Investment Attraction of Korea

Korea offers an optimal business environment, with 50 million people, 1.2 trillion in GDP, free trade deals with
the world’s top three economies, and globally competitive human resources and infrastructure.

Best location for breaking into Northeast Asian market

Korea is located at the center of Northeast Asia, which is emerging as the world’s third-largest economic region. Situated between the world’s second-largest economy China and the third, Japan, there are 61 cities with a population of over 1 million within a three-hour flight of Korea. This puts it in the most effective geographical place to break into the Northeast Asian market of 1.5 billion consumers.

Strong FTA networks with major economies

The Korean market is the most attractive business hub in the world. It is Asia’s only nation that has concluded free trade agreements with the EU(2011) , the U.S.(2012) and the China(2015). It has FTAs with 52 countries in the world as of December, 2015, and the combined GDP with those countries amounts to 73.5 percent of world’s GDP. With the signing of an FTA between Korea and China, global investors are able to occupy the Chinese market in advance through Korea, and Chinese companies can reach out to the world market through Korea.

World’s most innovative country in ICT

Korea ranked first in Bloomberg’s 2015 Global Innovation Index among 215 countries in the world. The nation is a pioneer in information and communications technology as well. Korea topped the International Telecommunication Union’s global ICT Development Index among 157 countries in 2013, making it the fourth time in a row that the Asian economy has clinched the top spot. Such innovative ICT competitiveness offers the best opportunity for convergence in various sectors including finance, manufacturing, logistics, tourism and services. The best examples include successful cooperation between Korean and foreign companies in the manufacture of cars and ships equipped with smart technology. Global research institutes in Korea include Microsoft Mobile Innovation Lab, IBM Ubiquitous Computing Lab, Google Engineering R&D Center, Siemens Medical R&D Center and Institut Pasteur Korea.

Globally competitive industries

Korea has global competitiveness in diverse industries. Korean companies are world leaders in semiconductors, TVs, smartphones, shipbuilding, petrochemistry, automobiles, LEDs and steel. More than half of the world’s 500 largest companies compiled by Fortune magazine have already made inroads into the Korean market.


1st 52.4%


1st 37.6%


1st 35.0%


5st 8.8%


5st 5.4%

Korea's global market share by industry as of 2013

※ Source : Invest Korea

Logistics, as intricate as a spider’s web

Korea’s Incheon International Airport offers direct flights to 181 cities through 90 airlines. As the world’s second-largest airport in international freight, the Incheon airport topped the Airport Service Quality survey for the 10th year in a row in 2014. Korea’s main seaport in Busan offers regular containership services to 368 ports worldwide, including 48 in China and 71 in Japan.

Highly skilled manpower

Korea’s highly skilled manpower will support successful businesses for global investors. A whopping 75 percent of a sample of 200 foreign companies in operation in Korea said Korean people had a strong sense of sincerity and responsibility. The percentage of college graduates among those aged between 25 and 34 is 65 percent, the highest among OECD member nations. The R&D workforce has also continued to increase for the past 10 years.

OECD Top-5 College Graduation Rate in 25-34 Age Group

* Source : OECD, 2013

Growth Rate in Korean R&D Workforce

* Source: Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning