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[KOREA REPORT] Lee Hong Goo of Hancom

김기호 기자 입력 : 2012-08-12 20:58수정 : 2012-08-12 20:58

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■ The Leaders : Lee Hong Goo of Hancom


[ KOREA REPORT 는 대한민국 첫번째 글로벌 미디어 채널 SBS CNBC가 한국의 최첨단 기술 소개, 최고의 리더 인터뷰 등 역동적인 대한민국의 참모습을 세계 경제를 움직이는 최고의 경제 채널 CNBC의 글로벌 네트워크를 통해 전달하는 프로그램입니다. ]

 
■ Interview

-Mr. Lee, thank you very much for joining us today.

▶Very nice and I appreciate your coming to our company.

-I want to start off with a brief update on your business. Last year, I understand your company posted record earnings. And I want to congratulate you on that. What was the secret behind the success?

▶For more than 20 years, Hancom focused on office business. The office business has some limitations for future growth. But last year we started mobile office and  cloud office. The brand is "ThinkFree." So ThinkFree mobile, ThinkFree Cloud has been the you know, more than 100 percent growth, top of the office performance. The combination of the office and ThinkFree mobile, it gave us record-breaking result. I'm so happy.

-I see. We'll talk about that ThinkFree later on in the program. But first, I'm very curious about what keeps Hancom ahead of Microsoft in this particular market. I mean, Microsoft is struggling in this country because of your company. What are your thoughts on that?

▶When we started this business, we gave very free opportunity to use our Hangeul office at the consumer side first. And then, later on, we deployed our solutions to the government and education market. At that time, Microsoft didn't have any right solution for the Korean market.

-So Microsoft was not free then and is still not free?

▶Not free. And because they, actually they don't have any strong competitor globally. Korea is a very exceptional case. So they have no right strategy to compete against local competitors just like Hancom in Korea. So they have a lot of zig zag strategies for the Korean market. A lot of our functions are very well fit into Korean requirements. But Microsoft doesn't have any country-level customization plan at all.

-I see. Now, getting into product details, I think we should talk about your latest ThinkFree software. What makes it different?

▶Our traditional office business is based on Microsoft's Window operating system.

-It's compatible.

▶Yes. compatible. But a lot of smart phones and tablets have been introduced in the market and our customers have shown enthusiasm for these kind of new devices. But think about it. Operating systems for these devices are not Window basis. Android, iOS, those kinds of OS have been diversified. In the past, only Window. Today, diversification is everywhere on every device. So we made products not only for Window but for the Android basis and iOS basis. So ThinkFree is going to be one of our future growth engines for us.

-Obviously, ThinkFree is targeting overseas markets, not just the domestic market. Do you think it has an edge to compete with Microsoft, going forward?

▶I think Microsoft, when we think about Microsoft's global business, they are focusing on existing customers and existing products because they do not want cannibalization between their current product and new product. But Hancom's viewpoint is that all global business is new to us, nothing to lose is our strong point.

-You took office in 2010. And before that, Hancom had its ups and downs, replacing 8 CEOs. Now the general view is that your company has stabilized both in terms of management and earnings. Do you agree?

▶I agree. It's true. In the last 10 years, 8 CEOs are changed and major shareholder changed more than 5 times. So all our employees were not stable and our customers worried about the future of Hancom. So I think that kind of unstable environment gave a serious impact on our business for the last 10 years. But when I was named the CEO of Hancom back in 2010, I think everything went well. Management was stabilized. And we established, for future growth, how to grow in Korea, how to grow globally. So all these kinds of vision statement gave confidence to our employees and customers.

-What's your biggest challenge right now?

▶Right now, the number one challenge for us is the global business because Hancom is a very well known company in Korea but outside Korea, it's a quite new company to the customers. So my first obstacle in order to become a global software company brand and sales infrastructure.

-An interesting part in your business is that you acquired a local digital image editing software called EZ Photo. Does this signal the start of your next step in business expansion?

▶That's true. Portal image software will give us another opportunity to grow in a new segment of software but it will also give us some opportunity to reimpose our existing solutions. Hancom office will adopt some photo image functions to compete against our competitors.

-Another interesting part of your business is the e-Book and application business. Just last year, you came up with animation apps. How did that business go?

▶Nobody thought about this kind of social networking will become so strong. It's so passionate today. I thought content will become the key element of software industry because customers want it. So we started the content business last year, 2011. I believe within 3 years our content business will be tripled up.

-What do you think is the most urgent issue in order to reach that goal?

▶I think how to acquire content because good digital content requires original content. So how to establish relationship with original content owners. And how to convert that content to digital. That is the key elements to make a success story for us.

-Is that why you're supporting young venture start-ups? I mean, in order to get good contents you need have a good relationship with them, like you said. And I understand you're supporting young venture start-ups. Is that why?

▶That is one the reasons. A good young software startup companies will give us  co-relationships. And also, in order to be a strong software company we need a lot of engineers, programmers and visionary people. I would like to give them some vision and build infrastructure for them.

-And finally, Mr. Lee, what's your next step?

▶The next step is Hancom, as I mentioned, global software company. Hancom brand will be a hub of software. So not only office productivity software but also some legacy areas and a lot of operating system areas. So a lot of startup software companies will work together with us and make a solution together meaning Hancom is going to be the software hub in Korea. That is my next step.

-All right, Mr. Lee, good luck on your business. And thank you very much.

▶Okay, thank you, It's my pleasure. Thank you.


(www.SBSCNBC.co.kr)
(For more detail, please watch the contents)        
       

입력 : 2012-08-12 20:58 ㅣ 수정 : 2012-08-12 20:58

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