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AmCham Korea chairman offers tips for expanding business in US

James Kim, chairman and CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, shared his insight into doing business in the US at the Global Business Forum, highlighting the need to understand the two countries’ different dynamics. The forum was hosted by The Korea Herald on Wednesday in Seoul.

In his special lecture, titled “Act to Win: How to Connect Korea and the US,” he said Korean companies should understand their selling points to expand business opportunities in the US, especially at a time when the Korean Wave has been drawing the limelight across the globe.

Touting the US and Korea as “indispensable economic partners,” Kim said it was critical to understand the two countries’ different dynamics, including their backgrounds and ecosystems.

“In Korea, the largest (share,) 17 percent of the country’s GDP comes from Samsung, while in the US, the largest 2.6 percent comes from retail chain Walmart. This shows how highly concentrated the Korean market is,” Kim said.

Giving an example of a business ecosystem in the US with keywords such as interactivity, diversity, privacy and independence, he stressed the need to “act like a local.” On the contrary, Korean culture is marked by a “hurry hurry” mentality, patriotism, leadership based on seniority and more than 60 percent of citizens living in the greater capital area.

“It is definitely good timing for us. Korea’s brand is the best it has ever been,” he said.

“It is going to make your job and business, easier at a time when the K-wave is blooming.”

Also giving an example of South Korea’s top conglomerates -- Samsung, SK, Hyundai -- making investments in recent months, Kim said “an amazing partnership is to come” with President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol taking office.

“I’m super excited as a Korean American to support business more in the two countries. If you learn how to sell and work on it, America is a new opportunity for business.”

The Global Business Forum is a 13-week program involving lectures from market-moving business leaders and experts across industries. About 80 CEOs and executives are attending this year’s forum, which kicked off April 27 with an emphasis on bolstering readiness for the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

By Kim Da-sol (
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Korea Herald daum