Santa Clara University


Company Specifics

Founded: 1968 in South Korea
Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea
Ownership Structure: Poongsan is incorporated in South Korea with a number of domestic and international affiliates. International locations include the United States, Japan, China, the Philippines, and Thailand.
Employees: Over 3,500
Products: Poongsan is a metal manufacturing company with three main divisions: Fabricated Nonferrous Metal Division, Defense Products Division, and Precision Products Division. Its products range from coin blanks and metal tubes to ammunition and semiconductor components.
Customers: Its customers include the Korean government, United States mints, and manufacturing companies in almost every industry.  



Poongsan Special Metal Corp.
Weon Je Hwang, President
Nak Eui Jeong, Quality Assurance Team, Associate Director
Yoon Sung Lim, Senior Management, Operation Support Team
Poongsan Valinox (Titanium & Stainless Steel Tubes)
Chung W. Park, President
Poongsan Corporation
Hae Yeon Shin, Assistant Manager, Planning & Management Division


Poongsan was our first tour, which set a very high standard and provided an excellent introduction to the Korean way of doing business. We toured the Bupyung Mill in Incheon, which concentrates on non-copper products including stainless steel strips and welded titanium tubes. Our visit consisted of an introduction video and presentation, followed by a question and answer session, and then a lunch of traditional Korean cuisine in the company cafeteria. After lunch we toured manufacturing lines for rolled metal sheets and titanium tubes. The openness and generosity of our hosts provided an insightful look into a heavy manufacturing company with a traditional Korean business culture.


Key Takeaways

The strong, traditional Korean culture permeates many aspects of the Poongsan business culture
Culture cannot be fully understood from the classroom and reading alone. Our visit to Poongsan helped convey some of the traditional aspects of doing business in Korea, including loyalty of employees, respect for elders, and gift-giving. Employees commonly stay with Poongsan for their entire career. In fact, several of our hosts fell into this category. The company invests in its workers, and this is reciprocated by the loyalty of its employees. Adherence to other Korean traditions such as respect for elders and individuals with higher rank status was also noticeable throughout our visit. True to the Korean custom of gift-giving, our hosts at Poongsan presented each of us with generous gifts, including a framed picture of our entire group, a collectible 20,000 Won coin (USD ~$20) and a special copy of its annual report.


Poongsan struggles to deal with price competition from China
In a discussion about competition and issues in the industry, price competition from China arose as a definite concern. Interestingly, this is an issue faced not only by Poongsan but also many US and international companies. In response to these challenges, Poongsan relies on its quality initiatives, defect reduction techniques, and fully integrated Enterprise Resource Planning tools.


Like other global manufacturing companies, Poongsan pursues growth by focusing on key industries and profitable products
Poongsan places strong emphasis on developing new and innovative products to stay ahead of the competition. As the semiconductor sector is a key to its future success, the company is focusing on product development in this industry. Poongsan is also making a shift to products with higher profit margins, such as high performance alloys.


Posted by: A. Pipkorn
Our Poongsan hosts addressed us in this corporate boardroom.


We enjoyed a traditional Korean meal in the company dining hall.


Visitors to Poongsan's manufacturing facility must don hardhats and gloves.


Bulk rolls of sheet steel are one of Poongsan's raw materials.
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