KOTRA Express talks to James R. Nottingham, Representative Director of HP Printing Korea, to hear more about Korea’s printing industry and his experience doing business here.
HP has been a pioneer in printing for more than 30 years. The company invented thermal inkjet printing and developed the first desktop laser printers. Now, it’s reinventing printing for the 21st century. With the industry’s most complete portfolio of innovative solutions for home, office and commercial use, HP continues to introduce printing capabilities and innovations that are driving the industry forward. HP maintained its leading position in the printer segment with a market share of close to 45 percent in Q3 2018 (as per IDC). Printing sits at the heart of HP’s business, contributing 70 percent of its gross operating profit.
After its acquisition of Samsung’s print business (S-Printing) in November 2017, HP established HP Printing Korea (HPPK), the strategic hub of HP’s A3 global business and a key pillar of its office printing solutions (OPS) business. It contributes to HP as its A3 Center of Excellence (COE) with a focus on research and development, driving global innovation in its A3 business.
James R. Nottingham is Representative Director (RD) of HPPK. As RD, James is responsible for all HPPK operations, for continuing its growth as a world leader in print products and print-related R&D, and for driving its improvement in product quality, innovation and customer experience.
James joined HP’s Boise Printer Division in 1992 after attaining BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering. Early in his career at HP, James worked as an R&D engineer and architect. In 1997 he briefly left HP to join a startup company, In System Design, serving in multiple capacities. He returned to HP in 2000, and before his current role, James was general manager of the Value LaserJet Business, Director and then VP of R&D for LaserJet development, and Global Head of HP’s OPS Development & Technology Business, responsible for all HP LaserJet product and technology development and for quality and product reliability.
KOTRA Express sat down with James to hear more about Korea’s printing industry and his experience doing business here.
What made HP establish a printing R&D center in Korea? What are the advantages of doing business here?
HP is the world’s leading printing and personal systems technology company, and it sees Korea as a crucial part of our future. Our investment in Korea is a clear demonstration of this commitment. HP Printing Korea brings a valuable portfolio of products and solutions and expertise in the form of the HPPK workforce, along with expertise in laser printer technology, imaging electronics, mobile-first and cloud-first user experience, as well as printer supplies and accessories to support future print opportunities.
Korea has a great business ecosystem and infrastructure; it’s not only a great place to do business, but we also have access to a talented workforce, including crucial R&D talent.
Korea leads in innovation, which explains why foreign direct investment (FDI) here reached a record high in 2018. This is exactly why HP has invested in Korea and why we’ve made HPPK the global hub for our worldwide A3 printing business.
What are some of the main areas or characteristics of Korea’s printing industry that HP Printing Korea focuses on?
The importance Korea places on innovation falls in line with HP’s vision to create technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. Through continuous innovation on our product and service portfolio of personal systems, printers and 3D printing solutions, we will continue to engineer experiences that amaze our customers.
Here at HPPK, 70 percent of our employees are engineers who focus on R&D, and the work that the R&D team does results in technology and innovations in our A3 portfolio across the world, which further enables us to grow market leadership in office printing.
Can you tell us about some of the R&D activities that HPPK is conducting in Korea?
Apart from ongoing work in our A3 portfolio, our R&D team was heavily involved in the development of HP Neverstop, the world’s first Toner Tank, or Continuous Toner Supply System (CTSS). HP Neverstop provides faster print speeds compared to previous generations and up to an 80 percent cost savings on HP toner with a toner that can be reloaded in 15 seconds, allowing entrepreneurs to get back to their businesses quickly. This was developed primarily for the emerging markets outside of Korea – China, India, and SE Asia in particular.
Many foreign companies are increasing their scale of investment in Korea. How much is HPPK investing into R&D? Can you share specific numbers?
HP has shown its commitment to Korea by investing USD 1 billion for the acquisition of what is now HPPK. We’re also planning to move to Pangyo by September this year, once again showing our commitment to the market. We’ll be taking on a new building as part of this commitment, and by 2021, HPPK will host a state-of-the-art R&D facility and create more jobs for local young talent.
Were there any challenges your firm faced while doing business in Korea?
Naturally, every company has its own unique characteristics and culture. Following the acquisition, the process of integrating two different organizations has been a very exciting challenge for us. We believe a better HP has been created thanks to the synergistic effect that came from combining the strengths and cultures of two corporations.
Since HPPK’s foundation in November 2017, we’ve also been focusing on creating synergy through the mutual penetration of global and local cultures. As a relatively new organization, we practice two-way communication with our employees – hosting all-employee meetings regularly and listening to their opinions to get input on major decisions. Employees benefit from what HP offers, including working at overseas offices, welfare, educational opportunities and more.
How can Korea become a more ideal business environment for foreign companies like HPPK?
I think many of the agendas of the Korean government, such as fostering FDI, are very well aligned with HP, particularly around talent development, diversity, inclusion and sustainability.
Korea also gives us access to so many business opportunities thanks to its top notch innovation. The country’s business environment is making it increasingly easier for companies to invest, grow and actually even set up shop here.
What Korean companies/government agencies do you work with to strengthen your business partnerships?
I believe partnerships are critical to our success. We’re working closely with both the Korean government and various organizations in Gyeonggi Province. KOTRA, in particular, is an extremely important and valuable partner to us as it offers comprehensive services for business investments in Korea.
As part of community engagement, we also work with a variety of small local businesses, support the e-sports industry with gaming hardware and accessories, participate in industry-university collaboration, run education programs for community, and participate in sustainability programs.
What are some future plans that HPPK has when it comes to doing business in Korea and in Asia?
Currently, we’re focusing the majority of our energy toward developing the A3 OPS business, which is HP’s largest growth opportunity in business printing as of now. HP is the leader in A4 printing but has been under-represented in the adjacent A3 copier segment. Since the acquisition, the existing technology, channels and portfolios have been integrated into HP’s business, allowing us to create new business opportunities for A3 by driving the shift from transactional to contractual business. This allows us to leverage the two companies’ complementary strengths – HP’s industry-leading scale, global sales channel and PageWide innovation, and S-Printing’s established A3 laser printer solutions. HPPK has been designated as the Center of Excellence for HP’s A3 business, and plays a substantial role in HP’s A3 development.
HP has emphasized security as one of the company’s strongest suits. How is security impacting the printing business?
In an always-on, always connected world, end-point security is crucial. This includes printers. HP provides the most robust and secure printing systems and solutions for businesses and organizations which address all potential vulnerabilities of printing devices.
We care about security and are dedicated to making products that ensure the best security for customers’ data and identity. We provide both a powerful portfolio of superior and secure A3 multi-function printers, offering the strongest device, document and data security in the market.
By Grace Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Investment Public Relations Team / Invest Korea
Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA)