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Korea could become Asia’s design capital

Becoming the world’s No. 1 in electronics, automobiles and software is what corporate Korea should focus on as it aspires to re-invent itself as a global brand, according to a renowned brand futurist.

By focusing on what it does best, Korea has a good shot at becoming the design capital of Asia, said Martin Lindstrom, an internationally acclaimed brand consultant, during an interview with The Korea Herald.

“You have amazing car brands, car experience, unique designs, so who says you can’t produce the next generation of iPad?”

Koreans also are quick to embrace change ― whether it be developing new beverages or new software applications ― which is why if Korea works harder, it can come out on top, especially in the face of competition with Asian rivals such as China, Japan or Taiwan. 
Martin Lindstrom
Martin Lindstrom

Korea definitely has the infrastructure to make it happen, he said.

But one glaring problem is that Koreans still lack originality.

“The biggest weakness you have is that you are good at copying things,” Lindstrom pointed out.

Many industrial designs appear to be copycats of the designs of rivals, and the issue should be immediately addressed, he stressed.

More is needed to nurture up-and-coming designers and spend more money on employees since change cannot happen without such investment.

“You really need to work harder on it because if you don’t do it someone else, like Taiwan or China will take that position,” Lindstrom said, adding that Korea still falls behind Japan.

Touching on the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the Danish consultant said while the situation was sad, there would be new opportunities for corporate Korea.

“If Samsung can come up with a mind-blowing product with right leadership this is the time to do it,” Lindstrom said.

By Cynthia J. Kim (