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Squeeze through a gap in the rivals
Son Jin-sang reporter  |  zedushi@hanmail.net
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승인 2007.08.30  16:27:31
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

   

In a soccer game, a player who possesses the ball sometimes gets sandwiched between opponent players. Pressures which are applied by two opponent players make a ball possessor throw into confusion. As a result, opponent players can steal a ball from the possessor.

A similar case can occur between nations. They struggle for supremacy, which has an effect on national interests. Some countries are catching up with leading countries, and some countries are evading their pursuer. Under these circumstances, Korea is sandwiched between Japan and China . This phenomenon can also be called a Nut Cracker. A nut cracker is a tool which presses a walnuts shell from both sides. This word was formed right before the IMF (International Monetary Fund) economic crisis in 1997 occurred. In those days, this word was used as a sarcastic comment that Korea could not overcome that crisis. Later, Nut Cracker was used widely to express a circumstance that Korea is chased by developing countries, and is also catching up with developed countries. Between Chinas price competitiveness and Japans technical expertise, Korea has continued to survive by fighting hard.

 Ono Hisashi, Chief of the Nomura Research Institute Office in Seoul, said the diagnosis and solution regarding Koreas sandwich economy includes four big sandwich problems that Korea must confront.

1. Technical barrier sandwich- Cant follow the superior corporations technical expertise and be chased by Inferior Corporations price competitiveness.

2. Profit barrier sandwich - Though high market share is maintained, profits are decreased because of market price reduction.

3. High technology industry sandwich- Lack of accumulated intellectual property and brand power make Korea hard to escape from a subcontract system.

4. Market domination sandwich-Unless Korea invests heavily to pursue economies of scale Korea cant maintain competitiveness any more. The steel industry of Korea is already sandwiched between the United States-EU and China-India.

A Venezuelan futurologist Jose Cordeiro said that world economy is moving to Northeast Asia. He said that Korea is not sandwiched between Japan and China because Korea will naturally belong to a flow of world economy. In other words, Korea will play a pivotal role among Northeast Asia countries. And he additionally said that Korea is afraid of reforming to a new economic order.

Can Korea revive from the anxiety in this competitive circumstance? According to the trade industry statistics in the first half of this year, the trading in red figures between Korea and Japan increased and that the black figures between Korea and China decreased. Japan and China are nations which are ranked higher than fifth in the world in trade. During the process of becoming a pivotal role in Northeast Asia, Korea is sandwiched between Japan and China. We need some appropriate measures to survive.

 Jung Ku-hyun, head of Samsung Economic Research Institute, said that the speed which China narrows the development gap with Korea is faster than that which Korea narrows the gap with Japan . He said the sandwich phenomenon is a chance that can be fully used. Namely, Korea should concentrate on developing a high value business. However, he admitted that there are some impassable gaps between Korea and Japan, because of relatively vast investment for researching and national development that Japan supports.  

In the same manner, some people say that we need to understand Koreas position in this international situation. It simply means that Korea should be superior to Japan regarding price competitiveness and to China with technical expertise. This opinion is called reverse nutcracker.

Then what kind of practicable solution will be needed? Korea should focus on high class quality products, and should produce highly diversified products. H motors will sell a car whose code name is BH. This car is a luxury sedan which will compete against foreign luxury sedans. And D air is planning to decorate its new airplane gorgeously. This company will decorate its new airplane which is equivalent to six star hotels because the company wants to make a difference between lower priced airways. A new and the biggest airplane of the world will be imported in 2010.

 And next, export items need to be diverse. If restaurant has a lot of hot menus, customers will continually visit that restaurant. However unlike this assumption, in Korea, there are not an abundance of menus to export. The best ten export goods account for more than fifty percent from all the export goods. In addition, since 2002, that proportion has increased every year. This phenomenon causes a decrease in profit from the best nations which generate enormous trade surpluses and increases losses from the nation causing large trade deficits. According to Korea International Trade Association, Koreas top fifty export goods are overlapped with products of Japan for 47.4 percent and those of China for 38.8 percent last year. It means that these three countries products are quite similar. This overlap will be continued, because these three countries future growth industries are almost the same. Among ten industries that Korea promotes in the future, nine industries are overlapped with two nations. Hence, as stated beforehand, we should consider novel growth powers, which are differentiate from both sandwich nations.

There is an old saying that When ones home is harmonious, all goes well. From this point of view, it is recognized that not only anxiety and solutions about sandwich problems are important, but also a strong bond among Korean business men is significant. This bond will help Korea escape from the sandwich phenomenon. To strengthen relations, the World Korean Business Convention needs to be continuously held. The purpose of the convention is to establish a global network for a win-win exchange. Based on this network, Korea can increase its competitiveness. Last year was the fifth convention, and twenty-five hundred business people from inside and outside of the country gathered. They shared experiences that were gained from abroad and shared personal networks. During the convention, there was a discussion point that a network among Korean business men is really needed in order to face the sandwich circumstance. It was noticed that China and Indias rapid growth was in part due to their citizens who reside abroad, and who play an important role. This year the convention will be held October 31st to November 2nd.

As previously stated, there is an opinion that Nutcracker phenomenon is not real. However, we should prepare an umbrella even when the rainfall probability is not one hundred percent, just in case. Even though this opinion is partially true, Korea should be ready for the future and keep watch on some countries.  

What can a sandwiched soccer player do to escape from becoming the mark? Tough it out? Actually, toughing it out does not have much of an influence on the game. Then how about passing a ball to the fellow player? This may be a good idea. However, unfortunately, there are no fellow nations who are willing to receive our pass. Then what will be the solution? The only answer is to break or make a mark by creative play. Like a trendsetter who settles a new vogue, Korea must have a leading field in the global economy. 

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