Korea Overseas Investment Guide | Review of business law in Asia

Iver the past few decades, the South Korean economy has undergone a radical change. One of the most digitized and advanced countries, the country has transformed into a technological powerhouse thanks to large conglomerates and government efforts to leverage startups to create disruptive innovation. As the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution progresses, the delicate balance between big business and new startups will become increasingly important.

Chae Jooop
Senior Vice President of KICA,
General Counsel and Vice President of SK Biopharmaceuticals,
International Referee at KCAB International

However, the country has not always welcomed startups. This recent development is due to government support programs such as the Startup Technology Incubator Program, which matches promising startups with government funding. In 2021, venture capital investment in South Korean startups rose 78% year-on-year to KRW 7.7 trillion ($5.9 billion), according to the Ministry of SMEs and Startups.

Following the reclassification of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development which took advantage of South Korea’s status as a developed economy last year, the country has been making every effort to maximize the products of export once the world reopens, after the pandemic. The government has shifted its priority to developing more advanced equipment for automotive, electronics, steel, mobile devices and semiconductors, among other industries, strengthening its collaboration with key industry players. .

According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, South Korea’s outbound investment in 2021 increased 32.8% from the previous year to a record high of $75.9 billion. . Regardless of the unprecedented pandemic that began in 2019, foreign direct investment (FDI) by South Korean companies is steadily increasing. The country’s outward FDI in 2021 was more than double the $29.5 billion of inward investment in the country in the same year.

Due to a dramatic decline in birth rates and the inevitable demographic cliff, South Korean companies will strive to expand their reach to foreign countries. Consequently, FDI will become increasingly important.

US President Joe Biden chose the Samsung chip complex in the city of Suwon as his first stop during his visit to South Korea in May this year. Samsung is expected to invest $17 billion in Texas to build a new chip manufacturing plant. Hyundai has also pledged at least $10 billion in investment in the United States for electric vehicles, batteries and related technologies. Another conglomerate, SK, paid $410 million to buy a stake in a Vietnamese conglomerate and will invest $52 billion in the United States by 2030. These investment plans show how South Korean companies plan to increase FDI.

It is a great honor to write a foreword again for the 2022 edition of Korea Outbound Investment Guide. I am also very happy to see that Review of business law in Asia is firmly committed to helping South Korean companies’ FDI.

It is remarkable that Review of business law in Asia is about to update the Korea Outbound Investment Guide in collaboration with prestigious law firms around the world to keep pace with recent environmental changes in FDI. Many South Korean companies have been eager for legal advice to help them make sound and well-informed decisions about their investments. I sincerely hope that this guide will act as a compass for these companies and contribute to the prosperity not only of Korean companies investing abroad but also of the countries receiving FDI from these companies.

Korea Association of In-house Lawyers (KICA)
301-2, 20, Seocho-daero 45-gil
Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Email: [email protected]


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