Global Best Brands in Korea (1)
About the brand
Since established in 1998, British American Tobacco (BAT) Korea has achieved fast growth in Korea based on such well-known cigarette brands as Kent, Dunhill and Vogue.
The company launched ``made-in-Korea’’ products in 2003 at its factory in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province. It also exports the tobacco products made there all over the world.
It has been touted as a socially responsible firm as amply demonstrated by numerous awards _ the Sacheon factory was honored with a Commendation from Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2009 and the company received the Exemplary Taxpayer Award from the Minister of Strategy and Finance this year.
Name: Stephan Liechti
Career: Liechti started his career in tobacco at Rothmans in 1994 and joined BAT after their merger in 1999. He worked in several
senior marketing posts and before taking the general manager position in Korea in 2008, he headed BAT affiliates in Greece, Malta
Education: Master’s degree in management, marketing and psychology from HWV University in Bern, Switzerland
BAT Korea is the top-tier international tobacco company in Korea accounting for more than 18 percent of the hard-fought domestic market, according to AC Nielson data as of this October.
Their representative brands Dunhill, Kent and Vogue have led to impressive expansion over the past two decades.
``Korea is a very important market in the BAT Group, and we are committed to ensuring that our factory continues to produce the highest quality cigarettes for our Korean consumers,’’ BAT Korea President Stephan Liechti said.
Well aware of the two critical success factors here of quality and innovation, BAT Korea looks to increase its market share in Asia’s fourth-largest economy through seamless investments.
Its innovative efforts are showcased by Kent Convertibles, the first capsule cigarette in the world featuring a charcoal filter. The new two-in-one taste product got much attention as its market share jumped 2.2 percent in just three months after its debut.
In addition, BAT Korea declares that its long-term goals involve economic and social contributions to society through marketing its products in a responsible way and applying high standards of behavior and integrity in everything it does.
About the brand
Merck Korea waded into Korea back in 1989 to mainly operate in chemical industries involving liquid crystals, performance & life science chemicals, life science products and analytics.
In 1999, the Seoul-based company set up its Korean pharmaceutical operation, which was integrated with Soreno Korea in 2007 after the German-based Merck acquired the company.
Based on its long history in the industry abroad and competitive edge in technology, Merck has grown into one of the first-string companies in both the pharmaceutical and chemical businesses during the past two decades here in Korea.
Name: Juergen Koenig
Career: Koenig took charge of various management positions at BASF, a German-based chemical giant, from 1977 through 1998. He
assumed leadership of BASF Pharma in Pakistan in 1998 and moved to lead Merck Pakistan three years later. He has led Merck Korea since 2008.
Education: MBA in finance and marketing from Vargas University in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Extracurricular: jogging, sailing, golf
As far as investments on research and development (R&D) are concerned, Merck Korea is arguably second to none _ it has set up a pair of research centers in Korea in the last ten years.
After opening its first research facility dubbed the Advanced Technical Center (ATC) in 2002, Merck channeled 11 million euro to build its second ATC this year located in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.
On top of its existing technological supremacy, such efforts provide additional clout to the company so that it racks up robust growth in Korea.
Based on the company’s renowned global principle of ``think globally and act locally,’’ Merck Korea vows to achieve further success together with its customers on the back of brisk research.
``The major global players in the field of liquid crystal displays are based in Korea. To be close to the needs of the customers and to satisfy them with new technologies is fundamental for mutual further success,’’ Merck Korea President Juergen Koenig said when the second ATC opened.
``Merck will use the new ATC to further develop innovative products in line with the market and customer needs. Cooperation has always been part of Merck’s strategy.’’
Jaguar Land Rover Korea
Jaguar Land Rover Korea
About the brand
Both Jaguar and Land Rover brands have dominated the world’s premium vehicles market for the past several decades and became available to Korean customers in the early 2000s.
Its sales jumped substantially in the domestic market under the stewardship of Chief Executive Officer Lee Dong-hoon after Jaguar Land Rover Korea was officially launched in April 2008.
The two brands were originally British. They are currently part of Tata Motors, India’s foremost automobile manufacturer.
Name: Lee Dong-hoon
Career: Lee started his professional career at LG Electronics in 1991 before moving to BMW Korea in early 1997. He took charge of sales of Jaguar Land Rover vehicles in 2004 and became the inaugural CEO of Jaguar Land Rover Korea in 2008.
Education: Hanyang University B.A. in mechanical engineering
Jaguar Land Rover Korea came into existence in 2008.
Despite its short history of operation in Korea, Jaguar Land Rover is one of the fastest-growing automotive brands here as shown by its ultra-fast expansion in sales this year.
