The second chance event for the session originally held on April 21 will be held on Friday 6th May. We have added some slides on economic growth based round the Q1 GDP figures and April data, on the new government’s proposal industrial policy and the new government and improved some of the FDI figures since April 21.
In April we consider the position of foreign companies in Korea, as quarantine less travel returns and hopefully a shrinking number of daily infections and deaths from Covid. We first held a session on this theme in 2012 when the mood of many businesses was questioning whether Korea was quite the place to continue operations with FTA’s established for US and European companies reducing the advantages of investing in Korea compared with just trading, while the rise in Korean wages was beginning to alarm some investors.
So we adapted, a few companies withdrawing but most slogging it out. We were joined by new cohorts of investors from both western countries and from Asia. During the Covid era Korea’s status rose internationally from the moment that President Moon announced his digital new deal and immediately after introduced his green deal. While the status of Korea on the political stage is not so clear, the positioning on the industrial and services and cultural stages are clearly developed. Korea also contracted less than other countries in 2020, and grew steadily in 2021 though other countries showed rebound growth rates, Korea was showing real growth rates.
Korea continued to maintain remarkable global rankings in the 1-5 positions for a number of areas being one of the top performers in chips, ships and cars, as well as chemicals, electronics, steel and refined petroleum as well as machinery.
So in 2022 we ask how is Korea viewed by head offices around the world? How did foreign invested companies perform in 2020-21? How and in what areas has foreign direct investment been growing in these two years? Korea’s aggressive targeting of new industries certainly seems to have produced a strong response from digital companies in 2021, and from Singapore in particular.
Along side this comes the less favourable side to operating in Korea, government regulation, human resources and a usually hyperactive investigatory economic police. Several pieces of new legislation have made operations more inflexible in Korea, and the risks that a CEO foreign or Korean faces are more extreme. So our survey data says operating in Korea in 2021 got more difficult.
So how do we consider the overall costs and benefits of being in Korea?
So join us to discuss these issues on May 6 in online mode.
Our regular hybrid meeting will be on May 19 and will look at the new administration’s policies in detail and the problems of 2022 in terms of inflation.
Tony Michell Ph.D
Managing Director, KABC Ltd.