×

Six Markets to Watch: South Korea

The Backwater That Boomed

Won love: a poster depicting South Korean currency, Seoul, November 2004. Kim Kyung-Hoon / Courtesy Reuters

South Korea’s development over the last half century has been nothing short of spectacular. Fifty years ago, the country was poorer than Bolivia and Mozambique; today, it is richer than New Zealand and Spain, with a per capita income of almost $23,000. For 50 years, South Korea’s economy has grown by an average of seven percent annually, contracting in only two of those years. In 1996, South Korea joined the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the club of rich industrialized countries, and in 2010, it became the first Asian country and the first non-G-7 member to host a G-20 summit.

To call South Korea an emerging market, therefore, is a bit of an anachronism. The country is a rich, technologically advanced, mature democracy with an impressive record of innovation, economic reform, and sound leadership. Yet South Korea is not exactly a developed market, either. The value of its exports plus imports (

Loading, please wait...

This article is a part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, please subscribe.

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.

Continue