October 15, 1998 in Social Responsibility News

The New SAMSUNG Web Site Goes "Portal"

SEOUL, Korea - October 15, 1998 - Samsung affiliated companies announced today that they have opened a new era of corporate Web sites by launching a "portal" home page at http://www.samsung.com/. The new Web site offers vast amount of information on Samsung and an easy access to numerous, separate home pages of Samsung affiliated companies. Unlike Samsung's previous Web site, which offered primarily corporate information, the new site focuses on the marketing potential of the Internet.
Since early 1998, one of the most commonly heard buzzwords in the World Wide Web (WWW) has been "portal." The term "portal" refers to a Web site or service that offers a broad array of resources and services, such as free e-mail, forums, chatting, search engines, and on-line shopping malls. The first Web portals were on-line services that provided access to the Web, but by now most of the traditional search engines, such as Yahoo and Excite, have transformed themselves into Web portals to attract and keep a larger audience.

A portal Web design was a logical choice for the Samsung home page as there are 36 Samsung affiliated companies and institutions in Korea, in addition to 390 subsidiaries and facilities in 63 different countries worldwide. Most of the Samsung affiliated companies and even some of their overseas subsidiaries have their own independent Web sites that are now conveniently linked together through the www.samsung.com site.

Previously people had to click on average 6 to 7 times to retrieve desired product specifications or other information through the Samsung Web site. However, the new portal site enables information to be searched and retrieved with only three clicks from any of the Samsung Web servers located around the world. Browsing has also been made easy by categorizing all information under such groups as companies, products & services, customer support, entertainment, on-line trade etc.

The new Samsung Web site is also an indispensable source for hundreds of free downloads, such as screensavers, wallpapers, icons and themes. The site also hosts the official Web site of Se Ri Pak, a LPGA rookie that is taking the world of golf by storm, and offers links to Samsung's dedicated sports site that provides information about exciting sporting events around the world, including the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games and the 2000 Sydney Olympic Summer Games.

Previous Samsung Web sites have won numerous awards for design, contents and user-friendliness from such well-known institutions as Dow Jones, Hi-Five, NetGuide and Webmaster Club. The www.samsung.com site records an average of 700,000 hits per day and is estimated to be daily visited by more than 100,000 people from all corners of the world.

Independently managed Samsung companies with some 267,000 employees worldwide, share the same management philosophy, code of conduct, brand and corporate identity. Main business sectors of these highly diversified companies include electronics, machinery, automotive and chemicals as well as financial services. In 1997, the combined net sales of all Samsung companies was recorded to be US$ 96.1 billion.


Q: Do you think that Portal Web design is suitable also for such a "non-commercial" application as a corporate home page A: Of course. In any case, a corporate Web site should also be designed to be as user-friendly as possible. A commercial portal site simply views every new visitor as increased advertising revenue, whereas we see that every person visiting our site is a potential new customer (Before Service) or a returning customer (After Service). Particularly, there are 36 independently managed Samsung affiliated companies and institutions in Korea, as well as 390 subsidiaries and facilities in 63 countries abroad. These companies offer in all over 30,000 different products or services. Moreover, many of the Samsung companies and even some of their overseas subsidiaries have their own Web sites, and the list keeps growing all the time. As a matter of fact, consolidating all those Web sites together wouldn't be either conceivable or effective. In this kind of situation, the best solution is to design a portal web site that simply functions as a gate to all other sites. The first priority of a corporate Web site is to offer the best possible service for all users, whereas a commercial portal site is designed to make as much money as possible. Q: What are the benefits of such a site for a company A: Well, corporate sites are not created to make instant money. As a public organization, we have an obligation to provide the easiest and fastest possible access to our information sources for anyone who might interested in Samsung. I see Web site as an excellent tool to do this. Our intention is to provide valuable contents about Samsung for websurfers, not just to show off nice big graphics that take time to download and can be frustrating for people with slow connections. But there is a limit on how much information you can display in a single Web page. What information is relevant for a user is not what a company can decide. Rather, each user has his/her individual needs that are best met with a Web site utilizing a portal design. Portal Web site satisfies the needs of both users and the company, extending a "win-win" situation for both parties. Q: Samsung isn't necessarily seen to be a leading company when it comes to the Internet. What kind of image would you like to create through the Internet and what is your target A: So far, the development of Internet has focused on English speaking countries. Until recently, there hasn't been so much interest in the Internet in Korea, Japan and other non-English speaking countries within Asia. More precisely said, our local government institutions have been quite slow and indifferent when it comes to the Internet - not individuals or companies. In the Internet contents and technology area, Korea and Japan are not so backward as people might think. It's just that people in English speaking countries have not had a chance to see what exists in certain Asian countries due to the language barrier. This has also been the case with Samsung. There haven't been any winners in the Internet yet. The game is not yet over… Samsung regards Internet as an extremely important business tool. Samsung's corporate philosophy can be summarized in three words: technology, design and people. For the past 20 years we have made substantial investments into these three areas, and in future we will be much more aggressive in the areas of electronic commerce and standardization of new Internet technologies. Our aim is to arise as a powerful force in the Internet business by early 2000. Q: How Samsung is preparing for its coming Internet Business and E-commerce A: We are prepared to go with the stream of the times. It is no exaggeration to say that everything depends on how fast and well a company can prepare for the booming Internet Business and E-commerce. We will be certainly left out of the game, unless we can swiftly link all basic management processes with the Internet, starting from product development, sales and distribution to decision making and other internal operations. We are currently active in many areas. MPEG4 that is expected to be adopted as the next-generation digital audio format, is exclusive Samsung technology. We are also assuming the leadership in the hardware area with such state-of-the-art products as digital TV, Web Video Phone and Alpha CPU. In addition to advanced hardware, we have substantial software and contents know-how, meaning that the timing of our all-out entry into the e-commerce business is not too far away.

Mr. Kwang-Yeol Jeong
Samsung Internet Team
Seoul, Korea

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