It’s easy to see why Samsung Electronics decided to take over the Korea-based diagnostic ultrasound equipment manufacturer Medison Company, Ltd earlier this year. First of all, there were a number of technological synergies between the ultrasound diagnostic device segment and Samsung’s electronics business. Samsung, which is now the biggest electronics manufacturer in the world, has been steadily increasing its involvement in the medical sector.

May 26, 2011

4 Min Read
Pushing the Cutting Edge of Ultrasound Technology

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“We will be able to combine Samsung’s resources, digital technology, and experience of growth worldwide with Medison’s technological prowess and established market presence.”

Sang-Won Bang, CEO

It’s easy to see why Samsung Electronics decided to take over the Korea-based diagnostic ultrasound equipment manufacturer Medison Company, Ltd earlier this year. First of all, there were a number of technological synergies between the ultrasound diagnostic device segment and Samsung’s electronics business. Samsung, which is now the biggest electronics manufacturer in the world, has been steadily increasing its involvement in the medical sector. Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of the company, has announced that the company wants to diversify its business away from electronics by investing 23.3 trillion won ($20.7 billion) into five new business areas by 2020; two of those include medical equipment and biomedicine. And Medison, which is now the world’s sixth-biggest maker of ultrasound devices, was one of South Korea’s most prominent medical equipment manufacturers. So, it was only natural that Samsung enthusiastically sought to gain control over Medison, outbidding tobacco company KT&G and conglomerate SK Holdings to do so.

Recently renamed Samsung Medison, the company currently sells its products in 110 countries. Approximately 85% of its sales come from outside of Korea. Its products are especially well represented in developing markets such as Brazil, China, and Africa. At present, the company is thought to control approximately 7% of the global ultrasound diagnostics market.

Since it was founded in 1985, the firm has been responsible for a number of innovations in diagnostic ultrasound imaging. It developed a color ultrasound system in 1995. The year after that, the company developed Asia’s first digital diagnostic ultrasound device. In 1998, the manufacturer created the world’s first 3-D and 4-D ultrasound diagnostic device. It released an innovative live 3-D ultrasound imaging diagnostic system in 2003. At present, the firm owns more than 1000 patents.

Product

Features

Accuvix XG

Offers precise control over 3-D and 4-D volume data, which supports diagnostic accuracy.

Accuvix V20

Provides a feature known as Multi Volume Slice that enables users to acquire seven different images from a single scan.

MySono U5

Offers instant and mean, max, standard deviation, and quality index data at the touch of a single button.

SonoAce R3

Said to be the first portable color ultrasound machine that costs less than $10,000.

SonoAce R7

Features an ergonomic, ultracompact design. The device provides a simple user interface.

Although Samsung Medison makes a variety of sophisticated, high-end products, one of the firm’s specialties is creating portable, inexpensive devices.

The firm is expected to benefit from Samsung’s cash reserves and enthusiastic plans to expand its involvement in the medical space. Sang-Won Bang, the company’s CEO, said in a press release that he predicts Samsung Medison will become one of the top four manufacturers of ultrasound equipment in the world by 2020. The firm aims to have 10,000 employees by then. Bang also says Samsung’s support will enable the company to continue an aggressive R&D investment strategy.

Interestingly, two of the ultrasound company’s main rivals are General Electric and Philips Electronics. Both of those firms entered the medical device space decades ago, in a similar move to diversify their mass-consumer–driven businesses.

Focus Going Forward

  • Employ more than 10,000 people in its medical equipment business by 2020.

  • Become one of the top four diagnostic ultrasound firms by 2020.

  • Enhance marketing by sponsoring global academic conferences and seminars.

  • Develop cutting-edge products at the lowest-possible price point.

 Highlights

  • February 2011: Samsung purchases a major stake in Medison. 

  • July 2010: Celebrates 25th anniversary.

  • September 2009: Founds Medison Healthcare, a subsidiary that manufactures complete medical devices. 

  • June 2010: Wins Korea Service Award for fourth consecutive year.

  • 1998: Announces world’s first 3-D and 4-D ultrasound diagnostic device.

  • 1996: Develops Asia’s first digital diagnostic ultrasound system.

Leadership

Sang-Won Bang, CEO

Charles Sung, CEO, U.S. division

Sangwhui Steve Won, general manager

Julian JH Lee, vice president, marketing and business development

Yung-gil Kim, vice president, reglatory and quality assurance

Bob Leiker, executive officer

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