Samsung’s 'Smartworld' Challenge

SamsungA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Patricia Breceda, Mandukhai Hansen, Nick Mohin, Ajay Mungara, and Aleksey Vlasov

In May 2010, Ajay Mungara (Thunderbird ’12) was visiting the headquarters of one of the fastest growing companies in the world, Samsung Electronics Corporation (Samsung) in Suwon, South Korea for the first time. As he passed through the high security visitor center, he looked forward to the exciting and challenging opportunity to get to work with the “Jewel[1]” of the Samsung Group. Over the past two years and many more visits, and meetings with Samsung representatives, Ajay has seen Samsungs success to forge full speed ahead, and its brand value rise to #17 on Interbrand’s 100 Best Global Brands of 2011 list.[2]

Ajay knew there’s more to Samsung than its focus on Research and Development, and was curious about knowing more. As coincidence would have it, he came upon a group of fellow Thunderbirds who have also been watching Samsung’s rise, and interested in exploring more in to how Samsung is taking lead in the global smartphone competition. Together they pondered about Samsung’s global strategy, and wanted find out how it was able to displace Apple as the world’s top selling smartphone maker by volume, and how it continued to take market share away from world’s top handset manufacturers such as Nokia and Motorola in most emerging markets. They also wondered about the challenges it could be facing as the collaboration of world’s leading software and mobile handset manufacturers continues, such as mergers of Google-Motorola, Windows-Nokia. Can Samsung sustain its success for the long term? Can it survive the battle for the most valued component, the operating “eco” system in the smartphone?

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