Tuesday, June 24, 2014

L2W - Red Devil Downer, Hangover, & Posco Power

1. National
1) Korea unlikely to advance to next round in Brazil
Korean soccer team got a good start with 1-1 draw against Russia in the World Cup in Brazil, but fell into a deep swamp after a shameful 4-2 defeat against Algeria on Jun 22. Korea can advance to next round only if it wins against mighty Belgium, and Russia wins against Algeria with just one, not two or more, goal lead, which would be no better than anticipating a snowstorm in Death Valley in July. Other three Asian nations in Brazil World Cup, Australia, Japan and Iran, are also facing the same fate as Korea. Koreans are just to be content to be in the World Cup 8 times in a row from 1986 Mexico World Cup, the most in Asia.  
Lee Keun-ho, the one who scored the goal against Russia, is recorded as the lowest paid player in Brazil WC, getting only 1.78 million won (U$1,745) a year, while the Russian goalie who allowed Lee a goal is paid $29.9 million, 17,000 times more than Lee. No joke as Lee is currently serving in the Korean army as a sergeant. 

2) Psy’s new release reaches No.26 on Billboard
Psy’s new single ‘Hangover’ debuted at No.26 on last week’s Billboard Hot 100, making him the first Asian to have three songs in the Top 30. The other two are Gangnam Style and Gentleman. The Hangover, which features Snoop Dogg, is about Korea’s notorious drinking culture, such as boilermaker, karaoke bar and love shot. It has attracted 78 million views on Youtube in just two weeks while Psy’s Gangnam Style has racked up over 2 billion Youtube hits, the record that may not be easy to break for a while. Psy plans to release his next song ‘Daddy’ in August.
I was in Barcelona a couple years ago, drinking lots of Spanish wine with many love shots with my colleagues. Psy would have hired me , not Snoop Dogg, had he seen me in hangover in Barcelona two years ago.

2. Economy
1) Posco ranked as the most influential steel maker
World Steel Dynamics (WSD) selected Posco as the world’s most influential steelmaker of the year, with 7.91 score out of 10 points. Posco has made the No.1 title for the past 5 years. America’s Nucor was the runner up, followed by Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal.  Hyundai Motor’s sister company Hyundai Steel was ranked 9th. The WSD evaluates the world’s 36 steelmakers in 23 categories including productivity, profitability and technology. 
Posco had been the only supplier that asked ‘why?’ instead of ‘how high?” when told to jump by Korean auto makers because Posco had enjoyed a virtual monopoly on steel supply in Korea since its establishment in 1968. Hyundai decided to build its own steel mill in 2004 after buying then bankrupt Hanbo Steel in Dangjin located 30 minutes southwest of Pyeongtaek. That was when Hyundai probably had knee injury from constantly jumping high to please a Tier 4 supplier. 

3. Auto Industry
1) Bosch Korea to invest $60M in 2014
Hermann Kaess, Bosch Korea president, announced it will invest 62 billion won ($60M) this year as it celebrates its 25 years in Korea. Most of the investment will be spent for the manufacturing of engine direct injection products at its Daejon plant “to maintain local efforts and contribute to Korea’s long-term development.”  Mr.Kaess also said the company has high hopes in micromechanical sensors (MEMS), a key technology when it comes to the internet of Things and services. Bosch Korea had consolidated sales of 1.8 trillion won (U$1.7B) in 2013.
Being No.1 or No2. auto supplier in the world, Bosch is very well known to Koreans in auto industry. It is a different story for those outside the auto world. The first comment Psy would make when he hears Bosch would be “Ah, that Anheuser-Busch! This Bud’s For You!” 

2) Hyundai won the glory back
Hyundai Motor came first among 20 brands exclusive of luxury brands in the latest 2014 Initial Quality Survey by JD Power and Associates. This is the third time it ranked top after 2006 and 2009. Hyundai ranked 5th last year. If to include luxury brands, Hyundai was fourth after Porsche, Jaguar and Lexus. Hyundai’s sister Kia also did well, ranking 3rd in a tie with Chevrolet. Launched in 1968, JD Power IQS survey is the most used reference by American consumers, looking at owner-reported problems in the first 0- days of new-vehicle ownership.
June always came as a trauma to Hyundai engineers, including me, in the 90’s as it was the month JD Power’s IQS ranking was released. With low quality level, Hyundai was in a race against Kia, then Hyundai’s competitor, to get out of the bottom, and it was a dream to reach in the middle of the pack. I was responsible for wind noise score for the Sonata produced in Hyundai’s Bromont plant, and I had to bear with lots of whining noise from my Big boss for one full year until the next IQS release. I didn’t say it was you, Mr. SB Lee. 


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