Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Crippling Business in Korea

Korean newspapers have recently been full of allegations of horrible pricing. Foreign auto parts can be expensive if bought in Korea (link). Even the yet-to-be-opened Ikea has been criticized with front-page news stories: some product prices may be higher in Korea than elsewhere.

Korea: Welcome to Capitalism!

This populist criticism is stupid, and a form of protectionism. Korea embarrasses itself. Foreign companies wanting to do business in Korea must recognize the discriminatory system. Kentucky Fried Chicken and Lone Star (link) have suffered from this xenophobia and foreigner-bashing.

Of course prices are different internationally. Companies typically seek to charge whatever they can get - and they price strategically. Some products are cheap. Others are expensive - Don't buy when you don't wish to pay...

Outside Korea, small dishes of kimchi, namul and banchan (반찬) cost money at Korean restaurants -- inside Korea, these side dishes are usually free - provided at no cost, and with generous refills.  Should restaurants worldwide be forced to give those foods away, because they're free in Korea? Does this mean Korean restaurant owners operating in Europe and the USA are evil and should be punished?  Surely not - pricing is a business decision. When a business operator asks too much, they cannot sell their products, and soon will need to close. Search for profit is the (only) reason foreigners launch commercial activities in difficult Korea. That's business.

Wake Up Korea !

Free veggies  (Korea only?)