Korea achieved 1.4% YoY growth in Q3 after two quarters of 0.9% growth. Does that mean the economy has turned a corner? Not necessarily, since all the major indicators were low, consumer expenditure up only 0.5% YoY, capital investment at 0.3%. These were all lower achievements year on year than Q1 or Q2. The difference was technical in that exports grew (we know they actually contracted but in constant prices they rose) and imports did not grow at all. In October the first month of Q4 exports rose 5.5% YoY. Have exports turned the corner? Not really, the value of exports in October was only 0.5% higher than in September and semiconductors still declined. So we start our November session asking how the year is going to end?
But the main session is about strategic decision making for foreign companies doing business in Korea. How should the managers in Korea respond to these issues or advise head office? In this session we look at three main areas:
- How does geopolitical shift affect South Korea?
- How much AI should we invite into our companies?
- Is “Korea as a safe haven for investment in East Asia” a strategy for our business?
The first topic relates to de-risking and the President’s swing towards closer relations with the US (and Japan), but also to the strong efforts to retain relations with China and any risks this brings.
The second topic deals with the question of how we interface with AI at both the narrow AI level and the generative AI level in terms of business structure and business practice? On regulation of AI, the US is making an executive order, while China proposes its own global standard, the EU has an AI act and Korea appears to be joining the UK with a “light touch.”
The final topic is one we generated in previous sessions on the premise that Korea could be seen as a safe haven (or de-risked haven) for business in East Asia and to what degree is it appropriate for our companies to adopt it, or profit from it?
We hope these issues will provoke a lively debate and I shall be inviting guests to help drive each part of the argument.
Please join us at the Hyatt Sansoo Room for a great discussion.