Samsung: Plagiarism? Success? Or Both?

Recently, the judicial decision of the patent lawsuit between Samsung and Apple settled down. Samsung Electronics was sentenced to compensate Apple $10.5 billion for its infringement. This verdict made Samsung’s copycat image firmly embedded and got people to question the brand value of Samsung.

But, so what?

James Song, the analyst of KDB Daewoo Securities, said, “The ruling makes us reconsider the brand value of Samsung because it depicts Samsung as a copycat, but a copycat or not, what Samsung has done with its smartphones was a brilliant move. Look what has happened to companies like Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry, which didn’t do as Samsung did, referring to competitors whose failures to adapt quickly to the smartphone boom driven by iPhone have drastically reduced their market shares. Samsung may lack in innovation, but right now, no one can beat Samsung in playing catch-up. “The plagiarism has been held in contempt by designers. Samsung has done it to the extreme, successfully.

And what is behind this?

We know that Samsung started from transistor radio. And now, the range of Samsung’s product covers smartphones, high-definition TVS, memory chips, flat -panel TV and so on. In fact, FPTV and high-end smartphones are innovated in Japan. What Samsung did was to see how the market responds to these two new products and wait for the time to be ripe. Sometimes, it is not a good thing to wait for the right moment. But what Samsung want is never the initiative, which is at high cost. Innovation requires high cost in research and development, and there are tremendous risks afoot. The Samsung strategy is to produce similar products with higher quality, lower cost and faster update, which leave its competitor far away behind. Plenty of cases can be used to support this argument. Thus, we may put it in this way; the secret of Samsung is to plagiarize with high speed, quality and accuracy. But this is only the strategy for Samsung products.

Is there any other external factor that motivates the “copycat” behavior of Samsung?

Firstly, it may be associated with South Korea’s business atmosphere. Korean always acts faster than others. Due to their rapid response mechanism, Korean companies can adapt their products to whatever they need to be. From the design to production, the speed of the entire circle is unparalleled. Other than this, Korean companies prefer to set their own challenges.

Secondly, it is separable from the support from the government. Rapid update speed and response mechanism require a large amount of capital, which has never been a problem for Samsung. Since Samsung is still in its infancy, it gained the support from the government, which ensured the low-interest loans. With a vast cash flow, Samsung’s rapid response has been guaranteed. In addition, Samsung Group also offers Samsung Electronics, which is part of the Samsung Group, great support.

The last but not the least, the industrial train inside the Samsung Electronics backs up Samsung’s success. Besides the end products, Samsung produce the components of the electronic equipment. It is the world’s largest memory chip maker and the second largest semiconductor suppliers. Ironically, Apple, Sony and other competitors of Samsung turn out to be the largest consumer of the chipset, which are widely used in iPad and PlayStation 3. In the meantime, it is difficult for Apple to find a vendor who is able to provide the same quality of chips with same price. And this allows Samsung to hold the initiative in hands during the competition.

All in all, it is hard to say who the winner is and who the loser is. They both own their advantages and disadvantages in the same time. Guess they are just a pair of joy enemy.


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