Ms. Cecile Dekeuwer Esq. who worked as a lawyer in Seoul at a big Korean law firm Kim and Chang and also as a legal officer of LG Electronics France, and Victor Voreux, a French legal counsel of South Korea origin who is a D2K legal intern, were interviewed by TV5 Monde for the TV program transmission « 24h chrono à l’international – Seoul » (24 in international – Seoul).
South Korea is a very attractive country to close a deal with a local partner or even to set up a business. The country brings together many ecosystems with some innovative start-ups. However, the Korean advancement in research and innovation is gaining notoriety.
A French entrepreneur will think that he can set up a company in Korea provided he has an innovative idea with some resources. However, it is not the case in Korea. Although it is not a legal requirement in Korea, it is necessary to have a large amount of money to create a legal structure to invest as well as develop the business strategy. Doing business in Korea depends mainly on the strong ties between business personnel which is also embedded in the Korean culture. The professional network is indispensable to manage the business project.
Hence, it is advisable to be assisted by French and Korean bi-cultural experts for the business establishment in Korea in order to benefit not only an expertise essential to the success of the project but also a local interlocutor who can facilitate the immersion by professionals of his local network, indispensable for the business success in Korea.
In addition, Koreans are considered as a highly skilled workforce. Labor law is somewhat more permissive and the rules governing taxation do not diverge significantly from France, except that the tax burden is lower, with corporate taxes ranging from 11% to 24% per unit according to the revenues of the company in Korea.
Having knowledge of South Korean culture is a prerequisite. Seoul, a city with mixture of both traditional and modern culture, is a hyper-connected city with a superfast and ubiquitous Wi-Fi network anywhere in the city, be it on the street or in the underground. Setting up an innovative start-up or the collaboration or partnership with a South Korean Company is completely possible with their fast Wi-Fi services, advanced technology and diverging fashion trends. Therefore, making a product or setting up a service can be overwhelmed within a short period.
The wave of South Korean culture, also known as “Hallyu” is a significant component of a Korean society. In addition to the sectors of innovation and cosmetics, companies advertising “Made in France” in the pastry and luxury sectors are also doing well in South Korea.
It is important for the entrepreneur to be interested in Korean culture for his or her potential business involvement in South Korea. Therefore, the entrepreneur should respect it and also try to gain a better understanding of how to make business in Korea or else Koreans will not require a foreigner to comply with their local practices.