Market entry strategy for exports to South Korea

Our local teams plan & execute

If South Korea is a relatively unknown market for you, you need a clear market entry strategy. This may be different from the strategies you have used so far, as the market structure and the competition is different.

Alliance experts helps you to develop your market entry strategy on the go. We scan the market, launch your product and grow your sales, constantly monitoring the responses and improving your approach.

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Oppportunities for international business in South Korea

South Korea has a population of about 52 million as of 2023. Known for its economic miracle, technological advancements, and vibrant culture, South Korea is a significant global player.

With a GDP per capita of approximately $31,000 USD in 2023, South Korea’s economy is heavily driven by exports. Major industries include electronics (like smartphones and TVs), automobiles, shipbuilding, and steel. The country is also a leader in technological innovation and digitalization.

1. Understanding the Korean Cultural Landscape

Before making any business move, it’s crucial to understand the cultural nuances of South Korea. Respect for hierarchy, the importance of relationship-building (or ‘guanxi’), and the value of face-saving are deeply ingrained in Korean business culture.

  • Business Etiquette: Business meetings often start with light conversations, and it’s essential to show respect to the eldest or the highest-ranking individual. Gift-giving is a common practice and is seen as a gesture of goodwill.
  • Communication Style: While many Koreans speak English, especially in the business community, having marketing materials and contracts translated into Korean can be a significant advantage. It shows respect and commitment to the local market.

2. South Korea Regulatory and Legal Framework

South Korea has a transparent legal system, but it’s essential to be aware of the regulatory environment, especially concerning foreign investments.

  • Foreign Investment Promotion Act (FIPA): This act provides benefits and incentives for foreign investors, such as tax breaks and guarantees on foreign investments.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Rights: South Korea has stringent IP laws, and it’s crucial to register patents, trademarks, and copyrights to protect your business assets.

3. Market Research and Segmentation

South Korea has a diverse consumer base with varying preferences. Conduct thorough market research to understand:

  • Consumer Preferences: South Korean consumers are tech-savvy and are often early adopters of new technologies. They value high-quality products and are willing to pay a premium for them.
  • Competitive Landscape: Identify your competitors, their market share, and their strategies. This will help in positioning your product or service effectively.

4. Entering the Korean market

There are several ways to enter the South Korean market:

  • Direct Export:This is the most straightforward approach, where you sell directly to the end consumer or through distributors.
  • Licensing or Franchising: This involves granting a local business the rights to produce or sell your product or service.
  • Joint Ventures: Partnering with a local company can provide access to their distribution channels, local knowledge, and resources.
  • Setting up a Local Entity Establishing a subsidiary or a branch office in South Korea allows for more control over operations but requires a significant investment.

5. Building Local Partnerships in South Korea

Building strong relationships with local partners, be it distributors, suppliers, or other stakeholders, is crucial. Local partners can provide insights into market trends, consumer behavior, and regulatory changes. They can also help in navigating the complexities of the Korean business environment.

Why enter the market in South Korea with us?

We know the market from inside-out

We work with local teams, who already know the market, speak the language and know the business culture.

We are active in over 30 countries

We can compare different markets and as we can help you in all of them, we only favor the market that may work out best for you.

You Reduce your risks

We help you avoid cultural misunderstandings, compliance issues, and other risks associated with entering a new market.

Try our services in South Korea

Our structured approach: scan - Launch - Grow

The best way to learn about a market is to start reaching out and adjust your sales pitch on-the-go. This is what we do in our Scan-Launch-Grow approach. 

1st month

We scan the market

We dive into your product and what sales strategy has worked for you in other countries. We show you offering to various potential distributors or customers to collect feedback. And we review your competition so that we can determine the best market entry strategy. 

2nd month

We launch your product

Together with you we develop a first pitch for your target group. We extend our long-list of potential targets further and start reaching out, getting to the right decision makers and pitching your product. And we discuss the results with you, in order to optimise your strategy further.

3rd and next months

We grow your sales

We keep searching for new distributor candidates or clients and reach out to them. We also follow-up on previous contacts we had and on leads that you bring in. We introduce you to interested parties, but we can also support in meetings or close deals on your behalf. Every month we review our results.

Customer Experiences

” Invaluable local insights led to great distributor matches. Their approach revolutionized our market entry strategy. Highly recommend! “
Francis Huang

Francis Huang

Würth

” Alliance Experts’ tailored strategies boosted our Europe market presence phenomenally. Exceptional service, highly recommended! “
Jing Zhang

Jing Zhang

Kamtec

” Alliance experts has helped us with clear insights in a market which was relatively new to us. Even under difficult circumstances they found good dealer candidates. “
Alliance Expert found distributors for Harley Davidson

Vitello Benevetti

Harley Davidson

” Outstanding service! Found the perfect partners in within a few months. Our international sales skyrocketed thanks to their expertise. “

Mehmet Aksoy

RR Engineers

” Alliance Experts strongly supported our growth in African markets. Innovative, effective strategies, and superb communication. “
James Martin

James Martin

Brabantia

” During our cooperation Alliance experts showed an effective approach and tracking, professionalism and provided the services reliably and on time. “
Nouraldine Banaeinejad

Nouraldin Banaeinejad

CAN Home appliances

Companies we have helped with market entry strategy

Le Joyau d’Olive
Apart Group
EEPC India
Brabantia
Molarclean
Verantis
Oklas
Golden Red Trade Solution
Topdesk
CAN Home appliances

We are active in over 30 countries