HWM (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

runs deeper than sim­ply be­ing com­pet­ing ti­tles. Back in their home turf, the two Korean di­vi­sions are in­te­gral de­part­ments of their re­spec­tive ri­val chae­bols (wealth clans) that sur­vived the test of time it­self.

Both Sam­sung and LG were orig­i­nally hum­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions that started with busi­nesses un­re­lated to elec­tron­ics. In 1969, Park Chung-hee – the Pres­i­dent of South Korea back then – for­mu­lated an eight-year plan to fos­ter elec­tronic busi­nesses in the coun­try. Park went so far to ban the smug­gling of for­eign ra­dios to keep LG rel­e­vant, who was al­ready in the elec­tron­ics game. How­ever, Sam­sung planned to en­ter the elec­tron­ics mar­ket be­fore the eight-year plan. Both founders met up to dis­cuss Sam­sung’s move into the new busi­ness. It was known that both founders were orig­i­nally close friends, and later re­lated by mar­i­tal ties be­tween their fam­ily mem­bers.

As fate would have it, the dis­cus­sion did not go well – LG found it dis­taste­ful when Sam­sung ex­pressed in­tent to en­croach onto their ter­ri­tory, es­pe­cially when LG did not dab­ble in Sam­sung’s claim to wealth – the sugar re­fin­ery busi­ness – out of re­spect for his in-law. Af­ter the heated talk, the two founders were never close again.

Both chae­bols went on to be mod­ern-world ti­tans. LG re­ported a 116 tril­lion won ($130 bil­lion) rev­enue in 2014, and Sam­sung drew a rev­enue of 334 tril­lion won ($380 bil­lion) – al­most 25 per­cent of South Korea’s GDP – in 2013, ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics pro­vided by the Fair Trade Com­mis­sion. With the bit­ter ri­valry be­tween two Korean eco­nomic pow­er­houses in mind, this places the Sam­sung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 com­par­i­son at higher stakes.

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