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Invest Korea - GUIDE Area Profile

Contact :   TEL   847-304-4655

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Korea - A profitable business hub for Northeast Asia

If you haven't looked at Korea recently as a strategic business location in Asia, look again.  Sweeping changes have improved the Korean market as consensus grew rapidly after 1998 to give high priority to the attraction of foreign investment projects, and in particular high technology industries with sophisticated R&D requirements.  It enjoys a reputation as one of the most "wired" (or rather, wireless) countries, with 97% of the labor force having college or vocational training.

Korea already enjoyed rapid development as it became a global economic leader, while retaining lower costs than the US or Japan, but with China developing rapidly next door, Korea is obviously not competing as the lowest labor cost market in the region.

Korea enjoys strong business and cultural connections into China, without some of the uncertainties which face investors seeking profits in that fast-changing market or other parts of Asia.  It isn't the cheapest labor market in Asia, but it's a predictably profitable place to do business, with a strong support infrastructure.

In short, Korea is growing as a democratic, capitalist society with a large domestic and Asian market, despite the economic and other challenges of recent years.  It is becoming an easier, although competitive and challenging, place to do business.

Korea is already the sixth largest US export market, exceeding China, Taiwan, Australia, France and the Netherlands.  Korea's potential has also not escaped the notice of European firms, which have invested in a steadily growing presence. 

There may not be as many M&A bargains as in the wake of the economic crisis a few years ago, and China has diverted attention from Korea, but the level of foreign investment into Korea remains high.  Meanwhile, the flow of direct investment from Korea into China has climbed dramatically as companies seize this opportunity.

The billions of dollars in infrastructure investment projects in progress combine with development policies which favor high-technology industries, including major R&D initiatives, improved intellectual property protection and various business incentives.  Many top companies are well-established and growing profitably in Korea, and the government is committed to making Korea a very profitable business hub for Asia.

Highlights :


Link to simple maps of Korea

Tokyo, Beijing, Osaka, Shanghai and Hong Kong are within a 3 hour flight

Promotional materials - list >

Invest Korea Journal

Official overview of the Korean economy, investment climate, and society in general for business leaders.

Executive Summary

Invest Korea

formerly known as the Korea Investment Service Center (KISC) and KOTRA

Contact information

  Website :


Jang Hee Lee                               

or Timothy Newman

Invest Korea (KOTRA - Korea Trade Center)

4801 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 104

Los Angeles, CA  90010


TEL  (323)954-9500

FAX  (323)954-1707

e-mail  :  to Jang Hee Lee  (Los Angeles)


Alternate contacts :


Invest Korea, Seoul  

300-9, Yomgok-dong

Seocho-gu, Seoul  Korea

TEL (822) 3460 7543   FAX (822) 3460-7946

82 is the country code, 2 is the city code for Seoul


Invest Korea operates through the Korea Trade Center (KTC-KOTRA) offices in the US and many other major cities worldwide :


Korea Trade Center - KOTRA New York

Mr. Jae Hyo Kim, President         TEL (212) 826-0900 


Washington DC     TEL (202) 857-7919 

Chicago                TEL (312) 644-4323

Detroit                  TEL (248) 355-4911

San Francisco       TEL (415) 434-8400

Dallas                   TEL (972) 934-8644

Miami                   TEL (305) 374-4648

Atlanta                  TEL  (770) 508-0808

Toronto                 TEL (416) 368-3399

Vancouver             TEL (604) 683-1820

List of available sites or facilities :


For example, the DMC - Digital Media City development could be highlighted, among others

Service Provider Relationships


Professional service providers reported to be very familiar with direct investment considerations in this area from previous work on major investment projects or among leading investors there:

Other Resources

Other suggested contacts for investment planning in this area:

Invest Korea Journal :   published by Invest Korea

formerly known as the Korea Trade & Investment Journal (KT&I)


Korea : A World of Potential  - detailed 160 pg guide to doing business in Korea, available through Invest Korea


Building Korea : Policy, Players and Opportunity in the Korean Infra Market - brochure from Invest Korea about investing in social infrastructure projects such as light transit systems, subways, airports, ports, bridges, roads, etc.


Provincial or local contacts who work with Invest Korea to support foreign investors

Article Archives


The Financial Times

The Economist - subscribers only


Korean or regional business media

GIS Map Makers


 Data Pointers - see also Consultant Tips


Suggested sources of timely statistical data for location selection issues


Sponsored articles, PR

Invest Korea Journal

News and newsletters

 Companies in Korea - list >

The directory is limited to major parent companies and known subsidiaries to highlight a sample of the many foreign investors in Korea.

This makes it easier to recognize where major investors have clustered, and to identify the local area representatives.

It is not intended to be a comprehensive directory of all foreign investments.  Website links are provided to facilitate research about companies of interest.

Other resources :

The Invest Korea website lists many foreign investors by showing their logos, but provides no further details.

Chambers of Commerce or associations

Invest Korea also publishes a CD-ROM, "Promising Investment Partners in Korea", listing several hundred Korean firms by industry, with website links, for exploring potential business alliances.  Most are small or mid-sized firms.

Past Projects - list >


Testimonials - list >


The Invest Korea website lists some success stories among foreign investors.

Relationship Disclosure

We had a short-term contract with Invest Korea in 2004 for our independent service (SICR) to support their US promotional activities by contacting and introducing executives with potential interests in South Korea.  We do not function as their employee or agent.

Our role was to help them to meet more potential investors who might welcome their assistance.  Such introductions are driven by the interests and instructions of such executives, including respect for project confidentiality.

It is not our role to "push" investment in Korea, but rather to know how to assist executives who may have potential investment interests there, and to introduce them to the relevant contacts so that projects in Korea can be developed faster, better, and more easily.

Relationship leader at GDI Solutions for potential investors :

  •  Bruce Donnelly

    Please advise regarding any necessary corrections to this Area Profile. 


    As relationship leader, Bruce is responsible for maintaining contacts and market knowledge at GDI Solutions about Korea, and also serves as an initial contact point for any investors who may choose not to contact Invest Korea representatives directly yet about their interests, for whatever reason.  If you contact Invest Korea directly, please let them know how you found them.

Investment Incentives Available in Korea


Other contacts which may interest some potential investors:



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