Global Best Brands in Korea (4)
Renault Samsung Motors
About the brand
Renault Samsung Motors is a Busan-based automaker established involving French motor company Renault, Japan’s Nissan and Korea’s Samsung Motors in 2000.
The company has recorded robust growth over the past decade to maintain a solid position in the domestic automotive market with its flagship model, the SM5.
The firm has generated a unique corporate culture by efficiently incorporating the three distinct flavors of Renault, Samsung and Nissan ― the key to its success.
Name: Jean-Marie Hurtiger
Career: Hurtiger started his career at Coyne and Bellier in 1973 as a project leader in civil engineering and gained various experience at a few different companies before becoming part of the Renault Group in 1988. He took the reins of Renault Samsung Motors in 2006.
Education: Master’s from Paritech, ENPC College, MBA from INSEAD
Extracurricular: Tennis, mountain hiking
Korean automakers mostly focus on quantitative expansion to take as much market share as possible but Renault Samsung has followed a different growth path of putting quality first.
Such an approach enabled the outfit to rank top in Overall Customer Satisfaction surveys for nine years, which are conducted by consultancy firm, Marketing Insight.
The strategy has worked in a handsome manner ― Renault Samsung is one of the top contenders in the Korean market and has remained profitable for eight years in a row since 2002. It currently rolls out about 200,000 cars a year, 40 percent of which are exported.
As far as the quality is concerned, Renault Samsung vows to remain ahead of the curve through continuing to stick to its time-honored management principle of ``never compromise on quality’’ as well as tackling new issues such as environment protection.
Thanks to the mindset, the company has successfully earned customer confidence and firmly positioned itself in the market in a short period of time with such models as the SM3, SM5, SM7 and QM5.
``Renault Samsung Motors will continue to pursue both qualitative and quantitative growth based on the strong confidence of customers, and intends to take the lead in the automotive market by rapidly coping with environmental issues, which are recently emerging in the market,’’ CEO Jean-Marie Hurtiger said.
About the brand
JT International (JTI) is one of the world’s top three tobacco makers, which continues to expand its market share with such flagship brands as Mild Seven, Salem and Glamour.
JTI tapped into Korea in 1992 to duplicate its global success in Asia’s fourth-largest economy on the back of the aforementioned brands and indeed posted notable growth in the saturated domestic markets.
As far as the annual growth rate is concerned, JTI Korea has topped the podium for four straight years since 2007.
Name: Park Byung-kee
Career: Park got aboard JTI Korea in 2005 to take charge of the firm’s overall sales businesses. He got the helm of the company this month. Before joining JTI Korea, he served as CEO of Bic Korea and has worked for SC Johnson Korea and P&G Korea.
Education: Studied English literature at Sejong University
JTI has been able to carve out a substantial part of the hard-fought Korean tobacco market via putting its top priority on making quality products tailored to local tastes as well as caring about reducing environmental tobacco smoke.
``One of the most important JTI core values is quality. JTI considers producing good products through improving their quality as very important and thus is much effort into maximizing satisfaction for all its stakeholders by enhancing its products and services continuously,’’ company CEO Park Byung-kee said.
``In Korea, as well as globally, smokers are becoming increasingly sensitive and respectful of others who may be affected by lingering smoke smell in enclosed areas. JTI is working hard to resolve such needs of smokers.’’
JTI Korea has set a long-term target of offering innovative products, which can provide value to customers. To achieve this, it strives to differentiate itself from competitors with the eventual goal of meeting clients’ demands.
In addition, JTI Korea looks to carry out its responsibilities as a corporate citizen and improve the transparency of its management.
Up until now, the Seoul-based entity has carried out corporate social responsibility programs involving senior citizens. It has vowed to keep taking care of senior citizens down the road.
About the brand
MetLife Insurance Company of Korea is a subsidiary of MetLife, a global first-string provider of variable life insurance with a variety of products such as individual and group life, accident and health insurance as well as retirement savings.
Through its affiliates, MetLife has a total of 90 million customers in 60 countries across the world. The No. 1 life insurer in the United States in terms of life insurance in-place has a long history that stretches back 142 years ago.
Since its foundation in 1989, MetLife Korea has racked up a fast growth in the highly competitive domestic market to become one of the top five foreign life insurers.
Name: Kim Jong-woon
Career: Kim was appointed as chief executive officer of MetLife Korea last year after serving in many top positions in the industry including chief operating officer of MetLife, senior vice president of Korea Life. Currently at the helm of MetLife Korea, he leads a strong expansion drive for the firm.
