Travels and Korea

First off: apologies for lack of posts during the summer.  Second: let’s not dwell on it.

I’ve been to a good few countries over the last few months and have in turn met a number of journalists in Korea from a number of different locations.  I’ve found the whole experience has lent a good perspective to me and to how Korean business is perceived.  Here’s a few thoughts in not particular from various groups of people I’ve met.  Take them as you like.

London Investment Bankers and Venture Capitalist: they were all nervous about the future, and the impact of the sub-prime issue.  From their viewpoint, they couldn’t see Korea coping if there was  a major US downturn – however, they all had a limited understanding of Korean business.  Of those that had, only one had dealt with a Korean organization and his experience was ‘infuriating’ and the deal he was trying to broker fell through.  He told me he wouldn’t rush into another deal with a Korean organization again.  Overall, they are clouded in their views of Korean business.

Italian business people: they all believe Italy is crippled by internal corruption and are finder it harder to compete in Europe because of it.  The ruling around Hyundai-Kia’s chairman was in the news and they were very keen to ask if Korea was struggling because of internal corruption also?  Their favourite question: was Korea the Asian Italy?

Ireland: on my return home I notice a lot of advertising for Samsung (this was the same during my stopover in Thailand and in Italy) and I noticed a lot more Korean cars on the road.  Korean cars were no longer just seen as value products, but ‘good for money’.  In terms of the advertising I noticed how western they were and how they weren’t Korean, they were ‘global’.  Korea’s reputation for technology was one of the most common things told to me back home.

German journalists: this group of well-travelled journalists were very impressed by the level of technology and service in Korea.  They were also impressed by the design of their hotels and mentioned that they didn’t expect to experience good Italian food in Asia.  Although, they weren’t Italians!


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