South Korea, the Republic of Samsung

“So sprawling is Samsung’s modern-day empire that some South Koreans say it has become possible to live a Samsung-only life: You can use a Samsung credit card to buy a Samsung TV for the living room of your Samsung-made apartment on which you’ll watch the Samsung-owned pro baseball team,” Chico Harlan reports for The Washington Post.

“Samsung is South Korea’s greatest economic success, and, more recently, the subject of major controversy,” Harlan reports. “Economists, owners of small- and medium-size businesses, and some politicians say Samsung no longer merely powers the country but overpowers it, wielding influence that nearly matches that of the government.”

Harlan reports, “Debate over how to curb the size and power of Samsung and other family-run conglomerates has become the key issue in South Korea’s Dec. 19 presidential election, with polls showing that about three in four voters say they feel negatively about the country’s few behemoth businesses. Candidates are sparring over how far to go to constrain them.”

“Samsung draws the greatest scrutiny because it is by far the largest chaebol — the Korean term for corporate groups that were jump-started with government support — and because it is wildly prosperous as the rest of the economy slows down. The conglomerate contributes roughly a fifth of South Korea’s gross domestic product. Some Koreans call the country ‘The Republic of Samsung,'” Harlan reports. “‘You can even say the Samsung chairman is more powerful than the South Korean president,’ said Woo Suk-hoon, host of a popular economics podcast. ‘Korean people have come to think of Samsung as invincible and above the law.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We haven’t tagged it Samsungorea for nothing.

Samsungorea. It sounds like a disease because it is.MacDailyNews, September 11, 2012

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “silverhawk1” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Despite frigid temps, Apple’s iPhone 5 launches to enthusiastic reception in South Korea – December 7, 2012
Welcome to South Korea, the ‘Republic of Forgery’ – September 11, 2012


  1. Get over it. They done bad and will and deserve to pay for it. Stop playing the same old hate tune for Samscum like some old lady who isn’t worth listening to and move on.
    It is like seeing some over emotional teenage girl ranting because they can’t get their own way – even though Apple have.

    Grow up.

  2. Whether this article is true or embellished, after reading it it’s much easier to understand why this company would make some of the decisions it has made with respect to stealing other’s ideas.

    When you feel like you are above the law, your respect for it naturally wanes. That so many jurisdictions around the world are content to weaken the teeth of their laws to favor copycat hardware and software will have the same effect.

    Apple needs to defend its IP. However, given all that has occurred and what has been allowed to, Apple’s safest bet on the future is going to be simply to keep inventing it, profit for as long as it can on an idea, and then move on to the next thing.

    Because people don’t seem to care who earned a product, only that they can buy one and get one free.

  3. Living in Seoul for years and seeing the power of Samsung, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the company used its financial branches to undermine Apple in the stock market. The level of nasty press on Apple in the vernacular media after the court decision last summer and reaching a crescendo last week was amazing and IMO clearly orchestrated. A reporter of the integrity and talent of MattvTaibbi is needed to get to the bottom of the global network of corrupt press influence. But the thing is, in general South Korea is a fascinating place. The people here deserve better.

  4. Samsung operates its businesses by different rules that other companies can only dream of. When it competes, it uses Mafia monopoly power to muzzle others into submission. It has connection with the top power elite in South Korea and where it met with resistance or a wall it just smashes itself through with threats and bribes. So in the US, the rhetoric of competition is no barrier to Samsung. The power of lobbying is a blessing to Samsung in the US because it is legalized corruption and Samsung does fatten a lot of politicians’ pockets. No wonder no US companies, with their hands and legs tried with self-inflicting rules of competition, can ever challenge Samsung in sleaziness. Samsung just buys “loyalty” from the lowly cab-drivers right to the elites up at the top of the power pyramid in the US. And the most stupid entity to allow the Trojan horse (Samsung) in to create havoc to US companies is Googledoom. Instead of it profiting from Android, its copycat iOS, Samsung is eating its and other Android paupers’ lunches. Just remember: Samsung plays by different rules.

  5. Just a few years ago in 1975, there was a movie by the name of Rollerball. In the film, the world of 2018 is a global corporate state, containing I believe about 5 corporate entities that overtook the governments and ran the world. I guess if there is a remake, Apple will be the top dog on the planet. Governments and dictators should revisit that movie. Sometimes SyFy becomes a part of reality!

    1. The US foreign policy for the past decades was to close one eyes to the infractions of trade rules by companies in “friendly” countries so as to get concessions and to appease these countries. That’s why the US is willing to foot a big defense bill to its long-term economic detriment in order to protect these countries and to tolerate the nonsense of dictators against the principles of democracy it was trying to propagate.

  6. Shop at a Samsung-Tesco bigbox store for all of your daily needs. Buy Samsung car insurance to cover your Renault-Samsung car, which you can also fix at the Samsung car repair shop (They don’t have dealer car repair shops in Korea). Go out for the night in that Samsung car and look stylish in your Samsung fashion brand clothing. Put your friends and family who visit up in the Samsung owned hotels.

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