Five Businesses to Avoid in Korea

We get a number of hare-brained foreigners that have requested advice on the opening of some peculiar businesses.  Here are a few businesses that we do not advise opening in Korea.

  1.  Farming. Prohibited for foreigners and foreign companies.  For example, the growing of rice and barley is prohibited for foreigners.  The farmers don’t even want to be in this business.  Stay away.
  2. Publishing & Broadcasting.  Prohibited for foreigners to own 50% or more of a publishing company and totally prohibited in the case of radio & TV.  The industry is, also, saturated and the few foreigners operating as a minority shareholder in the publishing industry have faced difficulties in recent years, because of fierce competition for advertisers. 
  3. Raising Dogs for Consumption.  I, actually, had a man call me about this one.  Ignoring that this may be a prohibited business for foreigners, you will, likely, have a few protestors that will make it very difficult to do business.  If you love to eat or watch others eat dogs, we suggest considering a planet that doesn’t have animal protection societies. 
  4. Any Business that is in Direct Competition with the Big Boys.  SHHH. Samsung.  Enough said.
  5. Did I Mention not Competing with the Big Boys?

I was motivated to write this post by my friends over at China Law Blog.  They wrote an article entitled: 4 Chinese Businesses to Avoid that was motivated by an article entitled: Keep Away from the Unicorns: 4 Chinese Businesses to Avoid.

Sean Hayes may be contacted at:

Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked 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. Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw.

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