Korea has ranked 1st on the Bloomberg Global Innovation Index 2015, a ranking of the world’s 50 most innovative countries carried out by Bloomberg. Korea ranked especially high for R&D spending, education and patents. This culture of innovation is another reason so many companies have invested in Korea.
Korea is a pioneer in the information and communications sector. In 2014, the nation was ranked second in the International Telecommunication Union’s annual ICT Development Index (IDI), a composite measurement of the level of ICT access, use, and skills of 166 countries. Also in 2013, Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute was ranked first for the third straight year on the U.S. business patent advisor IPIQ’s Innovation Anchor Scorecard. Korea’s ICT innovation extends beyond information and communications technology. It provides a fertile environment for ICT convergence innovation across a broad spectrum of fields, including automobiles, shipbuilding, finance, logistics and culture.
The manufacturing capability based on Korea’s process innovation will provide opportunities for domestic and foreign companies that wish to capitalize on process innovation capability.
In the World Bank’s Doing Business 2015 report, Korea was ranked the 4th easiest place in the world to do business. Korea provides an ideal environment for business success: world-class infrastructure, intellectual property rights protection, high quality of life, FDI-friendly government policies, one-stop investment services and more.
A prosperous nation of 50 million and with a GDP exceeding USD 24,000, Korea is now one of the world’s top-10 economies in terms of foreign reserves, exports, and total trade. The fact that the major products used by Korean consumers have a high market share in global markets is a key reason global company in the IT, food, household goods, fashion, game and film industries have chosen Korea as a test-bed market.
Korea is at the heart of Northeast Asia, one of the world’s top three economic regions, Major cities within 3,000 km of Korea’s Incheon International Airport. Located between China and Japan, the world’s second and third largest economies, respectively, Korea is within a 3 hour flight of 147 cities with a population of more than 1 million. As of 2014, Northeast Asia population of 1.5 billion accounts for 21% of the global population and generates 21% of the global GDP. As Arctic shipping routes open up, Korea is poised to become a logistics hub for the greater Eurasia region. The polar route running from Busan through Vladivostok and on to Rotterdam is expected to reduce travel distance by 7,000 km, shipping time by more than 10 days, and shipping rates by more than 15%.
More than 400,000 Koreans work in the field of R&D, which means there are 12.4 researchers for every 1,000 people in Korea’s economically active population. Korea has a significantly lower labor turnover rate than do China and Hong Kong. This combination of low turnover and industriousness is why Korea’s manufacturing labor productivity has risen faster than any other country’s over the past decade.
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