A colleague of mine brought up a very strong point when we were discussing the effect of the inauguration of President Lee on Monday. There’s been a lot of debate as to whether the new president will lead Korea to further bullish growth of the economy (which had been ticking along fairly well under the Roh administration between 4 and 5 percent). In fact, like the way Tiger Woods would swing his way to boosting the US stock market, business confidence is back according to the just posted Korea Times article.
However, the real reason that I’m writing is this: what will be the new administration’s effect on the communications environment in Korea and in particular how that changing environment could effect big multinationals in Korea. My colleague said:
“During President Roh’s administation NGOs were relatively quiet because they felt that Roh was their spokesperson. With Lee in the Blue House, it’s more likely that those same voices will take on a different tone and manner.
“Rather than focusing all efforts on the relationship with an already-supportive Roh administration, it’s the ‘dark voices’ from their perspective that must be engaged. A lot of mulitnational may be viewed and examined with closer scurtiny than they were during Roh’s administration by NGOs. These NGOs need to be engaged in an open and transparent way and multinationals need to work out reciprocal and strategic benefits from this engagement. NGOs and civil groups will play a greater role in our clients’ business during this new administration.”
Good points, well made. In fact, we’ve noticed a decline in trust in NGOs in Korea over recent years through our annual Asia-Pacific Stakeholder Study. When Korean opinion leaders were asked how much they trust a number of institutions, we’ve noted the trust in NGOs and civil groups has fallen by 5 points in 2007 alone from 30% to 25%. Perhaps they’re due a comeback in 2008 and 2009?