nepal Office, Samsung Electronics has been with the company for close to two decades. Prior to being positioned in Nepal, he was in Singapore overlooking the South-East Asia market. And prior to that, he was in South Korea with the mobile division of the company. 

“I have been looking after various markets and when I was in South Korea I was mostly looking after the India market which is a very dynamic and diverse market and one of the largest in the world,” he says. Park came to Nepal in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic, a challenging and unstable period for all businesses, but in less than four years, he continues to drive demand for Samsung with the enthusiasm of a professional who seeks to find opportunities in challenges. 

Park has a range of interests as an individual and is a professional in all things tech. He is a keen observer of new developments in IT besides understanding how the human ecosystem is evolving within these frameworks.

In this edition of Business 360, we spoke to Park about Samsung’s operations in Nepal and what he plans to achieve here. Excerpts:

Could you give us an overview of Samsung’s operations and presence in Nepal?

I overlook all of Samsung’s operations in Nepal. We have a very diverse portfolio here ranging from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to TVs and home appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, among others. Besides these products, we are also engaged in hospital equipment. We have some hospital focused corporate products like x-ray machines and ultrasound devices. So, the product offerings we have are diverse in nature. In fact, when we talk about TVs it is actually divided into two sections – one is the household segment and the other is for big institutions like hotels. We have a full line-up of products in Nepal the way we have in other countries. Any Samsung product that is available abroad is available in Nepal too and the only difference is the market dynamics of each economy.

How does Samsung contribute to the local economy?

During my stay here in Nepal this is probably the biggest aspect that I have been privileged to focus on. We do provide world-class products and services in Nepal but more importantly, we want to be more engaged and a part of the community here. One such initiative was building a full-scale TV factory here. This is the first time any global electronic goods company has built a full-capacity factory in Nepal. We established the factory in April in Nawalparasi. It is equipped with the newest and most advanced equipment to assemble and build TVs. This is the initial year and we have employed 50 people and limited the production numbers but from next year you can look forward to a much bigger scale of production and also a greater number of employees. We view this factory as a very significant development because it can open up a huge industry opportunity for Nepal in terms of the manufacturing sector. For Nepal as a country to be growing and to be able to really boost its economy more of this kind of local manufacturing needs to be happening. And I am privileged and proud to be a part of this kind of initiative.

I have not only focused on building infrastructure and the hardware aspects of production and manufacturing but also on training the youth of Nepal in terms of IT knowledge. We have started a collaboration with Tribhuvan University from last year. This is a part of a global training session which we call Samsung Innovation Campus. Through this training course, we provide the interested youth with all of Samsung’s knowledge in terms of our IT capabilities. We have developed this into a full package course so that we can teach students how Samsung has actually become a leader in the fields of IT such as artificial intelligence, or big data, or IoT, or even just general programming and coding. This training programme is fully funded by Samsung for the students of Tribhuvan University.

What are the challenges and opportunities for Samsung in Nepal?

The biggest challenge in terms of business is of course and it is not limited to Nepal only but on a global scale, that economic growth has more or less slowed down. This is an external challenge that we are facing at the moment and this is not only a problem in Nepal but is more of a global problem. Economic growth has slowed down globally. When we look at Nepal alone, it has become a very competitive market as there are so many options available for consumers in terms of products, in terms of the brands of various corporates that are entering our industry – the IT industry and electronic goods market. Nepal has become a very competitive and congested market where we need to constantly showcase our core values and competitiveness to win over the minds of the consumers in terms of what is the benefit that Samsung offers to the users of Nepal.

How is Samsung adapting to the local preferences and market dynamics that you just talked about?

At Samsung, whenever we design any new product, we gather the values of feedback from the market and this gathering of feedback is done on a global scale and is not limited to only a few selective countries. We gather information on what the consumer is after, what they are trying to find in a product. We conduct this form of research in all of the countries including Nepal. The biggest aspect about Nepal is that it is a very young country. And in young countries, there are young users of IT products who are very much into the technical aspects. They want to be connected with the community; they want to be connected to their peers. They are very much socially engaged and that reflects the usage of our smartphones. These are the aspects that we try to listen to and we try to gather as much information as possible so that we can accommodate them when we actually design our products.

In terms of innovation and technology are there any recent developments or upcoming products that Samsung is particularly excited about?

One thing about innovation these days is that smartphones, whether they are Android phones or iOS phones, have become very much alike. If one company comes up with an innovation, it can be easily and quickly adapted thereby creating a monotonous form of market in terms of the product. However, we are proud to say we have been able to be on the cutting edge of introducing innovations and standing out from this kind of uniform manner of products. A good example of this is the foldable technology we introduced lately, which is one of the industry standard breaking, out-of-the-box innovations that we have made because this is an innovation where we are able to fold and bend the display. The technology behind this innovation is very complex. And we have also launched the fifth generation of foldable phones. So, over the five years, we have been able to now technically master this order of foldables. The beauty of foldable smartphones is that it is not only about showing off our technology but it is actually giving the users usability in terms of being able to use a phone that is virtually a tablet and a phone. In terms of usability, users can use the phone for their work purpose and their daily lifestyle has significantly changed due to this kind of innovation that we were able to introduce.