Santa Clara University


Company Specifics

Founded: 1984
Local Division: Yeouidodong HP building, Seoul, South Korea
Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA
Ownership Structure: Subsidiary to Hewlett-Packard Corporate, HP is a global IT company.
Employees: 1,400
Product/Service: Provides technology solutions to companies, consumers, businesses and small and medium-sized business for IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing.
Customers: Consumers, small to large companies.



Joon-Keun (J.K.) Choi, HP Korea President



HP Korea was the only U.S.-based company we visited. Our group looked forward to assessing how the “HP Way” fits into the Korean culture and how HP overcomes the nationalistic loyalty to local brands. The conference room featured an impressive view of much of Seoul. Before the presentation, there was a heart-warming greeting between our Professor Toppel, who was the former HP Korea President, and the current President J.K. Choi. During the presentation, Mr. Choi touched on HP Korea’s strategic plan, factors for growth, and topics such as globalization versus localization.


Key Takeaways

HP Korea’s strategic plan and good citizenship
Mr. Choi’s presentation elaborated on HP Korea’s strategic plan, which includes executing mergers and acquisitions, expanding its business portfolio, enhancing strategic partnerships, and creating synergy between business units. While good citizenship was not listed in the plan, Mr. Choi spoke enthusiastically about the importance of community investment and education as part of HP Korea’s overall vision.


HP Korea is structured and run like an American company and exhibits Corporate’s HP Way philosophy
When Professor Toppel handed the reigns of HP Korea to Korean leadership 15 years ago, the company was run like an American company. We were interested to see whether the Korean business culture would have since then subdued the American way. We found that HP Korea’s leadership promotes the HP Way and continues the American style of doing business. The employees who joined us for lunch affirmed the notion that HP Korea feels like an American company.


Corporate must allow a subsidiary to “localize”
One of HP Korea’s key success factors was HP Corporate providing financial support and allowing HP Korea to localize. HP invested $250 million in 2001 for infrastructure at HP Korea. Mr. Choi touched on the importance of thinking globally, meaning to not assume that what works in the U.S. will work in South Korea, but to allow a division to localize. Localization requires support from Corporate to allow flexibility in rules, empowerment for decision making, promoting good citizenship in Korea, and staffing a management team that understands the local market.


Posted by: S. Tien

The familiar HP logo on the Seoul headquarters building made us forget for a moment that we were on the other side of the world.


We enjoyed the panoramic view of Seoul prior to President Choi's presentation. 


Professor Toppel and President Choi are old friends and former colleagues.


For the full local experience, we ate lunch with HP employees in the corporate cafeteria.
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