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Korea is at the heart of Northeast Asia, one of the world’s top three economic regions.

Here are some of the reasons that make Korea one of the most attractive destinations for international investors.

Strategic Location: As of 2017, the population of the Northeast Asia is 1.6 billion generating about 25% of the global GDP. Within 2,000 km distance from Korea, a global market with 61 cities and 498 million consumers is located. China, Japan and Korea are the important business hub in Asia for the expansion of business. Located between China and Japan, the world’s second and third-largest economies, respectively, Korea is within a 3-hour flight distance from 147 cities with a population of more than 1 million. At Incheon International Airport, 98 airlines operate flights to 196 cities in 54 countries, including direct flights to 41 cities in China and 24 cities in Japan. As the port of Busan, a hub port in Korea, is located at the center of major sea routes, a total of 455 regular routes for container vessels pass through Busan, with 62.5 to China, 79 to Japan, 105 to Southeast Asia, and 111 to North Ameria (*Source: Busan Port Authority). Through its ports in Incheon, Gwangyangman, and Saemanguem, Korea will emerge as the center of logistics for Northeast Asia as its logistics network is connected with that of Japan and the volume of Milk run (a round trip logistics that facilitates distribution or collection) with China increases.

Korea to Eurasia

As Arctic shipping routes open up, Korea is poised to become a logistics hub for the greater Eurasia region. The polar route running from Busan through Vladivostok and on to Rotterdam is expected to reduce the travel distance by 7,000 km, shipping time by more than 10 days, and shipping rates by more than 15%.

Number One in the World

Korea is a global leader in a wide range of industrial sectors. Already, 223 Fortune 500 companies have entered Korea, and are working with local businesses to increase their global market share. Traditionally, Korea is a powerhouse in the manufacturing industry, with exceptional technological ability and production capacity. It maintains the world’s largest market share in high-tech manufacturing for semiconductors, smartphones and displays, and prides itself in being a top 10 nation in terms of manufacturing competitiveness. (Source: Deloitte, global manufacturing competitiveness index 2016)

​Korea is preparing for the industrial era of the future on a foundation of strong competitiveness in manufacturing and technological capabilities that meet or exceed global standards. It is to take pre-emptive response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and take active measures to the paradigm shift of the industry. It continues to make bold investments and support in a long-term perspective. In 2018, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy designated future vehicles, new businesses of energy industry, IoT-based home appliances, bio/healthcare and semi-conductors/displays as projects for innovation and growth, and is preparing and pursuing a variety of promotional policies.

Global FTA Platform: Korea is the only Asian economy that has signed FTAs with all three of the world’s largest markets - the European Union, United States and China. Korea’s global FTA network with 52 partner countries forms the third largest market in the world. Companies from Korea can enter the markets of developed countries by capitalizing on Asia’s strengths.

Innovation nation

Korea is a global innovation leader in a broad range of fields, including ICT platforms and process innovation. Korea has ranked 1st on the Bloomberg Global Innovation Index 2018 for five years in a row, a ranking of the world’s 50 most innovative countries carried out by Bloomberg. Korea ranked especially high for R&D spending, education and patents. This culture of innovation is another reason so many companies have invested in Korea.

Korea is a pioneer in the information and communications and technology sector. According to the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Measuring the Information Society Report 2017, Korea ranked the second among 176 countries in the annual ICT Development Index (IDI). Korea’s ICT innovation extends beyond information and communications technology, enabling ICT convergence across a broad spectrum of fields, including bio, finance, logistics, tourism and culture. Competitiveness of global Korean companies like Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, and Hyundai Motor is built on their ability to maintain and improve their manufacturing processes in a timely and precise manner. The manufacturing capability based on Korea’s process innovation will provide opportunities for domestic and foreign companies that wish to capitalize on process innovation capability.

Affordable, reliable utilities

Korea’s power, water, and telecommunications infrastructures are among the best in the world. Electricity is reasonably priced and reliable, while industrial-use water is also readily available from regional sources in most cases. Mobile broadband service is available nationwide, as is sameday wired or wireless service provisioning.

Korea’s IPR protection efforts

Korea’s advances in the protection of intellectual property ​rights are the result of aggressive, concerted efforts by the Korean government over many years. The patent examination process has been streamlined, resulting in examination periods that are significantly shorter than those of other developed nations, such as the United States and Japan. This combination of robust IPR protection and speedy patent-related services is another reason Korea is a safe and secure investment environment for foreign investors.

Business-friendly investment environment

Korea provides an ideal environment for business success: world-class infrastructure, intellectual property rights protection, high quality of life, FDI-friendly government policies, one-stop investment services and more. In the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report, Korea was ranked the 4th easiest place in the world to do business.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Korea

The recent rise in foreign direct investment is attributed to growing capital inflow from investors in emerging countries including China and Middle Eastern nations through the Korea-China FTA, summit diplomacy, and other policy Around 16,000 foreign companies are doing businesses in Korea in a variety of fields including finance, technology, motor vehicles and automotive parts, and medical service. Among them, 223 companies are Fortune 500 Global Enterprises.

Invest Korea: Invest KOREA has 36 overseas offices and 64 investment-promotion specialists around the world to attract more investment. The overseas offices provide information on Korea’s investment environment to potential foreign investors and carry out various investment promotion activities, including investor relations sessions.

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