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KBLA members divide into 4 groups to simulate the 4 stakeholders of main HQ, local branch, potential acquisition, and regional HQ of the theoretical company in the case study on April 24.

Leaders' Alliance

27 April 2015 - 7:00pm
Matthew Weigand

The Korea Business Leaders Alliance (KBLA) held a case study lunch on Friday, April 24, at the Hyatt Hotel to discuss a theoretical and yet plausible case study about Korean business. Senior business leaders, both Korean and foreign, from a wide variety of industries in Korea talked together about what should be done about a local branch manager of an international company when his vision and understanding did not match up with headquarters. The insights presented by the KBLA members were enlightening.

The case study asked who has the moral authority in determining organizational...

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Searches for the Galaxy S6, red, are more numerous than those for the Apple Watch, blue, on average.

Clear Winner

15 April 2015 - 4:00pm
Matthew Weigand

Smartphones and smart watches are supposed to be complementary, but when new models of each come out on the same day, consumers quickly realize that they only have so much money to spend on new gadgets per month. This is the case with the Galaxy S6 and Apple's new Watch, which find themselves competing for tech-savvy and impatient consumers' attention and money. And while there are no definitive numbers yet about which are winning, the Galaxy S6 seems to be getting more attention online.


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Step Back, Think Twice

27 March 2015 - 5:45pm
Matthew Weigand

On Wednesday, Wikileaks, the infamous site that publishes formerly-secret documents anonymously for the public to read, released the Investment Chapter from the until-now secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement being negotiated between 12 nations in the Americas and Asia. If passed, it would regulate 40 percent of the world's GDP. The South Korean government has frequently expressed its desire to be a part of the TPP, most recently after the signing of the Korea-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. But after...

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Dr. Ogan Gurel gives a presentation on the digital health revolution at the Grand Hyatt on the March 17 KBLA What's Next seminar.

Shifting Medical Paradigms

20 March 2015 - 1:15am
Matthew Weigand

Hippocrates, as Dr. Ogan Gurel pointed out at the Grand Hyatt in Seoul at the March 17 “What's Next” seminar put on by the Korea Business Leaders Alliance (KBLA), said that prognosis was the greatest of the medical arts. Today's western medical profession, in contrast, focuses on diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Gurel, a director in the Open Innovation Group at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, gave a presentation to the assembled members of the KBLA highlighting some of the changes in medicine and technology that will soon make it possible for western medicine to re-focus on...

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Downward Trend

16 March 2015 - 7:15pm
Matthew Weigand

Most of the listed companies in South Korea saw sales and operating profits decrease this past year, including giants like Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor. In addition, the largest number of companies experienced credit downgrades in the nation since 1999. 

A total of 41 of the 373 companies that were appraised by the Korea Investors Service (KIS) last year were downgraded. Only fifteen were upgraded, which is also the lowest amount in fifteen years. Yang Jin-soo, an analyst at KIS, said, “Since 2010, more companies have faced a decline in their ratings. Last year, downgrades...

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The Sejong Center in Seoul is a public performance venue, museum, and wedding hall opposite the U.S. embassy on Gwanghwamun Plaza. (Photo by 螺钉 via Wikimedia Commons)

Unexpected Assault

5 March 2015 - 9:59am
Matthew Weigand

Mark Lippert, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, was assaulted by political activist Kim Ji-jong wielding a razor blade at approximately 7:40am this morning at a breakfast lecture organized by the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation at the Sejong Center, just across the street from the U.S. embassy in Gwangwhamun, central Seoul.

Ambassador Lippert was seen holding the right side of his face while he was rushed to Kangbuk Samsung Medical Center to be treated for wounds to his face and arm. An Obama Administration official said that his injuries were not life-threatening....

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The tweet by Parker Higgins compares two passages. Samsung's privacy policy is on the left, and the book 1984 is on the right.

Gross Privacy Violations

9 February 2015 - 4:11pm
Matthew Weigand

U.S.-based tech media outlets like The Daily Beast, Techcrunch, and Gizmodo are all buzzing about Samsung TVs, but not in the good way. This time they are talking about “spying,” “creepy eavesdropping,” and “1984.”

The story was first published by The Daily Beast last Thursday, local time, when they ran an article titled “Your Samsung SmartTV Is Spying On You, Bascially.” The article points out a sentence that was discovered in Samsung's latest privacy...

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KBLA members ponder the scenario presented to them at the Feb. 5 case study lunch.

What Would You Do?

5 February 2015 - 5:54pm
Matthew Weigand

In a case study seminar put together by the Korea Business Leaders' Alliance (KBLA) at the Grand Hyatt in Seoul on Feb. 5, a worker's strike, a factory fire, and a lack of intra-company communication were laid before 20+ experienced expatriate businessmen. This unique event shone a light on the business expertise available in the city and in the expat community as a whole.

The case study was theoretical, but the problems presented were all too believable in a country that has gained an international reputation for the strength of its workers' unions. In the scenario presented, a sit...

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Sirgoo Lee, co-CEO of KakaoTalk.

Interviewing Innovation

21 April 2014 - 4:00pm
Matthew Weigand

Sirgoo Lee is co-CEO of Kakao Corporation, alongside JB Lee. He has previously been the CEO of NHN USA, and is a lawyer by trade. BusinessKorea spoke with him about the history and future of KakaoTalk and his insights into the smartphone instant messaging market.

All 3 of the executives of KakaoTalk are from Naver or NHN, right? Is that where you all met?

I met Brian when I joined NHN in May of 2004. He was at the time the CEO of NHN. And I joined as the general counsel. That was my initial contact with Brian. He left in 2006 to form the...

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From left to right, Dr. Sir Jae-chul, Dr. Emanuel Pastreich, Chun Kyung-seok, Lee Sang-hyun, Lee Sang-hun, and Matthew Weigand.

Korea’s Potential

3 March 2014 - 6:39pm
Matthew Weigand

Business Korea joined up with the Asia Institute to hold the first in a series of Breakfast Seminars recently that gather together thought leaders in Korea’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) scene to discuss an issue weighing on the mind of many in the industry: how to unleash Korea’s ICT potential. In attendance were five noted members of the public, academic, and private ICT sectors who offered clear insight into the current status of thought and opinion on the questions presented to them. The following are excerpts from the...

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