IMA Overview

South Korea Overview

Nestled between two great powers, Japan and China, South Korea remains off the radar to most UK companies even though it is home to 50 million people generating GNP of US $1 trillion, making it the world’s 12th largest economy – just less than the size of the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and equal to 2% of global GDP.

Sophisticated, affluent, globally aware consumers are eager to experience the latest fashions and products from around the world. Particularly, many South Koreans in their 20s and 30s have travelled internationally and have substantial disposable income. South Koreans are disciplined, hard-working, loyal, motivated, well-educated and eager to excel. Participating in this resilient and vibrant economy is about to become easier with the implementation of the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement.

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 economic slowdown, South Korea’s economy grew by 2.8% in 2013, and is predicted by the Bank of Korea to grow 3.8% in 2014.

About IMA Guides

About This Guide

This guide aims to provide a route map of the way ahead, together with signposts to other sources of help.

The main objective of this Doing Business in South Korea Guide is to provide you with basic knowledge about South Korea; an overview of its economy, business culture, potential opportunities and to identify the main issues associated with initial research, market entry, risk management and cultural and language issues.

We do not pretend to provide all the answers in the guide, but novice exporters in particular will find it a useful starting point. Further assistance is available from the UK Trade & Investment team in South Korea. Full contact details are available in this guide.

Much of the information presented in this guide has been contributed by experts at UK Trade & Investment, British Diplomatic Posts and the British Chambers of Commerce. The South Korean Business Guide is intended to provide general business advice and should not be used as a substitute for market research, due diligence or legal and professional services.

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UKTI Video

UKTI Video Foreword

Introductory foreword from Andrew Dalgleish, Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy Seoul.

About UKTI

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department that can help you achieve your international business potential, combining the national resources of the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) global network of Trade Development Staff, to help you successfully win business overseas. For more information please visit:

Market Experts

Doing Business in South Korea Guide Market Experts - Please click on the logos below to view our Market Expert profiles and to find out how they can help you to succeed in South Korea!

Free Economic Zone 

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Law / Legal Services

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Market Entry Specialist  

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Professional Business Services

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