What’s the “Korea Discount”?

According to an article in the Korean edition of the Jungang Ilbo today [EXPIRED LINK REMOVED: https://article.joins.com/article/article.asp?total_id=3534449], a recent survey of national brands put the value of Korea’s “brand” at 33rd, coming in behind India, China and 30 other countries. The Korean government believes this translates into a 30% discount on Korean products sold overseas, meaning that Korean companies selling the same items can only command 70% of the price that products sold by companies of “non-discounted” countries earn.

According to President Lee Myeong-bak, even as Korea becomes richer and achieves its goals of per-capital GDP of $30K and $40, the country must find ways to become more respected, too, and that this is more than just promoting Korean foods, styles and martial arts overseas. In fact, the viewpoint meshes closely with the government’s efforts to develop Korea as a major player in the Asian business scene, which, as a precondition, requires that more foreigners want to live and work in Korea.

The government has set a goal of achieving a “brand value” for Korea at the ranking of 15, moving up 18 places, within five years through a number of formal initiatives, including the following:

  1. Sharing the lessons of Korea’s economic development with other developing countries
  2. Expanding the exchange of foreign students
  3. Building a stronger network among ethnic Koreans living overseas
  4. Developing a stronger global awareness among citizens
  5. Promoting the Korean “brand” internationally

The government’s slogan for this is “Gyeom-Dda-Mah-Dah”, each syllable of which is the first syllable in the key words of a Korean phrase (“겸손하고 따뜻한 마음으로 다가가기”) that translate to “Getting Closer with a Modest and Warm Heart”. (It sounds better in Korean.)

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