The KABC Online Second Chance Korea Business Forum

Why are we here? Should we invest more?
The state and status of Foreign Direct Investment and
foreign companies in Korea

8.00am – 9.30am 3 April 2024 at the Online Seminar Room (Zoom)

On March 21 we started with a brief review of trends and patterns in the economy, somewhat hard to judge YoY when the Chinese New Year shifts from Jan to Feb. January figures would suggest a slight improvement in the domestic economy if it were not for the drop in retail sales YoY of -3.4%. Manufacturing in January was up partly spurred by Galaxy 24 production. February export figures showed a drop in auto exports which may just be a Sollal blip or a drop in EV exports. At the second chance we will have March export figures and some February data.   April 3 will also be just a week before the April 10 election so the progression of public opinion as measured by the polls and the upheavals in the parties big and small will be reported and the group will be invited to speculate on the outcome.

We will turn then to discuss the current feelings of foreign business in Korea. Back in 2014 there was a debate about whether staying in Korea was profitable, and a number of companies dropped out. Thereafter we have measured the mood year by year. For existing companies the recently published survey of the European chambers in 2023 and summary  for the US chamber gives the picture of a year in which foreign companies saw their enthusiasm for Korea whether measured in sales or profit slip slightly. They also reported that Korea in 2023 was somewhat less central in their company’s strategy. Regarding reforms there was scepticism about reforms promised this year.

There is a steady increase in the value of FDI pledged to Korea and this year Korea’s goal is to achieve US$35 bn. (2023 US$32.5) So we shall be looking at which sectors have attracted more investment in 2023 and from which countries?  In general US pledges of investment exceeded European pledges a reversal of recent years.  However when we look at arrivals (not promises) only US$19.2 bn arrived and European money greatly exceeded US inflow.

What is happening in the offshore wind and renewable sector makes Korea looks much more old school than in other sectors and companies are thinking about giving up including several majors.  Amcham’s list of issues for 2024 included RE100.

In 2022 I wrote “KABC’s opinion is that the Republic of Korea has come of age in the last three years and has a higher global standing in nearly every field of activity and this should help raise interest in the Korean market and consequently more investment”   During 2023 KBF members collectively produced the thesis that Korea was a safe haven for investment and that for certain classes of product Korea could be the plus 1 in a China plus 1 strategy. This does not negate the fact that Korea is still considered a hard market to do business in successfully with 48% of European companies saying doing business got harder in the past year..

Whether you find Korea a hard market or a satisfying market, join us online for a review of this popular session and witness the KBF advantage in developing an understanding in the Korean market and its future direction.

Yours sincerely

Tony Michell Ph.D
Managing Director, KABC Ltd.


    Name *:



    Email address* :

    Mobile Phone :

    Agreement* :
    Confirmed ​I agree to the below collection and use policy of personal information.

    [Personal information collection and use policy]

    1. Types of personal information collected and purpose of use
    The types of personal information collected through this page and the purpose of use are as follows.
    1) Types of personal information to be collected: name, e-mail address
    2) Purpose of use of collected personal information: Information on Korea Business Forum and related events through e-mail, and delivery of related information

    2. Processing and retention period of personal information
    1) The Korea Business Forum retains and processes personal information within the period of retention and use of personal information agreed upon when collecting personal information from the information subject, or the retention and use period of personal information in accordance with laws and regulations.
    2) The retention period of the collected personal information is until the business processing specified in the purpose of use is completed, and the collected personal information is destroyed as soon as the business processing is completed.

    * Required

    Published On: March 24th, 2024 / Categories: Event, Korea Business Forum /

    The organisation that anticipates change and is always ready

    We are always awake, quickly understands information, and always thinks about and prepares strategies to respond to it.


    KABC has extensive experience in strategic studies, change management, and mergers and acquisitions.

    Learn more


    We regard ourselves as masters of Korean statistics which comes from macroeconomic as well as microeconomic work.

    Learn more


    KABC provides information services to foreign companies operating in Korea and foreign governments in Korea.

    Learn more


    KABC provides information services to foreign companies operating in Korea and foreign governments in Korea.

    Learn more