The Korea Herald


Newcomers meeting illustrates networking importance

By Korea Herald

Published : Feb. 20, 2012 - 18:39

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The Korean-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry held their first seminar to welcome newcomers on Feb. 13, offering information and advice on doing business in Korea.

“We wanted to give insider views by experienced practitioners and the chamber for the new arrivals in Korea, be it new German companies or executives, Germans or foreigners, who work for member companies of the chamber,” KGCC Secretary-General Jurgen Wohler told The Korea Herald.

During the meeting, the chamber’s directors offered information and advice on some of the challenges of living and doing business here.

Wohler explained that it was hard to find an objective view on the information offered, including benefits for employees, title structure, corporate governance and informal ways of dealing with the authorities.

Concerning daily life, Wohler suggests newcomers deal with the private sector, where there are plenty of options when looking to settle into a long-term posting.
New members of the German Chamber of Commerce listen to vital tips on doing business in Korea.(Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald) New members of the German Chamber of Commerce listen to vital tips on doing business in Korea.(Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)

Newly arrived Ritz Carlton general manager Christopher Clark explained that joining a chamber of commerce when overseas was an important way of establishing business relationships.

“My predecessor was German; I’m American. I need to continue the connection with the German community but also I think that it gives the chance to build relationships which is most important,” said Clark.

Certified Public Consultant for CHS Institute for Management Consulting Ha Sung-sik echoed that sentiment.

“I’m Korean, I stayed in Germany for 24 years, I came back to Korea about two years ago and I would like to broaden my network with German companies,” he said.

Ha added that he was surprised the seminar was held in English. The German chamber said that since it has members from many nationalities, it uses English in meetings unless they are attended by members who only speak German.

“We have a lot more new members (than the 12 who attended), these are those who are available right now, who believe they need the information and want to enjoy being together with others,” Wohler said.

“As a typical expat living and working in Korea, they might be available at best, half to two-thirds of their time in Korea, the rest of the time they have to be with customers or traveling around the region.”

To broaden his network base, Clark has also joined the United States, Australian and European Union chambers of commerce, as many professionals like him do.

“I think that it is very important, for example, many of the hotels here have few expats working for them, so it’s good to have this outreach with colleagues to discuss issues with,” Clark said.

Due to the popularity of this seminar, Wohler noted that his chamber will host welcoming get-togethers, one in the new year and the other around September ― both periods in which newly arrived professionals take up their posting in Korea.

By Yoav Cerralbo (