Samsung isn't Japanese?

No, it’s not. It’s Korean
I’m really surprised by this one. There are so many people in the world who are perfectly familiar with large Korean companies, but do not know that they are in fact Korean companies. But we live in a world where people look at quality and price when they buy things, and the country in which it is made is usually China the last thing on their mind. Even so, I was surprised to find this website, which talks about a study done on U.S. college students and the nationality of some well known companies. Students routinely got the identity of these companies wrong, but one part stuck out like a sore thumb.

55.7 percent of students thought South Korean automaker Hyundai was Japanese. A nearly identical number of respondents also thought Korean electronics maker Samsung was also Japanese. Most students thought LG — also from Korea — was American.

These are arguably Korea’s largest three companies, and it seems like consumers are really uninformed about that simple fact.

There are some in Korea who wish that these companies would do more to show that they are Korean, such as putting the Korean flag on their products, or writing the word “Korea” somewhere on the product, or advertising its association with Korea in ad campaigns, but the companies themselves have been reluctant.

I can somewhat understand why. There is a perception that Japan makes good, high-quality electronics. If people believe that Samsung is Japanese, then Samsung benefits from the reputations of Japanese companies like Toshiba and SONY. The problem is that if nothing is done to correct this perception, then even when Samsung evolves to create better products than its Japanese counterparts (such as it’s LED monitors and TVs), the reputation of the product adds to Japan’s reputation, not Korea’s. The cycle will simply perpetuate itself.

But there’s no real harm in that right? Who cares if people think Samsung is Japanese, as long as they give money to the Korean economy?

That’s very short term thinking. If Korean companies produce quality products and people know that they are Korean, then Korea will be more strategically placed for foreign investment and the like. This will be good for all Korean businesses, and the whole country. As it stands now, sure consumers may buy Korean products thinking that they are Japanese, but this only helps the companies of mistaken identity themselves.

Korean people seem to react with great surprise when they meet non-Koreans who think a Korean company is Japanese. Sometimes they get angry about it. I once saw a man on the subway talking to a young foreign guy and shouting, “NO! HYUNDAI is KOREAN!” like his life depended on it.

These same people would probably be surprised to know that LOTTE is in fact a Japanese company, even though most Koreans believe that it is undoubtedly Korean, because its owner is of Korean descent, and it has such a prominent presence in Korea.



53 Responses to “Samsung isn't Japanese?”

  1. Not suprising at all. Most American’s knowledge of world outside of U.S. is limited not only in geography but language.

    • Yeah, I heard about that from my American friends. For them, cell phones are just cell phones and TVs are just TVs. They don’t really care about which country make it, because that doesn’t matter to them.

      • The Seoul Searcher Says:

        Why should it really matter as long as it works? I think the only times I really look at where something is made is if it breaks or otherwise doesn’t work properly.

        • You’re right. Actually, it doesn’t really matter to me as well. I don’t check where something made, because what I need is just something good, cheap, and cool 🙂

  2. I completely agree with you. In the long term, these misconceptions would be a disadvantage. But their products are representatives of their companies, not their country. So I think that is the dilemma. And it’s the matter of their PR or Marketing strategy. It’d be great if there is a way to correct people’s misconception.
    Anyway, I was surprised there are lots of people who think of Korean companies as Japanese companies.

  3. Sometimes, even I confuse if Samsung is Korean or Japanese. In many aspects, Samsung company culture is similar as Japanese one. Frankly speaking, Samsung wanted to immitate.

    • I’m sorry to reply Justin but I don’t agree with you. I was at a seminary of a very important person of Samsung in May (I can’t say his name because of privacy) and he told that the panels of Sony TVs are made and exported by Samsung.
      So I don’t agree with the fact that Samsung just wants to copy other brands because it is already one of the best.

      • The Seoul Searcher Says:

        Melly, that may be true now, but almost all of the conglomerates imitated Japanese business models in the past.

        Hyundai even made older models of Honda’s cars in the 1980s by simply buying the old plans and changing them only slightly.

      • Melly, that one is true in the past. Samsung Electronic company has estabilshed with Japanese company Sanyo. Samsung has learned and immitated Japanese electronic companies in the past. However, in these day, Samsung is the No 1. in the world. Lots of Japanese companies learn Samsung now.

        • Thank you for the infos 🙂
          Then we can say we are in a new era!
          In Italy there’s a popular expression that the artist and teacher Cimabue told to his student, the great Giotto: “The pupil surpasses his teacher.”
          We always have to learn from someone in order to do better… it’s rude but it’s our survival instinct.

  4. Same thing happens in Mexico, and not only with HUGE companies, also with Culture and even race… whenever they read my posts or talk to me I can find someone saying “look there’s a Chinese guy to talk to him, you like that country, right?” and I have to explain every time that 1st of all I’m interested in KOREAN culture and that Chinese, Japanese and Korean are not the same O_o

    • In Italy it’s the same too but it doesn’t happen with cars. An other brand which its origins is unknown is Pepsi. The majority of people think it’s American. The paradox is that on the bottle there are the colors of Korea in a circle as you can find on the flag.

      • Yup, but as long as I know Pepsi was created 1898 by pharmacist Caleb Davis Bradham in New Bern, North Carolina. And I only remember this because my sister is a publicist and I went to the presentation of her thesis and she mentioned Pepsi hehe.

        • Oh yes, you’re right! hahaha! It’s me the ignorant! LOL
          I thought it was Korean. It’s my error because I didn’t looked very well at its history. Anyway, in this case I made the contrary of most people… I thought it was Korean and not American… haha!

          • but… Why did they choose a symbol so near to the Korean flag?

