South Korea offers a remarkable story. Its development into the tenth largest trading economy in the world occurred under pressure with its estranged brother to the north and in the shadow of neighbouring economic giants, China and Japan.

South Korea offers a remarkable story. Its development into the 10th largest trading economy in the world occurred under pressure with its estranged brother to the north and in the shadow of neighbouring economic giants, China and Japan.

Doing Business in Korea

In overcoming an unfortunate history, South Korea has become a world leader in semiconductors, mobile electronics, shipbuilding and automotive production while being the home of a range of global consumer and lifestyle brands.
Korea’s population of around 52 million offers a sophisticated, tech-savvy single market with an annual buying power of approx. USD 200 billion. Korea is the ninth largest importing market in the world.

Doing business in Korea has become easy with highly developed air and seaports and non-stop direct flights to most major European and American destinations. Korean market entry is possible through the 21 free trade agreements the country holds with most of the world’s major markets.

The country hosts several Free Economy Zones (FEZ) allowing greater ease of doing business in Korea. The Korean government strong supports foreign investment, recently reducing regulatory compliance and offering a range of tax breaks and concessions that includes exclusions from company tax, value-added tax, real estate taxes and acquisition taxes.

Business in Korea is done almost entirely in Korean language and business relationships follow strict cultural protocols. Regulations can be complex so foreigners are advised to make some effort to understand how Korean market entry differs from other Asian nations.

Asian Insiders will help you do business in Korea. Asian Insiders will connect you to the right officials, the right partners. Asian Insiders will engage with you all the way, guiding your Korean market entry to monitoring your processes and outcomes.

Asian Insiders offers four core services for Korea – Market Entry, Operational and Support Services, Supply Chain Management and In-Country Representation.

Market Entry Services

Operational and Support Services

Supply Chain Management

In-Country Representation

Key Features of the Korean Market

  • Stable parliamentary democracy featuring as the fifth easiest country to do business (World Bank) and featuring as the 32nd lowest corruption internationally (Transparency International).
  • Traditionally a strong manufacturing economy, esp. electronics, automotive, shipbuilding and chemical, but services growing fast.
  • Total of 21 strong FTA’s around the world, esp. with ASEAN, Australia, Canada, Central America (Partial), Chile, China, Colombia, EU, EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), India, New Zealand, Peru, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Singapore, U.K., U.S., Turkey and Vietnam.
  • Well educated and increasingly R&D focused population of 52 million.
  • Homogeneous Korean speaking population, centred around Seoul (~50%). Strong sense of nationalism and strong defence against North-Korea (alliance with the US).
  • Excellent infrastructure with high quality rail, air and sea links around the country, and well connected internationally.
  • Political system that favours strong leaders and personalities. No clear leading party. Significant conservative and business friendly sentiment in Korean politics.

SWOT Analysis Korea


  • Single market
  • Strong manufacturing base
  • Market is attractive for any product


  • Reliant on imported technology
  • Hierarchical and inward focused society


  • Transitioning into technology leader
  • Cost competitiveness in high value products
  • Investments in Southeast Asia


  • Southeast Asian competitiveness in manufacturing
  • Reliant on energy imports
  • Totalitarian neighbours

How Asian Insiders Can Help You

Asian Insiders is a network of highly experienced market entry and channel development consultants. With Partners operating in most Asian markets and Associate Partners around the world, Asian Insiders offer clients a vast body of knowledge, expertise and experience in introducing western companies into Asia, and supporting their performance when there.

Asian Insiders offers clients a broad, comparative view across all Asian markets and deploys a set of proprietary service modules that allows for consistent service across the region. From first point of contact, we learn our client circumstances and objectives, then develop their recommended business strategy in Asia. We connect with government officials, Chambers and business associations, industry networks and sector media. Asian Insiders connects and engages for maximum strategic advantage and impact.

Asian Insiders Korea: Our Team

We offer operative services from our offices near central Seoul, covering the Korean market. We opened our doors in 2010 and since opening, we have over 350 completed client assignments including projects for governments, industry associations, events management, delegation and group familiarisation tours along with hundreds of individual assignments, visits and reports. We deliver comprehensive operational and support services Korea.

Our team includes our two principles along with three full-time staff. We often work closely with sector specialists on specific client cases.

Frequently Asked Questions

Asian Insiders specialises in market entry and expansion services for companies looking to enter the Korean market. Our services include:

  • Distributor Analysis: We help you select the right distributor for the Korean economy based on market research, financial stability, and network relationships.
  • Sales Channel Review: We optimise your sales channels, both online and offline.
  • Outsourced Sales: We select and manage external expertise to strengthen your sales efforts.
  • Operational services: We support you managing your ongoing operations, administration or participate in strategic representation.

Understanding the Korean market allows you to focus on the correct part of the market, design sales channel related to it and support your local partner(s) efficiently.

Selecting the right distributor ensures efficient market penetration and successful Korean market entry. A reliable distributor can help you navigate cultural nuances, logistics and regulatory compliance.

We conduct in-depth market research to understand customer behavior, trends, competitors and opportunities in the Korean market. Our insights guide your market entry strategy.

Outsourcing sales reduces costs, allows you to focus on core business activities, and expands your global reach. Work with us to manage your sales and leverage our understanding of Korean business to your benefit. When working with us, you don’t need to worry about company establishment, employee costs (4-major insurances), office space, nor staffing. You also have access to an extended team, instead of a single sales representative.

Establish a subsidiary in Korea is fairly simple, but time-consuming process. It requires a standard (approximately) 30-day administrative process, registering newly established company to Korean supreme court. Usually, receiving finalized, signed, and notarized required documentation from client headquarters takes longer than the process in Korea. Alternatives to subsidiary are a branch office or a liaison office, both which come with some benefits and restrictions compared to a subsidiary. Once subsidiary is established, banking, accounting and taxation related registrations are required.

We have solved operational (such as administration, HR, accounting, etc.) issues, supported directing sales processes (major investment projects, equipment, and consumable sales) successfully and managed all Korean operations for our clients. Our experts can guide you through any issues you might have in your current operations.

Our Experience

  • Decades of experience in business in Korea. 100+ successfully executed projects. 
  • We are multi-lingual.

Our Reach

  • Our network is wide and deep. Our ability to reach anyone, in any industry and at any level, is one of our core capabilities.

Our Core Services

  • Services we offer are suitable for SMEs, major corporations as well as government organisations & NGO’s.
Managing Partner – Korea
Managing Partner – Korea


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