South Korean Culture In a highly competitive business environment, it is more important than ever to understand the business culture of your target markets. Understanding business culture helps you to understand, anticipate and respond to unexpected behaviour. It also ensures that you behave in an acceptable way and avoid misunderstandings. The South Korean market is a favourite among foreign direct investors.
Many of its customs and traditions still permeate modern-day life, which includes its business culture. They also play a mean game of rugby. A quarter of the population is practising Buddhist many more are non-practisinga quarter is Christian, and at least as many believe in the shamanist principle that the world is inhabited by spirits that live in nature and that can be summoned or placated through rituals involving incantation, music and dance.
Woven into all these beliefs is a powerful strand of Confucianismwhich emphasizes the importance of family, the authority of elders and of ancestor worship.
As in many Asian societies, eldest sons are expected to financially support the family and to carry on the family name by marrying and having sons of their own. Children are raised to believe they can never repay their debt to their parents, hence the popularity of ancestor worship.
Ancestral ceremonies for the previous three generations parents, grandparents, and great grandparents are held several times a year. There are rules of protocol when greeting a Korean, although they are not quite as set in stone as those in Japan.
A person of lower status bows to a person of higher status but the most senior person will offer the handshake that follows after the bow a good example of the Korean taste for mix-and-match.
A smile and a handshake usually do the trick, plus a business card.
However, make sure that you wait to be introduced at a social gathering and when you leave, say good-bye and try to give a short bow not a Mr. Bean parody to everyone present. Remember that women also require a handshake and bow, although the Confucian ethic still relegates women to a lower position in Korean society than men.
Women usually appear quiet and submissive in public. In reality, women wield considerable power behind the scenes, often managing the family finances and wellbeing and they are increasingly visible at management level.
An interesting difference to other Asian countries is that a Korean may very well look you straight in the eye when presenting himself. This is possibly explained by the extreme emphasis Koreans place on the importance of the visual.
Koreans will draw initial conclusions about you based also entirely on what you look like.
So remember to keep up your standards of personal branding so that your project the kind of stylishness, confidence and culture that is so much part of modern Korean life. Business card etiquette in Korea is much the same as in the rest of Asia.
Present the card in both hands with the Korean translation uppermost and the characters facing your counterpart. Be respectful with it. Kibun literally means mood or inner feelings. Any damage to kibun damages the business relationship.
The best way to handle kibun is not to demand yes or no answers, as in Japan, and to accept the need for slow consensual decision-making. Contradicting someone openly, criticising them in front of someone else or patronising them are a sure way to lose business.
Always give face through sincere compliments, showing respect or doing something that raises self-esteem. If you remember these 3 must-knows you will be on your way to forming the kind of long-term business and personal relationship that is the key to doing business in South Korea.
Grab your FREE report and audio kit:In this regard, Korea is an optimal location for doing business with China (the largest market in the world), and Japan (the world’s 2 nd biggest economy).
North Asia is home to 25% of the world’s population and generates 22% of its GDP. South Korea is ranked 4 among economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. The rank of South Korea improved to 4 in from 5 in Ease of Doing Business in South Korea averaged from until , reaching an all time high of 23 in and a record low of 4 in While South Korea's place in the global business circuit has made changes to the way that business is generally conducted in the country, there is still an elaborate system of hierarchy that imbues business culture that is based on position, age, prestige and, to an extent, gender.
While South Korea's place in the global business circuit has made changes to the way that business is generally conducted in the country, there is still an elaborate system of hierarchy that imbues business culture that is based on .
The South Korean government has imposed heavy restrictions on doing business with North Korea under the National Security Act. In addition, there were restrictions on engaging in financial transactions with Iran under the Foreign Exchange Transactions Act.
A detailed guide on doing business in and with South Korea. The guide contains information on: challenges of doing business in South Korea; growth potential of .