How should I go about entering the South Korean market?


October 2015

Austrade provides guidance on a range of steps that Australian SMEs looking to export to South Korea can take to help make their transition as easy as possible. Some of these include:

Speak to experts

  • Austrade, the Australian Government’s trade and investment agency, provides a range of services for Australian companies looking to enter the South Korean market
  • Austrade provides advice and support to Australian businesses and can also help you identify possible partners for your business through its network of contacts
  • Austrade also works to promote the Australian education sector within South Korea

Leverage your networks

  • Establishing on-the-ground partners, advisers and suppliers can be invaluable when operating in South Korea, especially if you do not have a local presence
  • Local networks can also be a great source of advice and support
  • The Australia-Korea Business Council is dedicated to building links between the two business communities and is a good place to start for networking with potential business contacts

Consider your finance options

  • Respondents in the Australian International Business Survey 2015 identified access to finance as a potential barrier to doing business in South Korea
  • Your bank may be able to offer you a secure loan or commercial bill facility to help you finance your export contract to South Korea
  • If your bank is unable to help, Efic, Australia’s export credit agency, may be able to

Understand business etiquette

  • We know that SMEs can find the business culture in South Korea daunting
  • South Korean society strongly respects hierarchy and business relationships are often developed through informal social settings
  • South Koreans prefer to conduct business with people they have a personal connection with – it can help if you are introduced to a prospective business associate through an intermediary

We had a quality problem affecting some of our products...we had hundreds of products sitting in a yard in Korea to be repainted. We were able to draw from our agent to get local labour. You have to be able to tap in to that local supply chain somehow to support your product. Aaron Begley, Matrix Composites and Engineering, WA-based manufacturer.