Education: Business administration from Korea University and MBA from University of California, Berkeley.
Extracurricular: traveling, reading
During the fiscal year 2009, which finished this March, MetLife Korea netted up to 78.3 billion won in income to record profits for 11 years in a row. Its total assets also amounted to 9.5 trillion won.
The corporation continues to build up its value by effectively leveraging its sound financial structure, stable asset management practices and the advanced risk management capabilities.
For example, its risk-based capital ratio is 721.5 percent and non-performing asset ratio is 0 percent. Plus, it garnered an insurer financial strength rating of ``AAA’’ from the Korea Information Service as of this May.
As summarized in its ``Vision 114,’’ MetLife Korea has created a long-term goal of attaining the No. 1 status in pride of the firm’s employees, No. 1 in client satisfaction and one of the top four life insurers in Korea by 2015.
Toward that end, MetLife Korea strives to build up staff capabilities and pride in their work and, thereby, offer their clients the most satisfactory services based on the industry’s most refined minds.
``We will stick to the industry’s highest ethical standards supporting our reputation as the exemplary life insurer that is most ethical, law-abiding life insurer in the industry,’’ CEO Kim Jong-woon said.
``We will also make our best effects to do our due part as a corporate citizen by returning part of our profits to society through social contribution activities led by our MetLife Korea Foundation.’’
PCA Life Korea
About the brand
PCA Life Korea is a unit of U.K.-based PCA Group, an international financial service provider with 160 years of history famous for tailor-made products in accordance to the clients’ life state needs.
PCA Group has 25 million customers worldwide and the funds under management amounts to 309 billion pounds as of this June. It was ranked 66th among the top 100 most admired multinationals in the Wall Street Journal’s annual Asia 200 survey.
PCA Life Korea began operations here in late 2001 and has gained a reputation in the industry as a leader in retirement marketing and services during the first decade of the new millennium.
Name: Kim Young-jin
Career: Kim started his professional career in Kyobo Life in 1984 and served as vice president and senior vice president of AIA Korea from 2000 through 2006. He joined PCA Life Korea in 2008 as a president & CEO.
Education: Bachelor’s degree at Busan National University, MBA at Aju University
Extracurricular: Reading, climbing
As far as the retirement insurance market is concerned, PCA Life Korea is second to none here and it strives to be ahead of the curve with the vision ``to be the most trusted retirement planning expert.’’
In particular, the corporation forged a partnership with Seoul National University in order to build its retirement planning expertise.
Its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs are also in line with its competitive advantage of post-retirement products _ it has recently expanded its CSR to seniors support to align with its business focus.
PCA Life Korea is looking to achieve its four core values over the long haul ― ``demonstrate care and understanding,’’ ``collaborate,’’ ``innovate and create opportunities’’ and ``deliver excellence.’’
Furthermore, it hopes to keep its leadership in retirement products as company CEO Kim Young-jin points out.
``Many think about just money when they talk about the post-retirement life. But they had better mull over what they really want to do after retiring.’’ Kim said.
Regarding the 4-part series on Best Global Brands in Korea
The Korea Times has picked a total of 19 best global brands thus far. They are Deloitte Anjin, Philip Morris International Korea, Boehringer Ingelheim Korea, British American Tobacco Korea, Microsoft Korea, Merck Korea, Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers, Jaguar Landrover Korea, ING Korea, Allianz Life Korea, Pernod Ricard Korea (Ballantine’s), BMW Korea, AIG Korea, Alcatel-Lucent Korea and Mercedes Benz Korea on top of the four companies covered today ― JTI Korea, Renault Samsung Motors, PCA Life Korea and MetLife Korea.
The Korea Times tried to cover all the industries but the banking industries have been excluded from this research for technical reasons. Many insurers, drug makers, automakers, tobacco companies, accounting firms and high-tech companies made it onto the list. However, food & beverage firms failed to make the cut.
All of the 19 companies have clocked fast growth in Korea as well as carried out brisk corporate social responsibility programs to become representative players in their respective industries not only in their bottom lines but also with their social reputations.
We hope that all the brands will continue to flourish on the domestic markets and keep contributing to society as responsible corporate citizens to become more prosperous companies down the road.
The logos of the 19 outstanding global brands with a few more ones will be displayed together later this week in The Korea Times. ― ED.