SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — European companies operating in South Korea view it as an attractive market but think the country is not always an easy place to do business, a poll showed Tuesday.
According to the annual survey of 108 firms, South Korea is and will continue to be important economically, although some areas need to be improved to build a better business environment.
The companies, representing a combined workforce exceeding 30,000 and a total turnover of 28 billion euros (US$34 billion), answered the survey that was conducted by the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ECCK).
According to the survey, 44 percent of companies said that the South Korea market is strategically important and 47 percent of them stated that this position will not change for the foreseeable future.
Also, 54 percent of the responding companies said they are planning to expand their operations in the country this year, the ECCK said.
On the other hand, 61 percent of the respondents said they feel that doing business in South Korea has become more challenging compared with two years ago, the latest findings showed.
The respondents pointed to rising labor costs, ambiguous rules and regulations, as well as various market access barriers as tough challenges.
“The challenges ahead for (South) Korea, and all industry players, both domestic and foreign, are considerable,” ECCK Secretary General Christopher Heider told reporters in Seoul, further hoping that the survey serves as a useful tool for business people and policymakers to make future-oriented decisions that can benefit all sides.
The survey, the third of its kind, was conducted in November 2017 to gauge European companies’ perceptions toward the business environment of South Korea. In partnership with Roland Berger Seoul, the ECCK, along with 11 other European chambers and business councils, collectively set up the survey.