In June, dSPACE launched its own regional company in South Korea, headed by Martin Wöhrle. In this interview, he explains why having your own local presence is so important, what his own connection with Korea is, and what kind of a start the new company got off to.
dSPACE has long had a presence in Korea, through partners. Why set up our own company?
Quite simply because South Korea is one of the world’s major markets for mobility and automotives. Korean companies have an incredibly fast pace of innovation. And as a leading partner in simulation and validation, we need our finger on the pulse of the times. Our new company, headquartered in Seoul, will let us take our know-how – as a partner in simulation and validation – directly to customers, and support the dynamic change occurring here with solutions for autonomous driving, electromobility, and digitalization.
How well-established are solutions from dSPACE on the Korean market?
The dSPACE brand is well-known and already has a good reputation. Distribution partners have been selling our test solutions in South Korea for more than two decades, during which time the solutions have been used in ve- hicle development with great success. Requirements are becoming increasingly complex, and we now need to provide direct support if we want to give the Korean market tailor-made solutions. So dSPACE Korea Co. Ltd. will also offer engineering and consulting services, plus training and support. Drawing on existing customer relationships, but also on new strategic partnerships, we will be able to develop and support the Korean market systematically.
You’ve taken on the job of heading up dSPACE Korea. What takes you personally to Korea, and to dSPACE?
I’ve been living in Korea since 2015. For the first three years, I set up and managed BMW’s fifth international R&D facility. Korea is one of the world’s most innovative countries, and has enormous potential from a technological point of view. The country fascinated me and my family, so when I had an offer from Hyundai – to develop a strategy for future technologies and establish the organizational preconditions for access to global top technologies for the Hyundai Motor Group – we decided to stay here. And my initial contact with dSPACE early this year immediately brought back fond memories. Around 15 years ago, at BMW in Munich, I introduced model-based software development plus associated modeling guidelines and tool chain validation. We used TargetLink with great success, combined with MATLAB®/Simulink®, to generate production code for an ASIL-C ECU in vehicle development. But coming back to the present: Setting up a national company for a technology leader is obviously an exciting challenge, and I found it irresistible.
The team is also new, but many of them are already familiar with dSPACE solutions. Does that make things easier at the beginning?
We’ve taken on 20 sales and engineering experts from our long-term distributor. That has smoothed the transition in many ways. Among other things, we were able to simply migrate customer relationships and technical know-how to our new distribution company. So we’re productive from the get-go and can offer customers a seamless transfer. In the meantime, we have taken on ten additional employees and started to make plans for expat specialists to come here.
What’s the first thing on dSPACE Korea’s agenda?
Korea has massive subsidy programs that are driving ahead technological change in the fields of digitalization, electrification, and automation of mobility. Our new products fit this scenario perfectly; we can give start-ups and also established companies in Korea the support they need. We’re developing a local market strategy so that working with dSPACE headquarters, we can put together a customer-oriented and market-specific portfolio. In parallel with this, we are also working on expanding our network.
Are there any areas where Korean dSPACE customers can expect to receive particular support?
I see electromobility and automated driving as being the main focus in Korea. Our customers are increasingly pushing digitalization and virtualization in order to remain competitive in a global market. With our professional solutions, engineering services, indeed services for all phases of development, we offer our Korean customers that decisive added value they need.
About the interviewed:
Martin Wöhrle is CEO of dSPACE Korea.