Hi guys, this is Alex.
During the second week of November, I was away in Korea for an unforgettable business trip. Towards the end of October, I received a call from the Korean Government of Trade. During our phone call, he asked if I would be interested in going to Korea to meet with more dashcam companies. My immediate response was ‘yes’, and I was off to Korea for 10 days. Within this time frame, I was able meet many dashcam companies; and observed every aspect of the dashcam industry, from software engineers and factories, to suppliers and installers. I first started this company in 2012, and my last visit to Korea was in the summer of 2013. This trip was valuable to me in that I was able to see the exponential growth of the industry in the short span of 1-2 years, and I am excited to see how it will develop from there.
During the summer of 2013, I would say that 70% of all cars in Korea were equipped with dashcams. This time around, I saw a notable increase, somewhere along the lines of 90%. Though there seems to be an increase in the use of dashcams in Korea, the reality is that the Korean dashcam market isn’t actually doing all that great. Most people on the road are now equipped with dashcams, but many companies are actually suffering. Its sad to see that in the current state of things, companies are not trying to differentiate themselves from the competition, but instead conforming with the market trends in Korea. In turn, there are a vast variety of dashcams on the market with huge LCD displays. In Korea, having an LCD display on dashcams is a huge trend, mostly because of the dashcam culture there being much different from ours here in North America. In Korea, LCD screens are preferred because they want to make sure the dashcams are constantly working, and having an LCD display helps to prove that information. In addition, it is efficient to show the police or insurance advisors in the scene of an accident by just showing them the footage straight from their dashcams. In Korea, everyone is looking for the cheapest possible options. As a result, the developments of crazy new technologies are starting to diminish. Only a few remaining companies are still doing creative things. Something truly unique will be coming out in Korea around the end of next year, and we will definitely have it here at BlackboxMyCar.
Since most cars in Korea already have dashcams, the only way to sell dashcams is to sell them to new car owners. One of the main problems in the dashcam market right now is a company known as Dabonda. This company offers a unique business practice, in which personal delivery (and sometimes install) can be had upon purchasing a new vehicle. In Korea, buying a car usually comes with a lot of free ‘goodies’ , including tint, dashcams, or nav units. Because they are ‘free’ units, dealerships usually give very low quality dashcams. This is one of the reasons why the high-end dashcam market where new technologies get developed, are diminishing. Because of companies like Dabonda, who push out low-cost, low-quality dashcams, the demand for high-quality products are slowly dying out. In Korea, the majority of the population lives in the city. Whereas here in North America, we care for good night-time recording quality unless we live in brightly-lit areas such as in downtown, Korean’s don’t really have the need for good night-time recording because there are constant bright lighting around them. Because of this, the need for a high-quality dashcam is not there. To add to it; everyone has a dashcam, so in the case your dashcam couldn’t capture everything, there is sure to be others that captured something. This is the reason why there are HD-VGA quality dashcams in Korea. Here in North America, we are spoiled by brands like BlackVue, causing us to think that the standards for a dashcam should be Full-HD fronts, and Full-HD rear. The reality of it is that in Korea HD-VGA quality is enough for most people, as long as it records something.
During my visit, I was able to re-visit both BlackVue and FineVu, both great companies that were very welcoming. In addition to that, I was able to visit MotoPark again, the mecca of Korean dashcam installers, and acquaintances that I have been working closely with ever since the start of BlackboxMyCar. I was able to look into some new products which some may be interested here in North America. There is a 4-channel system, which is quickly losing its appeal in Korea due to the difficulty of install. If anyone is interested in it, we can definitely bring a few units over. In addition, we have new battery packs that allow up to 72 hours of recording when it is done with the car battery. Lastly, there is a prototype unit of an LED security light for your dashcam, which I will have an unboxing video of it shortly.
Overall, the dashcam market in Korea is still constantly growing and developing, but based on my observations, I don’t foresee anything really creative coming over to North America. Towards the next year, there will definitely be a few new devices entering the market, but none of the existing BlackVue cameras will be getting replaced any time soon. BlackVue will actually be releasing a new LCD device that has lower specs than the DR750LW in the near future. Some dashcams will have the capability of using a SIM card for data connection. Whenever it senses impact, the dashcam can send a video over to the owner’s cell phone, which I find very intriguing.
I would like to thank the Korean government once again for inviting me to Korea. I would also like to thank all our customers and followers for getting us this far in our company to have such an opportunity come towards us. During this visit, I was able to go to 3 major cities and meet up with 13 different companies. It was heart-warming to see so many people e-mail us about dashcams, as well as my trip in Korea, so thanks everyone again, and I hope you enjoy this write-up of my trip to Korea.
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