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[Herald Interview] Siemens ready to accelerate Korea's digitalization

Siemens Korea VP confident of German firm's tech integrating automation, software

Sept. 5, 2023 - 15:55 By Jie Ye-eun
Tino Hildebrand, vice president and head of digital industries at Siemens Korea, poses for a photo during a recent interview with The Korea Herald at the company's Seoul office. (Siemens Korea)

Siemens Korea, the Korean unit of German industrial giant Siemens, has supported accelerating its domestic partners’ digital transformation a step further to create innovations for various industrial sectors here that are sustainable.

With companies undergoing digital transformation globally and capitalizing on the opportunities, Korea, as a global manufacturing powerhouse, still needs to play catch-up, according to Siemens Korea’s vice president.

“We have the world's best electronic companies and top car-making companies in Korea. Their manufacturing processes are highly automated but (in terms of) integrating the entire digital transformation, they aren’t yet there where international companies are,” said Tino Hildebrand, vice president and head of digital industries at Siemens Korea.

It is imperative, Hildebrand said, for Korea to transform, as the country faces three main changes -- an aging society, a shift from being a fast follower to an innovation leader and a higher degree of need for global competitiveness due to its move to “build something for the world.”

Yet Korean firms are lagging behind their European and American counterparts, he said, citing a recent survey conducted by the Korea International Trade Association that showed 3.5 percent of domestic companies are actively progressing with digital transformation, while globally, 24 percent of firms believe they are actively progressing.

Hildebrand called the result “too humble,” but believed there is “still room to go.” With the industrial giant’s uniquely integrated digital twin technology of automation and software provided via its open business platform, Siemens Xcelerator, can realize domestic companies’ digital transformation faster, he said.

Tino Hildebrand, vice president and head of digital industries at Siemens Korea speaks with The Korea Herald during a recent interview at the company's office in Seoul. (Siemens Korea)

The German firm began its business in Korea in 1967. Considering Korea, a "very important" market on a global scale, it kept increasing business investment for the Korean unit, while setting up its global headquarters for the Siemens production machine business here. Last year, the Korean unit generated 1.3 trillion won ($986 million) in sales, out of 72 billion euros ($77.7 billion) in global sales.

Siemens sees its business as not limited to specific sectors or sizes of enterprises in the Korean industry. Steelmaker Posco Group is one of its 1,350 digital industries clients here. It has also been supporting carmakers in their productions and teaming up with key battery makers to help them use faster and more sustainable batteries.

The vice president said Korean customers are drawn to Siemens because of its technological advancement and reliability. They also appreciate the industrial giant’s cutting-edge and scalable solutions, as well as its ability to accommodate both small-scale applications and large and complex projects, he added.

Hildebrand took office as the Korean unit’s vice president in August last year. Entering his second year in the Seoul office, the vice president looks to build a greater capacity of Siemens' digital industries business in Korea to make it a stronger digital transformation accelerator for domestic firms.

“We have a strong and ever-growing setup with the key aim to partner with the Korean industry and help our customers to overcome their challenges,” he said.

“Whatever requirements are coming from the Korean market, Siemens globally will listen and support to realize them.”