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The way to true venture is technology

Posted: 30 Sep 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:manager? management? entrepreneur? career? server?

Youn: With technical developments and fair competition as well as an advanced networking system, we can easily enter the overseas market.

Compared to other managers in the technology sector, Hwa Jin Youn, president and CEO of Korean startup Sanview Technology Inc. may seem to find it difficult to adjust because he is not an engineer. As such, he would have to study harder to learn and understand technology terms just to cope with the demands of the business. However, he has a big advantage over other Korean managers: he speaks fluent English and eats marketing and economics for snacks. This is where Youn's strengths lie.

As chief of a promising venture company, Youn holds a prolific background in economics and had professional stints as chief economist at Asian Development Bank and as expert advisor at the International Bank for Reconstruction Development prior to joining Sanview. Before settling in Korea, Youn lived in many countries, including the U.S. for almost 30 years. That gave him the edge in communication skills and later on helped Sanview enter the international market.

Youn believes that language is one obstacle in dealing with businesses in Asia, especially if a company tries to establish agreements with foreign governments. Being a good communicator, Youn helped his company ink a memorandum of understanding in China and paved the way for Sanview's participation in the Asian market.

Sanview is based in Do-gok Dong, Seoul, South Korea. In July 2000, Sanview successfully developed video-streaming technology, which was recognized by industry experts, including Jung Geuk Pyo, Youn's former classmate at Yale University.

But just like any other startup company, Sanview had to go through difficult times before establishing its position in the market. When Sanview's partner in the U.S. closed its office, Youn felt that building a venture company wasn't a brilliant idea after all. Problems such as limited funds and new technology acceptance were factors that led to Sanview's early jitters.

After a few months, Sanview's perseverance finally paid off with the successful development of high-definition, low bandwidth H.264 streaming technology.

Serverless streaming

This breakthrough came with a product based on a "serverless streaming" method and SAN technology. The productsSanstream 300/400, S2Mcoder, streaming server devices and live encoderallow the transmission of documents on the terminal without passing through any server.

"Server cost is high, so this can help," Youn said.

Japanese and Chinese companies became interested with Sanview's offerings. Youn said that one Japanese company couldn't even believe it at first, but adopted the technology after testing it. Sanview also plans to make a major move in China, an area in which the broadband market is continuously growing.

Ironically, the enthusiasm of foreign companies over Sanview's products is the opposite in the local market. Korean companies are seemingly "not interested" in them. Overheated competition with other similar venture companies and the monopoly of big foreign companies may be the reason for the dismal acceptance.

"The government should support and draft a national policy to protect domestic technology. Most of the venture companies lack the chance to compete with others because of limited funds and, thus, fair access to superior technology," Youn emphasized. "With technical developments and fair competition as well as an advanced networking system, we can easily enter the overseas market."

Management philosophy

Youn summarizes his management philosophy in two points. First is that "a technology company should boast of technology." The second is that "technology is same as art." Both art and technology leave lasting impression on people. In this view, they are not different.

His management philosophy complements his sense of nationalism and love for art as reflected on the drawing of the Yangjae River placed beside the window of his office.

However, Youn admits that Sanview still has a long way to reach the pinnacle of success.

"We plan to further focus on live casts based on the Internet. Currently, we are developing an STB based on the Internet Protocol as we see this market getting bigger," Youn said. "Our S2Mcoder can be used in TVs and cameras. For example, it can be embedded in a robot and make it broadcast real-time war scenes," he added.

Currently, Youn is busy developing markets in Japan and China. He also plans to penetrate the United States and South America.

"To make it to the global scene, people with international skills should go beyond their comfort zones. It's essential to have a progressive and open mind rather than a stiff mind like of a frog in a well," Youn said.

- Sung Un-Young

Electronic Engineering Times-Korea

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