South Korea: An Opportunity for NZ Business

Monday, 14 September 2009

A thorough understanding of the business culture in South Korea is a critical factor for any New Zealand business looking for opportunities in this economically dynamic Asian nation that is home to major global brands such as Samsung and Hyundai.

A new report on South Korea by the Asia New Zealand Foundation is now available. Its release has been timed to coincide with the second round of free trade talks between the two countries which are to be held in New Zealand on September 14-18.

The report – South Korea: An Opportunity for New Zealand Business – urges New Zealand businesses to build a thorough understanding of the South Korean market and to gain an appreciation of the largely complementary trade relationship between the two countries.

It points out that many factors are significant in the South Korea setting including bureaucracy, intellectual property protection, unionisation, the current economic and political climate as well as more remote influencers such as the possibility of unification with North Korea.

In addition to explaining these factors, the report which was written by Deloitte, also identifies business opportunities in the market that could be taken up by New Zealand companies.

It does advise that acknowledging and embracing South Korean business culture is critical to business success.  “Koreans are very nationalistic, sensitive to price, time conscious, deferential to elders and hierarchical. They also have their own business etiquette and a unique historical experience, which needs to be taken account of.”

“To recognize, acknowledge and embrace this culture, New Zealand businesses need to resolve the language barrier, have the ability to adapt, deliver on promises and spend time socializing with Koreans,” the report says.

New Zealand businesses interviewed for the South Korea: An Opportunity for New Zealand Business report are from a diverse range of industries and vary in size and approach. However, they all had fulfilled the four main factors identified in the report as essential to current and future business success in South Korea.

South Korea is the world’s 13th largest economy.  The country is New Zealand's sixth largest market, importing nearly NZ$1.4 billion worth of New Zealand exports in 2008. Over the same period New Zealand imported NZ$1.3 billion worth of goods from South Korea.

South Korea is New Zealand’s sixth largest source of overseas visitors, with almost 80,000 Koreans visiting New Zealand in 2008. South Korea is also New Zealand’s second largest source of overseas students.'

Download a copy of the report

For further information:

James Penn
Director Business
Asia New Zealand Foundation
027 419 4549

Last updated: 29 Jan 2013