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Samsung chief stress need to strive for change, innovation in 2014

All Headlines 11:00 January 02, 2014

SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee on Thursday stressed the need for change, innovation and competitiveness that cannot be challenged by rivals, as the conglomerate prepares to tackle fresh challenges and exploit new opportunities in 2014.

In a gathering of 1,800 senior executives to mark the start of the new year, the head of South Korea's largest family-owned conglomerate said that as the Samsung companies have successfully made the transition from volume production to quality in the past two decades, they must now seek to upgrade the value and "class" of the products and services they provide to consumers.

The message was delivered via a video that was televised live in Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese to all Samsung companies worldwide.

Lee returned home last week after staying nearly two months overseas. The business group's key unit Samsung Electronics, the world leader in mobile phone market, is in fierce court battles across the globe against Apple over patents and is seeking to find new means of business growth in the saturated market.

Lee pointed out that there were greater opportunities when things were not going well. The conglomerate needs to look further than others and come up with new technologies and enter new markets that call for the convergence of industries and technologies, he said.

"There is a great need build up competitiveness that cannot be copied by rivals," he emphasized.

Lee said that 20 years after the start of the "New Management" strategy announced in Frankfurt, Germany, some affiliates within the conglomerate have become global leaders, while others have stood still and made little progress.

In order for headway to be made, outdated ways of thinking and business models have to be discarded, he said.

"Old strategies, hardware-oriented processes and corporate cultures should be boldly thrown away," the chairman said. To overcome uncertainties and take the initiative, there is a need to make market and technological breakthroughs, he said.

Samsung also needs to complete the setting up of a global management system that can fuel change and innovation, he said.


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