          • I really don’t know,,,but sounds like a good idea for a Post… I’ll investigate what was first hehe and will post it on my blog 😀

          • The Seoul Searcher Says:

            That Pepsi logo was made in 1950 and I don’t think it was really inspired by the Korean flag. More likely they wanted to use colors that people identify with America (red white and blue) and it’s only a coincidence that there’s a similarity.

            Anyway it’s not until the words “Pepsi” were removed from the logo that people started noticing the difference.

          • Thank you for your explanation SS and Gisela!
            I read some articles about Pepsi and now I perfectly know that it has really nothing to do with Korea 😀 I also discovered some bad economical manœuvres…
            Anyway, there are certain advertisements that make people doubt about the origins of this drink:

      • The Seoul Searcher Says:

        Pepsi is American.

    • The Seoul Searcher Says:

      That’s because Chinese actually means all of Asia for some people.

      • Yup, same thing happens with LAtinAmerica,,,,people tend to call everyone a “Mexican”

        • The Seoul Searcher Says:

          Even in Mexico?

          • No, I meant around the world except for LatinAmerica

          • The Seoul Searcher Says:

            It’s funny, because in the U.S. we say “America” and it means the United States, even though technically, that could describe 2 whole continents. Isn’t it true that Mexico’s full name is “The United States of Mexico”? (Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos)

          • Yup, we are the USM 🙂
            Once I was working on Customer Service for Metro PCS (cellphone company) and I answer the phone call in spanish because my IVR sair ESPAÑOL and the lady starts yelling at me saying “I speak American you know? I am American” so I was like Yea I am american too 😐 and she got mad O.o

          • mmm… what a bad experience 😦
            It’s always a matter of rumors and consuetudes that make people think wrongly (same mistake I made with Pepsi’s origins).
            We should always be interested in learning new things and in opening our minds but the social environment in which we live has a big influence on our thoughts since our childhood. So it becomes difficult to change our point of view…
            Anyway, in Italy we make a big distinction between America (USA) and South America but it’s still wrong because America is the continent and not just the USA…
            What’s the case in Korea?

          • The Seoul Searcher Says:

            In Korea they refer to the USA, as Miguk, therefore no confusion ever occurs unless they are speaking English, in which case America means USA.

            Hey Gisela, I was wondering. Why is USA EEUU in Spanish. Wouldn’t EEUU be Estados Estados Unidos Unidos? Shouldn’t it be EUA? (Estados Unidos de America)

          • When it’s an abbreviation of a word in Plural 2letters of the same are used EstadoS UnidoS (EEUU) like Relaciones Publicas RR.PP (Public Relations) n_n

  5. Samsung is doing a LOT of advertisement to prove their quality compared to few years back lol. Like in Malaysia I used to not see a lot of advertisement done by samsung but 2 years later I saw like samsung ads everywhere lol.. Emm The quality of samsung did increase but, they need to work harder =S My friend wouldn’t touch samsung product after his dvd player broke lol In general they’re doing a great job since a lot of people favor their products which are cheaper than Japanese but better than Chinese lol

  6. I think that Korean large company should promote their nation. This will benefit their whole country. I agree with you

  7. Samsung isn’t Japanese?…

    No, it’s not. It’s Korean! I’m really surprised by this one. There are so many people in the world who are perfectly familiar with large Korean companies, but do not know that they are in fact Korean companies. But we live in a world where people look …

  8. arleumlady Says:

    At the beginning of Samsung and other Korean big companies when Korea just started to enter global market, the misperception of products’ nationality might have acted as a marketing benefit somehow. just my personal opinion 😉

  9. this is very ironic, but both Samsung and LG do not need to hang on the “reputation” of the Japanese companies, because both are very good and very good technology, it might be a bad marketing strategy unfounded, but that is already impacting Korean society.

    would be good to employ a new advertising campaign that can remedy this.
    Leer fonéticamente
    Diccionario – Ver diccionario detallado

  10. Most of the people i met have all known samsung as Korean.. How come?

  11. Кто был в сша?
    Добрый день подскажите кто в этом разбирается. У моей сестры длительное время ужасная депрессия, не может наладить личную жизнь. Последний мужчина ушел и сказал что с ней было слишком хорошо и он хочет приземленности, но не летать в облаках. Возможно это сглаз? Ее состояние меня просто начинает пугать. Она все время хнычет ((( Помогите советом . выйдет ли она замуж и будут ли у нее дети ?

  12. Боюсь ошибиться, нужен Ваш совет Меня стала страшно нервировать благовегная брата. Вкратце – девушке 35 лет, в данный момент дожидается второго ребенка. Работала мало, продавщицей в магазине. Есть у нее диплом ВУЗа какого-то “имени Васи Пупкина”, который никому не нужен. При этом ее мать отписала ей 3-х комнатную квартиру и купила машину. И сейчас эта девушка поучает меня, начитавшись всяких книжек со всякими теориями, как нужно жить. Что деньги – это не главное в жизни, какие все неправильные люди, что рвутся их зарабатывать и т.д. А у меня такая ситуация – по профессии толмач (Мориса Тореза с красным дипломом,) презентабельная внешность, опыт работы неплохой помощником-толмачом, но в данный момент немного посидела дома с не очень большим ребенком (2 года). Поступила в аспирантуру, работаю в понятном вузе и немного толмачом. Так вот, эта мадам (хотя я ее не спрашивала об этом) каждый день мне компостирует мозг, что ребенку нужна мама, и дама обязана выбирать -семья или же карьера, а то выйдет ни там, ни там. При этом у меня нет и никогда не будет халявно свалившейся на меня квартиры, и на ребенка хочу зарабатывать сама (хотя отец ребенка сносно может помочь, у нас с ним нормальные отношения). Вопрос – лучше вообще не общаться с таким человеком, или же все-таки терпеть, раз уж мы родственники?

    Молодежное видео бесплатно.

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