During the first three quarters of 2010, the Seoul-based entity sold a total of 456 vehicles, up 62.3 percent from the corresponding period last year, outperforming the market by a large margin.
In particular, its flagship luxury sedan, the all new XJ, has won the hearts and minds of motorists since its debut in July.
Jaguar Land Rover Korea is jockeying to strengthen its footing by making end customers experience the unrivalled functionalities, sleek design and cutting-edge technologies of its models.
Through expanding networks of dealers and after-service outlets nationwide, it also aims to drum up support for the brand, which has topped podiums across the world in the premium luxury segment.
Plus, the company vows to work on environmentally-friendly solutions by developing low-emission engines as well as improving fuel efficiency, which have emerged as the main concerns for the automotive industry.
ING Life Korea
About the brand
ING Life Korea tapped into the Korean market in 1989 when its subsidiary Life of Georgia set up a branch here. The name changed to Netherlands Life Insurance two years later and eventually to ING Life Korea in 1999.
In the early 2000s, the Seoul-headquartered outfit gained the reputation as the fastest growing insurance firm to join the ranks of one of the country’s four largest insurers in 2004.
As a subsidiary of ING Life, whose history stretches back to some 160 years ago, the company has maintained leadership among global insurance companies in Korea.
Name: John Wylie
Career: Wylie, the long-time fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia, joined ING Australia in 2000 and was promoted to managing director of the entity the next year. Afterwards, he headed the company’s units in Taiwan and Hong Kong before taking the realm of ING Life Korea early this year.
Education: B.A. from Macquarie University
Extracurricular: tennis, golf
ING Life Korea is regarded as one of the most successful global life insurers in the domestic market, which has been dominated by a set of homegrown players affiliated with business conglomerates.
The firm reached the 100 billion won mark in renewal premium and 1 trillion won in premium income in 2003. Two years later, it celebrated as the number of contracts topped 1 million.
ING Life Korea was given the highest ranking, ``A’’ from rating agency A.M. Best for seven straight years from 2000 through 2007 and was assigned the best grade, ``AAA’’ from the Korean Ratings Corp. for four years in a row from 2007.
ING Life Korea leader John Wylie points out that the firm’s long-term vision involves the satisfaction of the end customer.
``Under the company mission of Korea’s No. 1 choice in helping customers manage their financial future, ING Life has continued to build customer satisfaction by focusing on our core values of putting customers first, delivering on promises and being easy to do business with, since ING Life in Korea was established in 1989,’’ Wylie said.
He added that the ING Dream campaign, under which the outfit will put forth efforts to assist clients to achieve their dreams, is also in line with the vision. It started earlier this month.
``It is telling that ING Life realizes customers dreams with know-how during 20 years of business in Korea and also reflected in ING’s management philosophy. Through this campaign, we can reconfirm the strengths of ING Life to existing customers and reinforce the financial soundness and know-how to new customers,’’ he said.
About the brand
Ballantine’s made a foray into the domestic market in the late 1980s and immediately became a famous brand as it is well suited to local tastes. It is one of the world’s most popular Scotch whiskeys with an esteemed heritage, which goes backs to 1827. The brand was acquired by Pernod Ricard in the mid 2000s.
Ballentine’s sells in more than 160 nations worldwide and its sales amount to 60 million bottles per annum. In other words, two bottles are bought every second somewhere on this planet.
Name: Frank Lapeyre
Carrier: Lapeyre joined Pernod Ricard in 1991 and has mostly worked for the firm’s Asian subsidiaries in Seoul, Tokyo and Singapore. He took charge of the firm’s Singaporean operation in 2004 before taking the reins of Pernod Ricard Korea this year. Pernod Ricard retains the Ballantine’s brand.
Education: studied at Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris
In a short period of time, Ballantine’s has become one of the most favored liquors here in Korea. The New Management, a vernacular monthly, surveyed chief executives in Korea to learn that Ballentine’s is their favorite whisky brand. The product has stayed atop the list for eight years in succession since 2003.
It also took the top place in other surveys several times as well as recognized as the best-selling whisky at the duty-free shops in Incheon International Airport.
Pernod Ricard has come up with new packaging earlier this year and instantly attracted great attention in the market.
The firm unveiled the new packaging in July, which features the embossed signature of founder George Ballantine and two separate labels. The fresh product was available to end customers in late August.
``We expect that the new-style packaging will help underpin our brand image as a top-end whisky. We will be able to remain ahead
of the curve in the hard-fought competition,’’ a Pernod Ricard official said.