Labor competition from Korea's Asian neighbors is leading to Korea becoming a less than favorable place for international and Korean manufacturers. The Korean unions make the situation more dire.
China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and other Asian countries are, in many cases, able to produce products that are of an equal quality to Korean products when the operations are managed by skilled management. Korea, however, in many cases has a technological advantage that allows it to still dominate in certain industries, but the gap is quickly closing.
This reality is worrying to many of us residing in Korea. Increasingly, even Korean companies are choosing to forego investment in Korea for more cost effective and business-friendly destinations.
The issue is personified in the recent clash at a Hyundai Motors plant. A group calling itself the Hope Bus caused the injury of more than 100 people according to reports by local Korean media. Seemingly, they tried to take over the plant.
Hopefully the courts, for the benefit of the Korean economy will sentence the leaders and those engaged in violence to jail sentences.
Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.
Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the only non-Korean to have worked as an attorney for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty.