Kim Weon-dae: Maintaining the Market Leadership Position in Indonesia

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KOREAN brands have for quite some time been doing very well here. LG is one such example that is extremely aggressive in marketing its electronic products in Indonesia. Indeed, said Kim Weon-dae, president director of PT LG Electronics Indonesia (LGEIN), the electronic market in Indonesia has grown significantly, but at the same time competition is becoming tougher. “The surviving manufacturers are those that can meet the consumers’ demands with innovative products.”

According to Kim, who has worked for LG Electronics (LGE) Inc. since 1984 in various locations globally, LGE, the subsidiary of LG Corp., is quite solid as last year it was ranked number 67 in Fortune Global 500.

LGE designs and produces TVs, home appliances and telecommunication devices. The company also owns Zenith Electronics and controls LG Displays, a company in collaboration with Philips Electronics. One can safely say that LGE is South Korea’s second largest electronics company and the world’s third largest in the same sector. The company has its headquarters at LG Twin Towers in Yoido, Seoul and LGE is the icon of LG Group. Meanwhile in Indonesia the total sales of LGEIN is US$2 billion for 2010, which ranks its sales as number seven in the 120 countries where LGE products are marketed.

Currently LGEIN is the market leader in electronics products in Indonesia, while in 2010 it dominated award achievements in eight product categories out of 17 awards namely for its LCD TV, Plasma TV, Refrigerator, Washing Machine, AC, Blu-Ray ™ DVD, Home Theatre System and LCD Monitor. Since 2006 LG Electronics Indonesia (LGEIN) has succeeded in winning most awards from Growth from Knowledge (GfK) which made its position as the number one company in consumer electronics more solid than ever.

Starting its business in Indonesia in 1990 LGEIN has now become one of the leading electronics companies here. One of the keys to LGEIN’s success is in its consistency in producing products that adopt local values while at the same time having the latest technological innovation and stylish design as well as customer oriented service in each transaction.

Kim, 53, said that to maintain its market leader position LGEIN would continue to produce sophisticated and innovative products that could become trendsetters to meet consumers’ needs as well as enrich their lives. He added that LGEIN always targets a 30 percent annual sales increase. In 2011 the focus is on three categories: television, mobile phones and home appliances. The company will also launch new products with the latest technology featuring the Green Health Plus concept. It will also launch 3D TV Cinema, Smart TV and Washing Machine with the Green Health Plus concept, energy saving AC and a range of Optimus mobile phones using Android technology. “We will build a couple of leading brands in each category,” he emphasized.

To achieve the target LGEIN has taken a number of steps, such as developing innovative products and increasing the company’s investment here. In Indonesia at present LGEIN has two manufacturing plants, in Cibitung, West Java and Tangerang, Banten province.

Today LGEIN has 21 branches throughout Indonesia and will soon add a number of stores as well as employees for the marketing and service divisions. The company will also continuously increase its distribution and servicing network. Currently LGEIN has 109 authorized service centers, 11 mobile exhibition outlets and service centers, six mobile service, one technology store, 24 service branches, 12 service stations and a call center.

Regarding the human resources LGEIN trains its employees so that they meet the company’s business requirements especially in manufacturing, marketing and servicing. “Many will be sent to South Korea for further training and to a number of other countries to get them involved in LGIN’s projects over there,” said Kim, who received his MBA degree from McGill University in May 2008.

According to Kim LG strictly adheres to three key factors in running its business. “Consistency in high quality, transparency in product specifications and last but not least maintaining the consumers’ trust,” he asserted.

There is something else, said Kim, that makes LG unique and different from the rest of electronic manufacturing companies. Although it has its headquarters in South Korea, he said, LGEIN strongly feels a part of Indonesia. Hence the products marketed here have gone through a thorough research on Indonesian consumers’ tastes and needs. “The research, I am confident, makes it easy for our products to be well accepted by Indonesian consumers,” he explained.

As a token of the company’s gratitude toward its consumers LGEIN has developed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program with the theme “LG Loves Indonesia” which has four sub programs namely LG Loves School, LG Loves Children , LG Loves Green and LG Loves and Cares.

In his position as president director of LGEIN Kim has a proactive leadership style and says that he spends a lot of time with the staff and employees and provides them with full support. For a multinational company like LGE a multi and intercultural approach is important. “That’s why I prioritize transparency for better communication. I do not apply a top down style, because the bottom up one that I use gives me lots of ideas,” he said.

Kim himself has the goal of ensuring LGEIN remains the number one player in the industry. “The ‘tradition’ is not merely about market share and profit orientation, but above and beyond that, to become Indonesia’s number one national brand,” he said in conclusion. (Burhan Abe)

The Jakarta Post, April 23, 2011

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