South Korea Ranks Low in Global Reputation Index: Why?

The Reputation Institute has, again, listed Korea as the second lowest rated country in Asia and one of the lowest in its world rankings for global reputation.

The ranking heavily relies on impressions of individuals polled in Korea and throughout the world.

The three main components of the survey include:

  • “Appealing Environment” (enjoyable country, appealing lifestyle, friendly people and natural environment); 
  •  “Advanced Economy” (global culture, global brands, workforce, and quality of products); and, 
  •  “Effective Government” (effective government, openness to investment, and efficient workforce)

If you live in Korea, the reasons for the low rankings become immediately obvious.

Korea can be a great place to live and do business, but overall neighboring countries are much more concerned with having an “appealing environment,” “advanced economy” and an “effective government.”  This leads to Korea being perceived low in the eyes of Koreans and foreigners when compared to other nations.

Improved rankings have been shown to contribute to increased tourism, FDI, and the improvement in citizen satisfaction with government and society.

The Korean government, facially, has made efforts to improve the national image of the country, but all efforts, according to the survey, have failed.

Appealing Environment

  • Seoul is, overall, a great place to live, however, outside the major cities few cultural, employment and social opportunities are available.  This is why most Koreans and foreigners live in the Seoul region.
  •  Recently, Koreans, during sporting events have held up signs congratulating Japan for the earthquake.  Koreans are often incredibly nationalistic, insensitive to outsiders and xenophobic. 
  •  Koreans have a reputation for being incredibly impolite to those in the service industry in Korea and abroad.  
  •  Koreans, often react to occurrences in a very irrational manner (U.S. beef issue, crimes by U.S. military personnel and foreign relations).
  • Koreans, often, treat “poorer” Asians as subhuman.
  • Korea has the highest suicide rates in the OECD.  Yes, the rate is now higher than Japan.  The former Korean president, even, committed suicide. This occurrence may have contributed to the recent increase in the suicide rate over the past half decade.

Advanced Economy

  • Korea has a few noted brands, however, these brands are often not recognized as Korean brands.
  • Most of the major brands are involved in peculiar and illegal activities through their executive management. 
  • Korean unions, often, engage in violent strikes over issues that would be resolved peacefully in most neighboring nations.
  • The major Korean products are generally well made, but mid-size companies often produce poor quality products and engage in unique business tactics with customers. 
  • Korea is still a manufacturing country with only a handful of true innovative products.

Effective Government

  •  Fist fights in the halls and the floor of the National Assembly in Korea are commonplace.
  •  Most Korean politicians are without any ideology other than the ideology of self-preservation.
  • The government still has anti-foreign capital sentiment (Lone Star).
  • The Korean government is, often, more reactive than proactive (flooding, subway fires and building/bridge collapses). 
  • The Korean bureaucracy is bloated, bold and inefficient.

The good news is that we in Seoul see improvements each year.   The bad news is drastic improvements will take a drastic change in education, government and in the powers than be.

What do you think?

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