The following was extracted from a recent interview with me about how to build a business in a Korean company.
“Knowing Korea has a reputation for being difficult, what do I need to be “warned about” when it comes to working with vendors, suppliers, and service providers in Korea?”
“We’ve covered this at length on KBC too, in particular in our interviews with Peter Bartholomew, Peter Underwood and Tom Coyner (all of which are available for free in the KBC community.)
Perhaps the #1 challenge foreigners face is in the different concept of contracts in Korean business culture. While Korean multinationals operate at global standards, once you get down to the small to medium-sized company levels, you’ll find that agreements often require ongoing attention and interpretation. This is also why business networking is so important and why knowing how to build and maintain business relationships in Korea the right way is a key success factor.
I would also point out that Korean customers frequently have exceptionally high expectations for the speed and quality of service and you should be prepared to provide these in order to compete effectively.
Finally, in the consumer market particularly, there’s a fine line between an interest in foreign products, and a preference for local goods. Therefore, aligning your marketing message to the local market is a crucial step.”