Business Interviews


1stopKorea recently sat down with Yang Seung-Woo, the managing partner of Korea Arthur Andersen Group, to discuss his company's views on the 'new economy', Internet business in Korea and the role of his company in both.

1stopKorea: First of all, I would like to find out what your main responsibilities are at Arthur Andersen?

Mr. Yang: I am the managing partner of Arthur Andersen in Korea. We have two separate entities in Korea. One is 'Anjin & Co.', which covers audits and business advisory services and tax and legal consulting. The other is "Arthur Andersen Korea" which covers Business Consulting services and Corporate Finance consulting. I am managing these two entities.

1stopKorea: I read that Arthur Andersen uses the term the 'new economy' to describe this era of doing business. Is this term different from that of the 'Internet economy'? If so could you please elaborate?

Mr Yang: The term, the 'new economy' is quite a broad concept, which can be defined in many different ways. No doubt it is led by the Internet and digital technology, but in Korea, venture businesses are the driving power. However, I believe that's not all. New business, I would dare to define, is the new way of thinking, living and doing business. The 'new way' here covers a very wide spectrum of new ideas, spirits, challenges, behaviors, relationships among people and business and so forth.
Truly, the new economy is the combination of:
- the Internet revolution led by new technology
- the communication revolution
- globalization
- value creation by intangible assets
- changing employee relationships, etc.

1stopKorea: What is the most important factor, in your opinion, for companies, particularly Korean companies, to succeed in this new economy?

Mr Yang: I believe the core of the new economy is 'creativity' of both business and people. Accordingly, the leadership and the organizational culture should be innovated in order to stimulate the maximization of creativity of the organization and the people in it. One thing I would like to add is that speed is very important here. A business, even if very successful in the old economy, may fail in the new era if it does not innovate and transform fast enough to the new way of doing business.

1stopKorea: The Internet era has arrived in Korea with a vengeance. Has the Internet changed the way Arthur Andersen does business?

Mr Yang: Well, if you include the Intranet… that has really changed our business a lot. We have a very strong worldwide Intranet system within the Arthur Andersen organization. It is very hard to tangibly explain the effect of the Internet but I feel it is changing the whole economy and is changing our business too.
For example we recently established nine new offerings (see question below) and one of the main reasons for this was because we wanted to focus on eCommerce and eBusiness. We're finding that many so called brick and mortar companies are taking their companies on-line to ride the 'new wave' and in relation to that we have a very wide range of opportunities to work with them, support them and consult with them.


1stopKorea: Arthur Andersen has developed a framework called 'value dynamics'. Could you tell us a little about this and how it applies to the new economy?

Mr Yang: In the new economy, intangible assets, which had been comparatively undervalued in the traditional economy, are increasingly used to create values. These assets include; brand name, network, customer and supplier relationships, methodology and solutions, knowledge, leadership and employee relationships, etc.
Arthur Andersen developed a framework of new business models for measuring and managing these assets, because they are critical success factors in the new economy. In short, 'value dynamics' is a framework, newly developed by Arthur Andersen, to design, build and manage a business model for success in the new economy, by properly valuing and managing the company's assets, especially intangible assets, that drive values and wealth creation.

1stopKorea: Can you give us an example of a Korean company that Arthur Andersen has helped move into this new economy using the 'value dynamics' framework?

Mr Yang: This is a new concept and accordingly is in the pilot implementation stage. We are going to contact our key clients first to obtain their 'buy-in' on this valuable and challenging framework. Key clients include companies such as POSCO, Hanvit Bank, Hyundai Motors, Samsung Life Insurance, etc.

1stopKorea: Does Arthur Andersen in Korea have a different function from Arthur Andersens of other countries?

Mr Yang: Arthur Andersen Worldwide Organization (AAWO) is uniquely organized into a way we call 'One Firm'. AAWO is a collective body of member firms from 87 countries. It is managed by partners from those member firms. For example, the worldwide chairman (CEO) is elected by those partners. I am one of the voters just like the other partners all over the world and any partner, including myself, can be a worldwide CEO only if he or she gets enough votes. Likewise, Arthur Andersen in Korea does not function any differently from Arthur Andersen of other countries. We share not only training, quality standards and human resources, but we also share our knowledge base, culture, stewardship and one-firm-spirit.

1stopKorea: Arthur Andersen's vision is "to become the partner for success in the new economy - not just a player but a leader". How do you plan on accomplishing this goal?

Mr Yang: It's difficult to answer that in a few short sentences. We have come up with a series of strategies and action plans to implement and realize our 21st century vision, but we are still working to articulate these strategies and plans. Some of the key strategic directions are:
1) We are going to build new capabilities in the eBusiness field, in addition to the global capabilities of existing key service lines.
2) We will help clients to maximize value creation from both tangible and intangible assets, especially intangible assets.
3) We will try to be the 21st century employer of choice. Of course, further cultivation of our effective and powerful global network and human resources is our continuing strategy.

1stopKorea: Arthur Andersen provides nine market offerings to its clients. Which offerings apply most to Korea?

Mr Yang: Our nine market offerings newly introduced this year are a rearrangement of our traditional four service lines - Auditing & Business Advisory, Tax & Legal, Business Consulting and Corporate Finance - plus newly focused service lines. These new offerings represent our emphasized focus and commitment to the new service lines such as eBusiness, risk consulting, outsourcing services, as well as other areas. Nevertheless, it is very clear that we will do our best to maintain our competitive edge in the traditional service areas.
The nine offerings that we provide are:
- Assurance
- Business Consulting
- Corporate Finance
- eBusiness
- Human Capital
- Legal Services
- Outsourcing
- Risk Consulting
- Tax Services


Other Interviews

- Brendon Carr, an American attorney with Korea’s second largest law firm
- Goh Kun, the Mayor of Seoul, Part I, II
- Park Ji-Won, Korea's Minister of Culture and Tourism

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