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Expanding your business in South Korea

South Korea

Expanding your business in South Korea

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Why Expand a Business to South Korea?

South Korea is the world’s 12th-largest economy1. It has a GDP of over US$1 trillion – just less than the size of the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and equal to 2 per cent of global GDP. Per capita purchasing power is some US$30,000

Over the next five years, the South Korean economy is set to make the 10th-largest contribution to world growth. That’s as much as the UK and more than France or Italy. Despite the global slowdown, South Korea’s economy grew by 3.6 per cent in 2011, the fastest in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

South Korea is a high-tech economy. It is a world leader in electronics manufacturing, including semiconductor chips, flat-screen TVs and mobile phones. Samsung – the world’s largest electronics company – originated in South Korea. The organisation has a turnover greater than that of Apple, Google and Microsoft combined. South Korea also has the highest level of broadband penetration in the world (with speeds of 100 megabytes), as well as the highest 3G mobile usage.

Moreover, the country is a world leader in shipbuilding, steel and automotive. Its construction and energy companies are increasingly successful overseas.

The population is highly educated. Seven per cent of the country’s entire GDP is spent on education and nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of South Koreans undertake postgraduate-level study. This creates excellent opportunities for UK educational institutions.

In July 2011, the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into force. The historic agreement presents opportunities for greater UK-Korean collaboration – based on current trading patterns it will be worth at least £500 million per annum to the UK economy. The most comprehensive FTA ever agreed between two parties, the deal will create outstanding opportunities in financial services, telecommunications and legal services. Ninety seven per cent of tariff barriers between Korea and the EU will be eliminated within three years and €1.6 billion of duties for EU exporters will be abolished annually.

1 According to the IMF, measured on a PPP (purchasing power parity) basis in 2010


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