Korea Change

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South Korea is at a turning point. The country is one of the economic miracles of the twentieth century, transforming itself from extreme poverty at the end of the Korean War to one of the richest nations in the world. The government supported families to establish huge ‘chaebol’ companies which are now world renowned names such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG. These companies epitomise the development of South Korea as a nation – Samsung started as a general store and is now one of the largest manufacturers of smartphones in the world.

However South Korea is now the country with the highest suicide rate in the world. The Koreans work the longest hours in the OECD group of rich nations and these chaebol companies are no longer creating enough jobs. Are these signs of a society in stress?

In Global Business this week, Peter Day travels to Seoul to find out about the Korean government’s strategy to solve these economic issues: ‘The Creative Economy’. Korea aims to become Asia’s ‘start-up nation’ in the next three years, and is throwing vast sums of money into the technology sector to encourage people to become entrepreneurs. But this is a career choice that has until recently been dismissed in South Korean society. Can a government change a culture?

How is the ‘creative economy’ working out? And what does Korea’s experience tell other nations, such as China, which are en route to transform from a developing economy to a rich, established one?

Release date:

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29 minutes

Last on

Sun 9 Mar 2014 11:32 GMT

Contributors to this programme

Kim Sang-Joice"

Professor of Economics at Hansung University & Chairman of ‘Solidarity for Economic Reform’



Soonyong Park

President of the National IT Industry Promotion Agency



Jungwook Lim

Managing Director of Startup Alliance Korea



Hardworking commuters in the Seoul subway



Yong Joon Hyoung

Serial Entrepreneur; Co-founder of the world’s first social network Cyworld



Students at Seoul English Village



David Park & Eyal Victor Mamu

Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of KOISRA: Korea-Israel Business Solutions



Sirgoo Lee

Co- CEO of Kakao Talk



Jake Park & Edward Lee

VCNC (Value Creators and co) the creators of Between



Hyungjin Lee

Managing Director of the Asan Nanum Foundation



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