South Korea Country brief
South Korea is the world’s thirteenth largest economy. Its rapid economic development has been export-led, having inserted itself into the world market in a number of heavy industrial sectors by dint of competitive firms supported by low-cost labour. Successive governments nurtured the development of chaebol, such as Samsung, Hyundai, LG and Daewoo. These family-run conglomerates have dominated the economy since the 1970s.
Increasingly, the country has focused on high-tech industries including electronics, semiconductors, shipbuilding and automobiles. Lately Korea also has huge interest in so-called green growth, covering a range of technology applications addressing improving environmental efficiency, sustainability and quality of life.
South Korea is New Zealand’s fifth largest bilateral trading partner with two-way merchandise trade totalling NZ$3.28 billion in the year ending December 2012. Bilateral trade is balanced and complementary. New Zealand exports approximately NZ$1.55 billion to South Korea. Food and Beverage account for 41 percent (NZ$628 million). Over a half of total exports are commodities for industrial processing such as logs, wood-pulp, methanol, aluminum ingots and scrap metals.
Opportunities for New Zealand businesses
Food & Beverage
Food and Beverage exports to South Korea are approximately $628 million in the year ending December 2012. Dairy products ($193 million) and meat ($205 million) are the largest contributors. South Korea is an important market for kiwifruit and, after the United States, the second largest market for Greenshell mussels. New Zealand wine exports to South Korea are very small; however demand for New Zealand wine is growing as consumers are becoming more aware of and curious to try white wine.

Information and Communications Technology
South Korea is one of the world’s largest and most innovative centres of ICT development. Ubiquitous fast broadband and mobile services, coupled with substantial government and large business investment enables a strong ecosystem for new service development and deployment. Also, digital content development, including for film production, is an area of significant interest in South Korea.

Natural products
South Korea is one of the world’s most advanced cosmetics markets and a cluster of New Zealand companies are seeking to develop a position built on New Zealand’s capability to produce high quality natural skincare products. In addition, South Korea is the largest market for New Zealand deer velvet (worth around $25 million), which is a key ingredient in many traditional medicines.

Education
South Korea is an important export education market with over 15,000 students choosing to study in New Zealand. According to Education New Zealand these students contribute an estimated $350 million to New Zealand. The demand for good quality overseas education is alwaysincreasing. Therefore, this is an area of opportunity for New Zealand education.

Source: NZTE

NZ Export Stats by Country 2012

Partner Country

New Zealand Dollars

% Share

2012

2012

Australia

9908135278

  21.51

China

6859465012

  14.89

United States

4231325130

  9.19

Japan

3210796355

  6.97

Korea South

1554841313

  3.38

United Kingdom

1395012929

  3.03

Malaysia

887581016

  1.93

Hong Kong

869457131

  1.89

Singapore

845186624

  1.83

Indonesia

838465643

  1.82