More than Gangnam Style

Korea - More than Gangnam Style

A YouTube video brought South Korea into focus worldwide. Many of us hold products from this country in our hands. Or use them in the living room. Korean companies are also becoming increasingly important for the automotive industry.

Over three billion clicks on YouTube for “Gangnam Style”. The rapper Psy gave the world a hip picture of South Korea in 2012. Whereby this picture is very realistic. Because South Korea is definitely hip. And no longer a black spot on the world map of the leading industrial nations. There is no getting past the giants of consumer electronics Samsung and LG. Televisions, smartphones, cameras. Over the past five years, the technology leaders have massively expanded their activities to the automotive sector. Displays and battery cells are supplied. “The importance of Korean suppliers will continue to grow in the coming years,” says Wilko Stark, the new Executive Vice President Mercedes-Benz Cars Procurement & Supplier Quality and Member of the Divisional Board. “We are continuing to look for innovative partners, especially in CASE topics.”

The entire Mercedes-Benz portfolio is to be electrified by 2022. In every segment, from smart to SUV, there are various electrified alternatives. A total of significantly more than 130 variants. From 48-volt vehicle electrical systems with EQ boost to plug-in hybrids to purely electric vehicles with batteries or fuel cells. By 2025, sales of battery electric vehicles are expected to rise to 15-25 percent of total sales. As a supplier of battery cells on board: the Korean companies LG Chem and SK innovation.

Innovation Scouts at Korea Electronics Show

And further suppliers from Korea are to be added in the future. Since it is very difficult to find innovative start-ups from a desk in Germany, employees from Mercedes-Benz Cars, Procurement & Supplier Quality (MP) regularly go out and search for them. For example, at the Korea Electronics Show (KES) in Seoul. Here, tomorrow’s technologies are presented that at first glance would not be associated with the automotive industry. Mercedes-Benz Cars, Procurement & Supplier Quality, was represented for the second time at KES in October with its own stand. New suppliers were specifically sought within the scope of supplier discussions. At the same time, innovation scouts were on the road looking for innovations for the next generations of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

If you want to find new innovative partners, you have to be creative. Think “out of the box”. So leave your own enclosure and take a quiet trip to other regions. Break out of the routine. Somewhere the idea is already lurking. The Korea Electronics Show offered many opportunities for this. In addition to start-ups, students from several Korean universities also presented their ideas. Some seem exotic at first glance. But that’s exactly what it is. “Gangnam Style” was originally only meant for the Korean music market. The worldwide success surprised not only the artist Psy.


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Nov 21, 2018
Rasmus Muttscheller