EDITORIAL: Jeul Tak Dong Gi 즐탁동기(啐啄同機)

In December 2014 the Swedish furniture company IKEA opened its first store near the KTX Gwangmyeong Station in the province of Gyeonggi. IKEA is a global company that offers affordable products with simple designs to its customers worldwide. IKEA is a giant in the furniture industry with annual sales of more than 40 trillion won. In addition to furniture, they also have nearly 9,500 kinds of appliances and home accessories. They sell ready-to-assemble furniture, allowing customers to assemble furniture on their own, making their products more affordable. With this competitive edge they strategically targeted the Korean market, bringing about changes in the furniture industry. In 2010 after hearing word of opening, Hansaem, a Korean rival furniture company, began building its national networks such as expanding contractors. They were paving the road to seize the “furniture services market”. Now Hansaem is not merely a furniture company, but a company that sells space as a total space solutions company.

Mos Burger, a fast-food restaurant chain that originated in Japan, is considered to be one of the most attractive companies in Japan. Mos Burger is not even intimidated by McDonald’s, which is the largest fast-food restaurant chain in the world. Mos Burger’s success is evident in their consumer survey results and sales. According to the Nihon Geizai Newspaper, Mos Burger came in number 1 for the most preferred brand two years in a row in 2013 and 2014. Moreover, sales of Mos Burger continue to grow despite the health concerns of fast-food. The strategy of Mos Burger is to provide customers with value, not price, by offering customized services to its customers. This is how a small company like Mos Burger is trying to win against McDonald’s.

The Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche, the maker of Tamiflu, earned sales of over $3.3 billion (about 3.67 trillion won) in the year 2009 alone when the H1N1 influenza spread worldwide. However, another company actually took a portion of the enormous revenues. It was Gilead Sciences, an American bio-tech company which has a patent on a substance contained in Tamiflu. Thanks to innovation in product development and creative thinking, Gilead is often referred to as “Apple of the pharmaceutical industry”. They have a clear philosophy of selling science, not products. Even Wall Street has praised Gilead’s business philosophy of generating results by focusing on what they are good at.

“Jeul Tak Dong Gi” is an old adage that has become a trend these days arising from politics and the economic world as well as all walks of life. The word “Jeul” is the chick pecking at its egg shell once it has fully developed. “Tak” is the mother hen helping the chick come out of its shell by also pecking at the shell after hearing the pecking noises. Therefore, “Dong Gi” is the same time the chick and mother hen are pecking at the shell helping the chick come out of its shell — that is, the cooperation and harmony between the two enabled the chick to break free from its shell allowing it to take its first breath in the world.

Although it is still chilly in the mornings and evenings, a new semester has begun filling the once quiet campus with students’ energy and excitement. To start off the semester, we should set goals for ourselves. We need to make a detailed plan and work hard to achieve those goals. Once you have signaled the “Jeul”, the next step is to put the “Tak” into place, and then finally you will have reached “Dong Gi” – the final step of the whole process. Keep this in mind – we can be the next Hansaem, Mos Burger, or Gilead.

Translated by Julia Kim

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