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Issue Report

Collection of full-length papers and in-depth analysis of economic and management issues.

Analogue Shines in the Digital Era

Analogue Shines in the Digital Era

SHIN Hyung-Won

May 3, 2011

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Originally released on March 23, 2011

Since its advent in the mid 1990s, digitalization has offered opportunities for digital-savvy Korean companies to compete with global companies from the US, the EU and Japan on an equal footing across an array of industries. As a result, Korean electronics companies, which produced their first color TV two decades later than their Japanese counterparts, have taken the lead in the LCD and LED TV markets. On the auto front, Korean auto makers have narrowed the gap between global auto makers by replacing much of their analogue technology with IT. However, Korea's digital-based strengths in product quality and price competitiveness are being threatened by companies in the emerging markets. Since digitalization is built on standardized and modular parts, emerging markets have developed the ability to produce comparable products through global sourcing in a short time. In the midst of rapid commoditization of products, Korean companies need to do business differently from simply competing for speed and lower prices to discovering the "hidden competitiveness" that latecomers cannot easily imitate.

Korean companies will thus need to step up efforts to raise their "analogue competitiveness" to move to the next level. Although the word "analogue" is diversely used, analogue competitiveness in this paper can be defined as the ability to reflect intrinsic human emotions and behavior in products. It encompasses concepts ranging from a combination of analogue features and digital technology in product planning and development to the concept of craftsmanship at the production stage. Analogue competitiveness has recently basked in the lime light as a growing number of products that factor in analogue emotions and behavior have become global hits. Cases in point are interfaces like the iPod Shuffle and iPhone's touch interface that exquisitely reflect people's desires to freely control their devices.

This paper sheds light on the typical analogue competitiveness according to sector (planning & designing, production and marketing) and provides detailed information on each. First of all, analogue competitiveness at the planning and designing stage means reflecting consumers' emotions in product concepts, interfaces, etc. Cases in point are intuitive user interfaces (UI) and designs that value emotion. Analogue competitiveness at the production stage entails high-value added molds and integrated optimization technology, which refers to the ability to understand electrical and mechanical properties of materials and parts and freely make adjustments for the sake of product quality. Marketing analogue competitiveness takes advantage of the human desire to share emotions with others: it creates product-related, emotion-arousing stories on- and offline and tries to spread them as widely as possible- for example, a personality-imbued online communication.

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