Journal of International Entrepreneurship

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 547–575 | Cite as

A study on development strategy of Korean hidden champion firm: Focus on SWOT/AHP technique utilizing the competitiveness index

  • Sang Suk Lee
  • Youn Kyaei Chung


The purpose of this study is to offer development strategies for hidden champion firms; it is thought that in order to overcome Korea’s economic crisis and to secure new growth engines for sustained economic development, the country needs to foster more hidden champions that can lead global market. The study draws from an empirical survey of 61 Korean firms on hidden champion promotion list as well as 45 experts; the results were analyzed using SWOT/AHP model and a corporate competitiveness index to develop development strategies for Korean hidden champions. The results suggest that Korean hidden champions should seek opportunities for industrial growth based on technological strength, create competitive advantages in the market, and reduce their dependency on large corporations. Hidden champions should target market niche rather than competing with global firms; this is possible with competitive strengths based on specialist technology that will satisfy customers. Thus, authors argue that small- and medium-sized enterprises in Korea should focus on developing technological competences in order to possess specialist core technology that will support their growth in the global market.


Hidden champion SWOT/AHP Competitiveness index 


Le but de cette recherche est d’offrir des stratégies de développement aux champions cachés; on considère qu’afin de surmonter la crise de son économie et d’obtenir des moteurs de développement économique durable, la Corée doit favoriser davantage les champions cachés capables de devenir les leaders du marché mondial. Cette recherche est fondée sur l’étude empirique de 61 entreprises coréennes de la liste des champions cachés et les opinions de 45 spécialistes; les résultats ont été analysés à l’aide du modèle SWOT/AHP et l’indice de compétitivité des entreprises pour élaborer les stratégies de développement des champions cachés coréens. Les résultats indiquent que les champions cachés coréens devraient chercher les possibilités de croissance industrielle fondée sur la force technologique, créer des avantages concurrentiels sur le marché et réduire leur dépendance des grandes entreprises. Les champions cachés devraient cibler leurs niches sur le marché plutôt que de concurrencer avec les entreprises internationales. Ceci peut être achevé à l’aide des atouts concurrentiels fondés sur l’usage de technologies spécialisées capables de satisfaire les clients. Par conséquent les auteurs de la recherche affirment que les petites et moyennes entreprises en Corée devraient se concentrer sur le développement des compétences technologiques afin d’obtenir des technologies de base spécialisées pour soutenir leur croissance sur le marché mondial.



The authors express their gratitude to the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kangnam UniversityYonginSouth Korea
  2. 2.Seojeong UniversityYangjuSouth Korea

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