No more boxy white appliances
AMID the cut-throat competition of the global electronics sector, manufacturers from South Korea are trying to stand out by launching products that not only functional, but also easy on the eye.
Designs that are unique and user-friendly are also a key focus for the electronics makers, who believe that small details would matter to the consumer.
Dongbu Daewoo Electronics, for instance, has rolled out a front-load washing machine that features what the company says is an ergonomic design.
The washer door is placed 11.5cm higher than that of an average front-load washer - it is also inclined slightly backward, around 10 degrees.
This allows users to put laundry into the washer more easily, said Kwon Dae Hoon, a public relations representative at Dongbu Daewoo Electronics.
"The inclined door saves users the trouble of bending down and crouching when putting in laundry in a washer," he explained.
The Classe washer has caught the attention of consumers in Saudi Arabia, China and Iraq, said the nation's third-largest electronics-maker.
The company shipped about 7,000 units of the machine to global markets, in addition to 3,000 in the domestic market.
The automatic detergent dispenser fitted in the washer also eliminates the hassle of adding detergent every time one does laundry, the company said.
Tech giants LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics have also been reinforcing their design capacity as part of efforts to edge ahead of the competition with global household electronics firms, including those from China.
LG Electronics' Twin Wash, which features a sleek design with its dual drums, one on top and the other on bottom, has been boosting the firm's market share in the United States.
The Seoul-based tech giant posted a 26.4 per cent market share there in the first three months this year, up from 24.6 per cent last year - making it the No. 1 company in the front-load washing machine sector in the US.
"The most important thing is not the sales numbers of those products, but the momentum created by the design-oriented premium products to improve the brand value of the company," its chief executive Koo Bon Moo said.
Aiming to top the front-loading washer sector in the US for the 10th straight year, LG plans to roll out premium products in the coming months.
"LG's washer business, which accounts for 35 per cent of the firm's entire revenue, will see its profit margin increase this year thanks to improved presence in the US market," said Kim Dong Won, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.
Joining hands with French furniture designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Samsung released a television last year that looks like the English letter "I" when seen in profile.
The product, which drew attention from both the TV industry and design segment, is designed to complement home furniture.
The I-shaped TV was exhibited at the Milan Furniture Fair trade show in April.
Currently sold at upscale department stores and furniture shops in South Korea and Europe, the product will also be made available at the Museum of Modern Arts in New York City later this year.
Samsung did not reveal the sales figures for the TV, but it is said to have set a sales target of 30,000 units this year.
"Even though the Serif TV is sold at limited places, it is selling fairly well," said Kim Choon Gon, a public relations representative from Samsung.
THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK