LA LETTRE DU KOTRA Janvier 2002 Centre Coréen du Commerce Extérieur et des Investissements


KOTRA PARIS - 36, avenue Hoche - 75008 Paris
Téléphone :  +33 (0) 142 25 09 57 - Télécopie : +33 (0) 142 25 09 50 - email :  
M. Seong-Kuk Hong - Directeur Adjoint 
M. Frédéric Claveau - Chargé de mission


China Altering Korea's Trade Structure
Gov't to Take Proper Measures to Avoid Fallout From Argentine Crisis
South Korea gives positive outlook for economy in 2002
Key Sectors Expected to Recover in 2002
Investors Rushing to Emerging Markets
Vers un accord de promotion des investissements entre la Corée et le Japon
Korea-Japan to Treat Investors from the Other Country Same as Local Business
Institutional Uncertainty: Roadblock to FDI
Foreign Firms to Invest More in 2002
5-day Workweek to Take Effect Next July
Finance, banque et bourse
Merger still top priority for ailing Seoulbank
ING to resume talks with Kookmin
Weakening Yen, Euro Moderates Euphoria Over Quick Recovery
Banks Boost Euro Imports
Newcomers Likely to Increase Competition in Credit Card Market
National Tax Service  probing 41 foreign companies
Technologies de l'information
Gov't to Turn E-business into Export Industry
Gov't to Spend W13 tril. on 77 Technologies
Foreign Firms to Get Tax Breaks for High-Tech Investments
La guerre du mail payant éclate en Corée
Le premier portail coréen lance l'e-mail commercial payant
Korea and Japan mull 4G phone network
Ericsson sells mobile technology licence to Samsung 
En Corée, une télé libérée de la grille
Transports : automobiles et aériens
Automobile : la bonne sante de Hyundai en Corée
Korean Air to buy 11 aircraft next year
Ministry to improve air quality in subway stations 
GM-Daewoo Deal to be Concluded in January 
Lorraine : les usines Daewoo Electronics sur la sellette
La région et l'Etat vont cofinancer un audit des trois usines Daewoo
Hynix augmente à nouveau le prix de ses mémoires
Samsung : les mobiles compensent la faiblesse des mémoires DRAM
Korea's Hanaro says in Talks with Foreign Investors
Air France caters to Korean passengers' needs
Dassault fait le forcing pour vendre le Rafale à la Corée
Dassault's jet bid includes program to sharpen e-warfare capabilities 
Dassault fait le forcing pour vendre le Rafale en Corée
Le Crédit Agricole dans les NTIC coréennes
Crédit Agricole : des vues en Corée
Renault […] progresse […] grâce à Dacia et Samsung 
Renault Samsung set to export cars to China 
Ondéo signe un important contrat en Corée 


Having already surpassed Japan to become Korea's second biggest export destination earlier this year, China is now making inroads into Korea's import market, posting the only growth among Korea's many import partners.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) yesterday, Korea imported $12.13 billion worth of goods from China as of the end of November, which is 3.5 percent higher than last year.

This is the only growth among the country's major import partners, including Japan (-15.9 percent compared to the same period last year), the United States (-24 percent), European Union (-6.8 percent), Middle East (-6.7 percent) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (-11.7 percent).

Accordingly, China's market share here is also growing. Last year, Japan took up 19.8 percent, the United States 18.2 percent and China 7.9 percent, but as of November this year, China snapped up 9.3 percent (+1.4 percent) and the EU 10.5 percent.

By contrast, the markets shares of Japan and the United States shrunk, posting 18.9 percent and 15.9 percent, respectively.

If this trend continues, China may assume over 10 percent of import products in Korea by next year, the ministry said.

By category, clothing goods imported from China shot up 30.6 percent as of the end of November, compared to the corresponding period last year, to $1.55 million. The second and third biggest hikes were coal ($829 million) and computers ($623 million).

Imports of Chinese frozen goods also rose 23.1 percent to $347 million.

Chinese imports posted a mere $2.26 billion in 1990, $7.41 billion in 1995, $8.53 billion in 1996, $10.1 billion in 1997, $6.48 billion in 1998, $8.86 billion in 1999 and $12.79 billion last year.

Total imports from China are expected to reach $13 billion by the end of this year.

"This shows that China's products are improving in quality, but even more that its growth in the world economy is gathering speed," the ministry said, adding that China will alter the trade structures of many countries, Korea included.

China has already replaced Japan to become Korea's biggest export destination after the United States for the first time, a remarkable feat since China wasn't even one of Korea's top 10 export markets in 1990.

On the basis of such strong trends, the commerce ministry recently predicted that, boosted by China's hosting of the 2008 Olympics, trade between China and Korea will reach about $100 billion by 2008, with imports into Korea alone jumping to $56.5 billion.

Meanwhile, China is affecting the trade structure in Korea's tourism sector as well, recently beating the United States to become number two in terms of the number of tourists visiting Korea.

According to the Korea National Tourism Organization (KNTO) yesterday, out of the 4.75 million tourists who visited Korea as of the end of November, Japanese made up 46.8 percent (2.22 million), Chinese 9.3 percent (444,000) and Americans 8.3 percent (395,000).

"This is the first time that the number of Chinese tourists beat American visitors here," a KNTO official said. "And the figure will continue to rise with the 2002 World Cup games being held in Korea next year." Over 600,000 Chinese tourists are expected to visit Korea when the latter hosts Chinese games next year. Source by : Korea Herald (2001. 12. 26)



Economic policymakers have vowed to prevent local shockwaves from Argentina's announcement of a moratorium on its $132 billion of foreign debts, although the Latin American country's crisis is not likely to have a spillover effect on Korea.

The government yesterday held a national economic council meeting to discuss measures to help Korea avoid fallout from the Argentine turmoil.

It formed a task force team on Sunday to take an appropriate policy response to the turmoil in Argentina, which is feared to reverberate throughout global financial markets.

``I believe Argentina's declaration of a moratorium on its debts will have little effect on the Korean economy and its financial markets,'' Deputy Prime Minister Jin Nyum said in a meeting with reporters before attending the council meeting.

However, he pledged to take measures, if necessary, to cope with the Latin American country's debt default in a bid to eliminate uncertainties about the Korean economy and ensure investor confidence in the local financial markets.

Jin said the task force was put into operation to closely watch the development of the Argentine woes.

Lee Myung-kyu, a director of the international finance bureau at the Ministry of Finance and Economy, said that the moratorium will have a limited impact on emerging market economies in Asia, including Korea.

He added that Korea has little financial exposure to Argentina, compared with the United States, European countries and Japan, which have a huge sum of outstanding loans to the debt-ridden country.

South Korean financial institutions were reported to have extended a total of $90 million to Argentina, while domestic businesses made direct investments worth $110 million in the country.

Its exports to the Latin American country were estimated at $440 million last year, accounting for a mere 0.3 percent of the entire exports.

Some analysts even maintained that Korea can serve as a safe haven for international investors, helped by its strong external reserve position, stable foreign exchange rates as well as other solid economic fundamentals and an improving growth outlook for 2002.

``Because investors have difficulty finding a proper place to invest amid the crisis, Korea may appear to be a relatively nice place,'' said Byon Jae- young, chief of the foreign currency monitoring team at the Bank of Korea (BOK).

However, there are some worries that funding costs for Korean firms and financial institutions will rise on international markets as investors are predicted to pull their money from emerging market economies, in a move to reduce their exposure to possible risks amid Argentina's default on its foreign obligations.

Thus, no one can rule out the possibility that foreign investors will reduce their portfolio investments in Korea, forcing the local currency to lose its value and destabilizing local financial markets.

The Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) said in a report on Friday that if Argentina's debt default develops into a longer- term crisis, financial markets in Latin America as well as other emerging market economies might be plunged into chaos.

The state-run think tank expressed concerns that the default might speed up the withdrawal of foreign investment from emerging market economies and bring about instability in global financial markets, raising funding costs for industrializing countries.

It added the crisis is also feared to precipitate a worldwide recession at a time when a global economic recovery is being delayed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. - Source : Korea Times, 24/12/2001



SEOUL - South Korea gave a positive outlook yesterday for its economy next year, citing a recovery in consumption and the government's stimulus measures ahead of presidential polls and the World Cup finals.

In its economic policy report to President Kim Dae-Jung, the finance and economy ministry forecast GDP growth at over four percent in 2002, up from 2.8 percent projected this year.

The ministry's forecast was more positive than the Bank of Korea's 3.9 percent and IMF's 3.2 percent.

To boost domestic demand and cushion weaker exports, the ministry said it will bring forward 65 percent of next year's budget in the first half to June.

In part of the stimulus package, the ministry said the government plans to construct about 550,000 new homes across the country next year.

It said it expected private consumption to rise more than 3.5 percent in 2002 with construction investment up about 6.0 percent.

Finance and Economy Minister Jin Nyum said Argentina's economic crisis would have no serious impact on the South Korean economy.

"We will continue to be wary about the possibility of the Argentine incident spilling over into other economies," he said.

Jin, however, cautioned any attempt by Japan to stimulate its economy through the yen's depreciation would trigger similar steps in other Asian currencies.

"It is not desirable for the Japanese government to try to boost the Japanese economy through a weaker yen because it can trigger a race to devalue currencies in other Asian countries."

With two key elections and two major sports events next year, the ministry said its policy will also focus on containing inflation.

It said it will stabilise the consumer price index at around 3 percent next year, down from 4.3 percent in 2001.

To prevent any consumer price hikes, the ministry said it will raise oil reserves by 9.6 million barrels to 73.5 million barrels next year.

South Korea will hold nationwide polls to elect local government heads in June and the president in December. It will also co-host the World Cup Finals from May 31 to June 30 and host the Pusan Asian Games in June next year.

The ministry said it will pull down the unemployment rate to around 3.5 percent next year from 3.7 percent in 2001. - AFP - Source :, 25/12/2001



As the global and domestic economies slowly recover next year, the majority of leading sectors in Korea are expected to get back on their feet, with the shipbuilding, automobile, information technology and electrical sectors doing particularly well.

However, stiffening trade barriers around the world are predicted to have a great impact on Korean exports, on which the country still relies heavily. Exports of steel and textile products, especially, are destined for tough times due to falling international prices and growing import regulations in the United States and China, industry sources say.

The following are forecasts of major sectors, released in reports by the leading business organization in each industry.

According to a forecast by Korea Iron & Steel Association (KOSA), the steel sector will partly recover, with business in the home market returning to normal but exports remaining subdued.

Domestic consumption (sales and stock) is expected to total 38.71 million tons, a growth of 2 percent from this year, as Korea's shipbuilding sectors continue to prosper.

But exports are forecast to shrink 5.1 percent to 13.19 million tons due to safeguards in the United States and China, making a total consumption increase of just 0.1 percent for next year.

"Things will be better than they could be, though, since China joining the World Trade Organization will help increase Korea's exports of certain steel products there," a KOSA official said.

One of the sectors that performed extraordinarily well this year was shipbuilding, which recorded the most orders in history, though it lost the top post to Japan after having held the "biggest shipmaking nation" title for two years in a row beginning 1999.

The Korea Shipbuilders' Association (KOSHIPA) said that, with production and exports looking to continue at the current rate, major Korean shipbuilders will each post about 10 percent growth in the New Year.

The association estimates total production volume in 2002 to reach 6.5 million CGT (this year 6.2 CGT) and exports $9.5 billion (this year $9.4 billion).

"The growing demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships around the world is greatly boosting the local shipbuilding sector," the KOSHIPA report said.

The machinery sector is also forecast to recover, though by a very small margin. The Korea Association of Machinery Industry (KOAMI) said that the machinery market in Korea will grow 4.8 percent from this year to 185 trillion won.

In detail, production of electrical machinery will grow 5.3 percent to 149 trillion won, domestic sales centering on automobiles 6.8 percent to 136 trillion won and exports 6.9 percent to $40.2 billion, thanks to a rise in shipments to new markets like China.

However, with economic recovery, imports of machinery are expected to grow as well, rising 10.4 percent to $29.3 billion, thus leading to a trade surplus of $10.9 billion.

The textile market, too, is due for a comeback, though probably not until the second half of next year, the Korea Federation of Textile Industries (KOFOTI) said.

According to the federation, exports will grow by 3.9 percent to $16.7 billion as consumer spending recovers in markets like the United States and Japan, along with China becoming active in the WTO and demand soaring in the European Union.

Imports are expected to rise 4.2 percent to $5 billion, production by 3.4 percent to 2.83 million tons while domestic consumption will drop 1.1 percent to $10.1 million tons, the report said.

"The textile sector in the first half will remain uncertain since the economy will just be starting its recovery and the competition among domestic companies worsen. If things get serious, this uncertainty could extend into the second half as well," KOFOTI said.

In the petrochemical industry, the Korea Petrochemical Industries Association (CPIA) predicted that the situation will remain grim in the first quarter due to current overproduction, but business will recover beginning the second quarter due to such major events as the World Cup games, the elections and export recovery.

The association named the following figures: production of three leading petrochemical products up 4.0 percent to 15,774 tons, domestic consumption up 3.9 percent to 9,633 tons, and exports up 3.4 percent to 7,266 tons.

"Special events like the World Cup will boost demand for construction, automobiles and electrical appliances, leading to greater business for the petrochemical sector," a CPIA official said.

Meanwhile, the best news will come in the automobile sector, which will record historical high sales of 3.15 million automobiles, the Korea Automobile Manufacturers' Association (KAMA) said.

According to the association's forecast, production will rise by 3.7 percent, domestic consumption by 4.2 percent to 1.52 million units and exports by 3.2 percent to 1.63 million units.

The export volume is estimated to grow 4.8 percent to $13.6 billion.

"With the world economy not fully recovered yet, more consumers will buy mid-level cars to save expenses, and Korean cars are very competitive in that sector," KAMA said.

The association forecasts that auto exports will be divided in following manner: North America (760,000 automobiles), Western Europe (510,000), Eastern Europe (400,000), Asia Pacific (110,000), Latin America (110,000) and the Middle East (30,000). - Source by : Korea Herlad (2001. 12. 28)



International stock markets, in particular Asian markets, will grow robustly on the optimistic outlook held by many leading foreign investment institutions for the global economy this year, the Korea Center for International Finance (KCIF) said yesterday.

More foreign investment is thus to flow into the Korean stock markets, and those in other emerging markets, such as Taiwan and Indonesia that are expected to continue drawing global investors.

KCIF also said that Korea's economy-boosting policies would take effect in the first half of 2002 facilitating growth in consumption and construction investment in the nation, while exports in the information-technology (IT) sector should also pick up.

And during the latter half of this year, the domestic economy is to pursue recovery based on improving exports and facility investment triggered by the upturn in the global economy and low international oil prices, KCIF said.

The United States is to play a major role in revitalizing the world economy by making the much anticipated V-shaped recovery in the second quarter of 2002, thanks to interest cuts and effective financial policies.

However, actual improvement in the performance records of the global corporate sector is unlikely to be witnessed until the latter half of this year, KCIF said.

Riding on this wave of economic recovery, traditional economy-sensitive stocks and energy stocks are most likely to lead the rise in the stock markets, KCIF said, while tech stocks, including semiconductors are also to make a slow come back.

In terms of stocks, KCIF said investors will favor cyclical stocks or information-technology stocks, rather than defensive issues, but not until the global economic recovery shows significant progress. - Source : Korea Herald (2002. 01. 05)



La Corée et le Japon sont parvenus le 24 décembre à Tokyo à un accord sur le texte d'un traité bilatéral de promotion des investissements. Ce traité, en négociation depuis plus de trois ans, doit encore être signé et ratifié par les deux pays, ce qui devrait intervenir au premier trimestre 2002.

Encourager les investissements japonais en Corée du Sud

Ce traité est conçu par le gouvernement coréen comme un nouvel élément du processus de libéralisation des investissements étrangers entamé en 1998. Il est le premier texte de cette nature négocié par la Corée. Les autres accords bilatéraux signés par la Corée dans le domaine des investissements sont des accords de protection (et non pas de promotion) des investissements. Pour mémoire, un accord bilatéral de protection des investissements a été signé avec la France en 1975. Un autre accord de promotion des investissements est envisagé avec les Etats-Unis.

De manière générale, cet accord vient combler un vide d'autant moins compréhensible que le Japon est devenu l'un des principaux investisseurs étrangers en Corée. Les entreprises japonaises se placent au second rang des investisseurs étrangers (après les Etats-Unis) avec un stock d'investissements de 11,3 milliards de dollars. A l'inverse le montant des investissements coréens au Japon reste limité avec à peine plus de 700 millions de dollars. La perspective d'un tel traité est accueillie positivement par les communautés d'affaires des deux pays. La Corée entend principalement tirer de ce traité une augmentation rapide des investissements japonais en Corée à l'heure où ceux-ci commencent à marquer le pas (au profit de la Chine), après une forte progression au cours des dernières années.

Pas d'avantage décisif pour les entreprises japonaises

Ce traité de promotion des investissements confère aux entreprises japonaises les mêmes avantages que ceux offerts par les différents traités de protection des investissements que la Corée a déjà signés et ratifiés. Il s'agit notamment de l'application du principe du traitement national au profit des entreprises étrangères, de l'octroi d'une juste compensation en cas d'expropriation ou de nationalisation, ou encore du droit de rapatrier librement les bénéfices réalisés par les sociétés implantées sur le territoire de l'autre partie. Le traité négocié avec le Japon ne prévoit pas l'ouverture de secteurs jusqu'ici fermés aux investisseurs étrangers: ces restrictions continuent de s'appliquer, par exemple dans le domaine des médias, de la pêche et de certains secteurs agricoles.

La principale nouveauté consiste en un engagement de ne pas revenir sur les mesures de libéralisation déjà accordées ("effet de cliquet"). La seule dérogation à ce principe concerne les cas d'atteintes à la sûreté de l'état ou l'hypothèse d'une crise économique grave qui permettraient, le cas échéant, de suspendre, à titre provisoire, l'ouverture de certains secteurs. Le traité contient également une clause d'arbitrage en cas de litige entre un investisseur étranger et les autorités locales, alors que les traités de protection des investissements ne prévoient de recours à l'arbitrage qu'en cas de désaccord entre les parties sur l'interprétation du traité. Enfin, une phrase a été ajoutée dans le préambule par laquelle les deux parties s'engagent à prévenir les conflits de travail entre le personnel des entreprises étrangères et leur direction. Cet ajout, purement formel, répond aux inquiétudes exprimées par certains responsables syndicaux coréens vis-à-vis des conditions de travail dans les sociétés japonaises.

Sans apporter d'avantage décisif aux entreprises japonaises, ce traité confirme le réchauffement des relations économiques entre les deux pays. Ce succès pourrait avoir un effet positif sur le démarrage (annoncé mais jamais concrétisé) d'éventuelles négociations relatives à une zone de libre échange entre la Corée et le Japon.

Source : Poste d'Expansion Economique de séoul, M. Alexis Massot - janvier 2002


Korea and Japan concluded the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) on Saturday, which includes the equal treatment of the investors from the other country. The treaty was concluded in 3 years after the two governments agreed to push forward with the treaty in November 1998. The treaty is anticipated to become effective during the first half of next year after the draft goes through final adjustment and the ratification of the National Assembly.

The two governments agreed on the draft at the plenary session of the ninth bilateral negotiation in Tokyo on Saturday. This will become Korea`s first investment accord as well as regional economic accord with another country.

The BIT will not discriminate against investors from the other country by treating them the same as local businesses from the beginning of the investment. Accordingly, the countries will form regulations that will guarantee protection of the foreign investors` rights both during peace and during legal conflicts. In order to guarantee flexible investment activities of foreign investors, the two countries decided to outlaw imposition of obligations, such as exporting duties, using parts made by domestic companies, and transferring technologies.

According to the agreement, investors, managers of the investing companies, and technicians will have the right to enter and stay in other country temporarily. Along with this, the two countries agreed to guarantee the domestic and oversea remittance of the principle for the foreigners` investment and the loss following this. According to the agreement, in the case that the host government has to nationalize or expropriate an investor`s property for public goals, the country will have to pay compensation according to international law standards.

However, the two countries agreed to exempt the following sectors from the open door investment policy: screen quota, national defense, media (newspaper and broadcasting), fisheries, and some agricultural industries like grain and barley farming and cattle breeding.

With regard to labor, which has remained the difficult issue throughout the talks, the two countries decided to include a declaration draft in the BIT. Regarding the financial area, the two countries also decided not to subject the investment related disputes, such as temporary restriction of remittance (safe guard) during the foreign exchange crisis and measures to maintain the balance of financial market, to the procedures that are applied to solve the international dispute.

The government expected that the BIT would bring investment from Japan, activate the Korean companies` entering in Japan, and improve economic cooperation in the East Asia by impacting positively on the Korea-Japan free trade agreement (FTA), which is currently discussed in private level.

The treaty is constituted of 22 articles, an agreed record of proceedings which clarifies the interpretation of the BIT, and the attachment that states the sectors which are exempted from foreign investment, as well as measures. Source : Donga Ilbo (2001. 12. 26)



Common sense tells us that uncertainty, in its various forms, discourages potential investors. The effects uncertainty has on investment decisions could significantly be magnified by the ease of investment retractability and timing considerations. And it is needless to say that FDI inflows are severely affected by uncertainties because foreign investors have multiple options when it comes to choosing an investment destination.

Among the many uncertainties inherent in an economy, some are unavoidable while others are controllable. Although macroeconomic volatility, such as rises in inflation and swings in the real exchange rate, cannot be easily managed, it is possible to remove institutional uncertainty of a country through concerted efforts from major players in the economy.

In the year 2002, Korea will have major elections for local governments as well as the new presidency. And as with every election in Korea, there is a high possibility of growing political confrontations and conflicts based on regional antagonistic sentiments. Although in true democratic countries elections serve as a momentum for unifying a populace and solving conflicts, Korea's experience with political elections is ridden with amplified antagonism among groups and aggravated disruption of regional loyalties. As a result, institutional uncertainty is rising as the election year approaches.

Institutional uncertainty is a broad concept, encompassing many different types of incertitude within the political environment. It is closely related with four kinds of stability: stability of the government, social stability, stability of economic policies, and stability of the relationship between the private sector and the state.

First, government stability is determined by a country's history of government succession or the likelihood of a government staying in power.

Every significant change of executive power is likely to be accompanied by policy changes that introduce an element of skepticism into the institutional framework.

In this respect, if the lame duck status of President Kim Dae-jung is accelerated in the coming year, this could prove to be a major cause of uncertainty. As the balance of executive rule is characterized by a highly concentrated power structure (5-year presidential terms with no reelection), a lame duck president of Korea is more affected than counterparts in other countries.

In Korea, once a president loses actual controlling and coordinating power, the wheels of bureaucracy tend to fall off the axle. As such, government officials are prone to be passive and often postpone major decisions for fear of political backlash from the incoming administration.

Second, social stability is strongly related with labor unrest or other kinds of violent demonstrations. As various interest groups are more inclined to express their voices during times of elections, there is the high possibility that well-organized public interest groups will manifest their demands through violent methods.

With farmers suffering from falling agricultural product prices and intense pressure from the WTO, they have already staged several violent demonstrations on the front steps of the National Assembly. Laborers, especially in public corporations, have persistently shunned the ongoing privatization and restructuring efforts of the government. Yet, if the government were to give up on its privatization policy, FDI attraction - one of its foremost priorities - would be severely damaged through squandered opportunities for direct stock acquisition.

Third, the stability of economic policy is more closely related with uncertainties created by changes in policies rather than in politics. In Korea, frequent appointments of ministers in charge of economic affairs, half-hearted policy volition, and impromptu policy formulation are the main sources of uncertainty. As the President's lame duck standing is accelerated, government policy is destined to be vulnerable to the influence of various groups, such as the opposition party, labor unions, or farmer associations.

As a result, consistent and focused enforcement of policy is inevitably hampered and the normal operation of the government is apt to fall into a staggering loophole under pressure from these various groups. In fact, some economists point out that the financial crisis of 1997 was aggravated by the incompetent and untimely countermeasures of the outgoing lame duck government.

Fourth, the stability of the relationship between the private sector and the state is dictated by private firms' degree of confidence that their property and contract rights will be unarbitrarily enforced. Specifically, the discretionary behavior of the bureaucracy should be restricted.

Hence, incentives for attracting FDI could be in danger of vanishing as the reverse discrimination argument, contending that many government policies favor foreign companies over domestic companies, wins public support. In fact, Korea's current administration has been, hands down, the most proactive in attracting FDI, and has taken a myriad of advanced steps, including legislation reform, introduction of incentives, and provision of grievance resolution services.

Instilling confidence in both existing and potential investors that Korea's current FDI policy will not significantly change under a new government is one of the most important factors for continued inflows of FDI. In this regard, a mutual agreement on sustaining a pro-FDI policy, as well as specific FDI promotion strategies, between the governing and opposing parties could prove to be a key measure for lessening institutional uncertainties.

The Korean economy has increasingly received high evaluations from many foreign economists for its mesmerizing rebound from being a hard-hit victim of the financial crisis of 1997 to re-elevating itself as a sound and competitive economy among developing nations. If Korea sincerely expects to take advantage of this opportunity to raise the bar one notch further, alleviating institutional uncertainty must be prioritized as an indispensable task. - Source by : Korea Times (2001. 12. 27)



Over half the foreign companies operating in Korea say they will make more new investments next year than they did in 2001, sentiment that is a marked contrast to that of most domestic firms. Foreign businessmen cited government bureaucrats and local executives as the two groups that most discouraged new investment in Korea.

The JoongAng Ilbo Economic Research Institute recently surveyed 77 major foreign companies in Korea in cooperation with the American Chamber of Commerce and the European Union Chamber of Commerce.

About 56 percent of the respondents, 43 companies, said that they will expand their businesses in Korea next year either by increasing investments in existing businesses or by entering new industries. Their confidence seemed to be based on healthy revenues this year and an optimistic business outlook for 2002.

Half the respondents said they forecast Korea's economic growth to reach 3 to 5 percent in 2002. This is in line with the government's pledge to pull up next year's gross domestic product growth by 4 percent.

Although less than half of the firms polled said the investment environment for foreigners in Korea improved in 2001, when asked whether they had experienced discrimination while doing business in Korea, about one third of respondents said "almost never." That is significant progress: four years ago, when Korea opened its door to foreign investors in earnest, most firms answered in various surveys that they were faced with discrimination.

The survey respondents grumbled about Korean government officials, executives, and labor unions. When asked to select the groups that are the biggest barrier to drawing more investment to Korea, almost half of the firms selected government officials, followed by Korean business executives at 17 percent and employees at 14 percent.

About one in three foreign companies said they had received demands from government officials for bribes or kickbacks. Five firms said they acceded to the demands; the rest said they refused.

When questioned about the biggest difficulties of doing business in Korea, foreign firms cited complex administrative regulations and labor relations as the biggest nuisances.

High economic growth (27 percent) was selected as the biggest factor attracting investment to Korea, while healthy domestic demand and highly educated human resources were the next two most chosen responses, at around 20 percent each. Source by : JoongAng Ilbo (2001. 12. 26)



The government is set to introduce a five-day workweek system, starting July next year with the public, finance and insurance sectors, and large firms with more than 1,000 employees, officials said yesterday.

By 2010, they said the system would be in place in all sectors, including small firms with less than 10 employees.

To prevent wage cuts, the government plans to stipulate in law an article that will ensure workers receive compensation for reduced working hours as a result of the system's implementation.

At the same time, elementary, middle and high schools will adopt a five-day school week in phases, starting in March 2003, when students will have one Saturday off per month.

These measures make up the core of a government plan for the introduction of a 40-hour workweek, which it is expected to set in motion this month in the legislature.

The government's move comes in the wake of a breakdown in labor-management talks under the framework of the Korean Tripartite Committee (KTC), a labor-management-government panel on labor affairs, aimed at reducing the legal working hours to 40 from the current 44.

Officials said they would finalize the plan after seeking approval from President Kim Dae-jung and putting it to a ministers' meeting this week.

Informed sources said the government decided to push the bill on its own, as the shorter workweek is widely supported by the public and is one of the reforms the present administration set out to introduce from the beginning.

The government report immediately drew protest from employers' organizations, which said the government plan fails to reflect management's views. They also blasted the government for intervening in a matter that should, in their opinion, be left to labor and management to decide through negotiations.

According to the government plan, which seeks revisions to the current Labor Standards Act, a five-day workweek will gradually be applied to all sectors by 2010.

Firms with more than 300 employees will adopt the system in July 2004, firms with more than 10 employees in January 2007, and firms with less than 10 employees in January 2010.

Ahead of a full-scale implementation of the system, the public sector is expected to take one Saturday off every month, starting next March.

In elementary, middle and high schools, a full implementation of a five-day school week will be in place by 2005.

Under the government plan, workers will receive between 18 and 22 days of paid leave per year, while the paid monthly one-day leave system will be abolished. Female workers will also no longer be compensated for "menstrual" leave.

Those who have worked less than six months will be guaranteed 1.5 days of paid leave per month.

Management, however, will be relieved of its obligation to pay employees for unused holidays.

Management will also be allowed to demand up to 16 hours of overtime for the next three years, instead of the current 12 hours, and pay a 25 percent premium for the extra four hours, instead of the current 50 percent.

"We focused our efforts on drafting a proposal that we feel will be convincing, starting July next year with the public, finance and insurance sectors, and large firms with more than 1,000 employees," officials said yesterday. - Source by : Korea Herald (2001.12.19)



SEOUL Ð South Korea sees a merger as the best way to reform nationalised lender SeoulBank, its top financial regulator said yesterday, as the government looks for alternatives after efforts to find a foreign buyer failed.

"I think the most desirable way [to improve SeoulBank] would be a merger with a stronger bank," Financial Supervisory Commission Lee Keun-young said in an interview with local television news channel YTN.

"The next option would be finding an investor, but the investment should come in line with concrete business plans to bolster the bank."

SeoulBank is supposed to submit its new restructuring plans to the financial watchdog by the end of this year, Lee said.

Talks with a unit of Deutsche Bank AG collapsed in October, as did negotiations with HSBC Holdings in 1999.

SeoulBank was one of several banks nationalised because of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

Nationalised lender Chohung Bank and Korea Exchange Bank KS, in which the government holds stakes, have expressed interest in SeoulBank.

A consortium led by Dongbu Group, which focuses on financial services, has also shown interest in the smallest of Korea's major commercial lenders. Ð Reuters - Source :, 25/12/2001



SEOUL - Korea's largest lender, Kookmin Bank, said Jan. 7 it will resume talks with ING Groep NV about the Dutch bank boosting its stake in Kookmin, as part of Kookmin's global effort to enhance business by pulling in foreign investors and expertise.

Kookmin Bank CEO Jung Tae Kim told reporters that talks would resume at the end of this month about ING possibly increasing its 4% stake in Kookmin through a purchase of additional shares.

"I think ING feels positively about this plan," Kim added.

ING, which holds 11.9 million shares of Kookmin, may increase that holding to as much as 9.9% under an agreement between the banks. ING has until the end of February to raise its stake, and the banks have talked about ING expanding its holding in Kookmin since October.

An ING spokesman in Hong Kong, Sheel Kohli, confirmed that talks would resume soon, following a recent break for the holidays. "We have been talking quite consistently with [Jung Tae] Kim about this issue," Kohli said.

He declined to comment on details of an investment increase, except to say a number of issues were under discussion.

Kookmin Bank, formed through the merger between Kookmin and Housing & Commercial Bank, was launched Nov. 1. Kookmin has assets of W185 trillion ($142.4 billion).

Kim said that this year, Kookmin will concentrate on integrating the financial services of H&CB and Kookmin.

The government is Kookmin Bank's largest shareholder, with a 9.6% stake.

The other major foreign investor, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has a 6.9% stake, or 20.5 million shares. - Source : The by Gina Chon - 7/01/02



By Nho Joon-hun/Seo Jee-yeon

From the very beginning of the year, everything points to an early economic recovery, a recovery that Korea has been waiting for since the middle of last year.

The stock market got off to a flying start, with the composite stock price index crossing over the 700 mark on the first day of trading Wednesday and is continuing its bullish run.

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy yesterday said in a report that projections are ``sunny-side-up'' for most industries, including such vital sectors such as semiconductors and automobiles.

A day earlier, the Federation of Korean Industries released its business survey index, which registered 105.1, up from last month's 101.3. Any index above 100 means that conditions are expected to be better than the previous month.

``One of the most important aspects of this optimism is that the recovery in the prices of dynamic random access memory chips, which began last month, is continuing,'' said one MOCIE official.

Indeed, the 128 megabit DRAM chip, which is still the industry standard, saw prices reach $3.00, considerably higher than in early November when prices fell to below $1.00.

However, there are concerns that the falling value of the Japanese yen and Euro could have an adverse effect on Korea's industrial activities which are pivoted on exports.

Fortunately, even with the yen falling to below 1,000 won per 100 yen, analysts said the price competitiveness of Korean products should hold up since the dollar remains strong.

``Overall, most of the vital industrial sectors for Korean companies are looking up, and much earlier than previously anticipated, fueled by the bullish run in the American stock markets,'' said one FKI official.

However, Park Yong-sung, chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) yesterday moderated the published upbeat tone on economic recovery.

In a New Year's meeting with 1,200 dignitaries, including foreign envoys, at the COEX Hall, Park said, ``Despite the global economic slowdown, the Korean economy was able to achieve higher growth last year than other neighboring competitors such as Taiwan and Singapore, thanks to the efforts of the government, companies and employees. But those three poles of the Korean economy have to remain alert about widespread market uncertainties.''

According to him, the Korean economy is still in a volatile situation due to uncertain market conditions in advanced counties, the weakening of the Euro and Japanese yen as well as the China's emerging economic power.

As part of measures to cope with these challenges, Park urged business leaders to arm themselves with entrepreneurship, adding employees also need to cultivate a fighting spirit based on professionalism. - Source : Korea Times - 4/1/2002



Local banks are showing enthusiasm about importing euros, the European single currency that made its official debut at the beginning of the year.

An official at the Bank of Korea said yesterday that domestic banks imported a total of 400 million euros during the end of last year in preparation for the circulation of the new currency in the local market, and plan to secure around 210 million euros additionally this month.

The official added that these banks, which had originally planned to import 370 million euros, decided to increase their imports of the European single currency as banks' branch offices called on their headquarters to supply euros sufficiently for them to set aside with people's growing interest in the new money.

During the first seven days after the euro became legal tender on Jan. 1, the amount of won exchanged for euros is estimated at 120 million euros.

Most of the won-euro exchanges conducted during the period were small amounts of less than 1,000 euros for travel expenses.

The central bank said that euro notes and coins are being bought and sold without any serious difficulty, not only in the European market but also in the local market.

As euro trading is expected to soar ahead of the World Cup finals, the central bank plans to prepare for the circulation of counterfeit euro notes by training bank workers to distinguish real euros from forged ones. - Source : Korea Times - 11/01/2002



As some banks and retailers are moving to set up new credit card companies, competition in the domestic credit card market between existing firms and newcomers is expected to be fierce this year.

Newly launched credit card firms are using aggressive marketing strategies based on nationwide branch networks, and the existing companies will certainly try to avoid losing their customers and to make this year another year of rosy earnings.

Hanvit Bank and Peace Bank of Korea, subsidiaries of a state-run financial holding firm, Woori Finance Holding Co., are ready to turn their credit card sectors into independent credit card firms. Furthermore, Chohung and Shinhan banks will establish card subsidiaries within the year, financial industry sources said yesterday.

Hyundai Card, which acquired the ailing Dinerscard Korea last year, will begin business after it concluded business tie-ups with Visa Korea and Master Card Korea. KDB Capital has moved up the launch of its independent credit card unit.

Lotte Group, one of the leaders in the local distribution industry, also plans to push into the credit card market, taking advantage of its four million Lotte Department Store cardholders as a solid base.

"Nationwide commercial banks, including Chohung, Hanvit, Shinhan and Hana banks, are converting their existing business sectors into subsidiaries. So the card firms can't be regarded as newcomers,'' an official of Visa Korea said.

``It seems to me that the credit card market won't enter a new phase because most of the bank-based card firms are still using the BC Card network,'' he added.

An official at a credit card-only company said, ``The ability of the newly- launched firms to work out powerful strategies is limited, because a great deal of capital is required for setting up infrastructures in the credit card business.'' - Source : Korea Times - 4/1/2002



The National Tax Service (NTS) is probing into Korean affiliates of foreign-based companies, executives of these companies, and foreign athletes.

The NTS has not conducted a tax probe into foreign-based companies in order to overcome the foreign currency crisis, which required the investment from foreign companies.

The NTS plans to finish its initial probing into those companies and executives by the end of April. Then the NTS will charge high-rate punitive additional taxes against those who evaded their taxes. It will create a stir.

The NTS announced yesterday that it is probing into the 41 companies that paid management consulting fees to overseas headquarters, among the domestic corporations and branches of foreign-based companies that recorded more than 10 billion won of sales.

The NTS disclosed that some executives of foreign-based companies had evaded income taxes for their stock option arrangements. Since Jan. 5th, the NTS has launched a tax probe into one thousand executives of 139 companies who had reported their stock option profits.

An official of the NTS said, "It was confirmed that many domestic corporations and branches of foreign-based companies invited the officials of overseas headquarters for management consulting and paid too much money for their travel, stay, and consulting fees. Some companies even paid consulting fees to overseas headquarters without receiving any consultation."

He explained, "It is a typical method to evade taxes by increasing domestic companies` costs and to shelter away profits to their overseas headquarters."

In addition, the National Tax Service is working to impose taxes on about 10 famed foreign finance-consulting companies who have enjoyed special demands due to financial restructuring in Korea.

A related expert of foreign business said that when a company provides a short-term service in the nation, it pays only 15-20 percent tax according to the International Tax Treaties. But when the company stays over 6 months for business in a nation, the company must pay the same amount of tax as other local corporations and branches do (30.8 percent including local tax when the tax basis is over 100 million won).

NTS collected 7.7 billion won from about 10 foreign business offices that are not the objects of corporation tax but who stayed in Korea over 6 months for business last year.

In addition, NTS distributed letters to request tax reports and payment documents to corporations that owned professional soccer teams, baseball teams, and basketball teams who hired foreign players, to inspect whether the foreign players reported their taxes correctly. - Sources: Digital Donga (2002.01.17)



The government will develop plans to foster Korea's e-learning businesses into an export sector while building a specialist graduate school for e-business, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) said.

Furthermore, a B2B electronic account settling system will be completed by May next year, and the electronic supply service in the public sector will begin operating in September, the ministry said.

These announcements were made during the seventh "Electronic Commerce Policy Negotiations Meeting," led by MOCIE Vice Minister Lee Hee-beom yesterday.

According to the plans, the government will begin enforcing the "basic laws dealing with electronic fund transactions," a set of regulations that will control electronic transactions, beginning in the second half of next year.

It will also establish laws dealing with e-commerce, electronic notarization, consumer protection and solving international e-commerce conflicts, the ministry said.

Also, the government will put 2.8 billion won into training manpower for e-business, build specialist schools for e-business, establish an e-business women's cyber academy, inject 6.3 billion won into developing e-business application technology and new-generation prospect technology, and another 5.6 billion won into standardizing e-business.

But one of the biggest projects in the offing is development of the e-learning sector, which includes online education content businesses, with the aim of transforming them into an export sector, the ministry said.

Furthermore, to boost government-to-business (G2B) transactions, nine government departments/institutions will form a "government electronic supply system" and begin electronic supply service through Internet supply windows in September.

As for upgrading existing e-business networks, the government plans on putting 43 billion won into helping small and medium-sized businesses adapt to information technology, 4.2 billion won into digitalization of industrial complexes and 3.7 billion won into helping the agricultural sectors adapt to e-commerce.

In addition to these domestic projects, the Korean government plans on pursuing construction of a Korea-Japan e-Trade hub, ASEM e-Trade Network and Northeast Asia e-Trade cooperation, while signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China on the formation of a Korea-China e-Commerce Policy Cooperation Association.

"We are also planning on founding a 'Global e-Business Sponsor Center" in order to help Korean e-businesses do more business abroad," a MOCIE official said. - Source by : Korea Herald (2001. 12. 28)



The government yesterday announced that it will inject 13 trillion won of its 35 trillion won R&D budget for the next five years into developing 77 promising technologies within six new-generation strategic sectors, including information technology (IT), biotechnology (BT) and nanotechnology (NT).

Furthermore, in order to foster the BT sector, it will invest 180 billion won into basic medical sciences during the next five years. The investment amounts to 17 percent of the total research budget for this year, but the government will increase it to over 20 percent by 2006.

These plans were announced during the ninth National Science-Technology Committee meeting, which was hosted by President Kim Dae-jung and participated in by heads of various ministries, including the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Information and Communication and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy.

According to the plan confirmed at the meeting, the government will devote special investments into 77 technologies, breaking down to 12 in the IT sector, 17 in BT, 14 in NT, nine in ST, 19 in ET and seven in CT, as well as training 430,000 experts for those fields.

One of the aims is to foster manpower in the basic sciences like pathology and pharmacology by allowing those men who have a master's degree in these fields to undertake special training programs during their military service duties.

In addition, the government plans on building three to seven new basic medical science research centers every year.

Furthermore, the government will promote greater participation by women in the above-named sectors, as well as investing 700 billion won through 2010 to support agricultural life sciences. - Source by : Korea Herald (2001. 12. 22)



Foreign firms will be allowed to enjoy tax breaks for their investments in such high-tech industries as information technology (IT), biotechnology (BT) and nanotechnology (NT), stating Jan. 14.

The Ministry of Finance and Economy yesterday approved a plan to increase the number of industrial sectors eligible for tax breaks for foreign- invested businesses from the present 534 to 578.

The 44 newly designated sectors are 30 advanced technology fields, including IT, BT and NT, as well as 14 promising industries related to distribution, standardization, automation, informatization, aviation and the environment.

Foreign enterprises will also be permitted to benefit from tax incentives for their investments in the creation of flight schools aimed at training pilots.

Eligible foreign companies will be granted tax exemptions for their corporate and income taxes for the first seven years from the point of their investment with a 50-percent cut for an additional three years.

They will be given other tax exemptions for acquisition, registration, property taxes for the first five years with a 50-percent cut for another three years.

``We've decided to offer tax breaks for foreign investment in new technologies, which local firms have yet to develop or have made little progress in commercializing,'' said a ministry official.

He expected that the provision of tax benefits will encourage foreign businesses to make more investments in new technology fields and other advanced service industries.

The official added that the tax incentive scheme is likely to promote transfer of high technologies from international companies to their local partners.

He said the government has also decided to exclude such generalized technologies as that for antennas and contact lenses from the list of industrial sectors qualified for tax incentives for foreign-invested firms. - Sources: Korea Times (2002.01.10)



Imaginez qu'un jour, en France, Caramail, Yahoo ou iFrance décident de taxer les mass-mailings reçues sur les adresses mails gratuites des internautes. La mesure ferait à coup sûr bondir portails, sites marchands et prestataires qui travaillent quotidiennent avec le courrier électronique via le mail-marketing ou les newsletters. Le scénario peut prêter à sourire pourtant, selon le Korea Herald, une telle affaire agite le landerneau de l'Internet en Corée du Sud depuis le 18 décembre dernier.

Daum Communication, l'un des plus gros éditeurs coréens avec son portail, a décidé de mettre en place une commission côté émetteurs sur les mass-mailings afin de compenser les coûts techniques liés au trafic généré. Les mails reçus en grande quantité ne sont délivrés aux destinataires qu'après le paiement de cette dîme. Or Daum, grâce à son service de mails gratuits, trône sur le marché coréen du courrier électronique avec plus de 24 millions d'adresses créées.

Contraintes de subir en prise directe cette mesure, une vingtaine de dotcoms coréennes ont depuis quelques jours entamé une véritable guerre de tranchées pour faire plier Daum et son nouveau modèle payant. Des sites communautaires coréens ont d'ores et déjà interdit aux internautes utilisant une adresse mail d'administrer des services ou des sites personnels. D'autres éditeurs refusent depuis le début de l'année les adresses mails dans leur questionnaire d'inscription. Enfin, un site spécialisé dans les e-cards a décidé de réserver ses services gratuits aux internautes ne disposant pas d'adresses mails

Le choix de Daum, qui consiste à se retourner vers les émetteurs plutôt que vers les récepteurs, illuste la grande difficulté que doivent affronter les éditeurs proposant des adresses mails gratuites afin de basculer en modèle payant. Proposer sous forme d'abonnement aux internautes, ce type de service requiert en effet un support technique élevé afin d'assurer une haute qualité de service comparable aux FAI. Signe de cet enjeu, il y a quelques semaines de cela, Daum s'est retrouvé attaqué en justice par des internautes qui avaient perdu des données sur leurs adresses mails La justice coréenne avait alors estimé que la société Daum ne pouvait être tenue pour responsable de ces problèmes, le service de mails étant gratuit.

Quoiqu'il en soit, la quête de la diversification enclenchée par Daum Corporation, qui est cotée sur le Kosdaq depuis novembre 1999, semble séduire les investisseurs. La semaine dernière, la société a bouclé une augmentation de capital de 25,5 millions d'euros en émettant 800.000 nouvelles actions. Cette nouvelle manne a été apportée par le Crédit Agricole. L'établissement bancaire français a sûrement été sensible aux résultats de Daum qui a enregistré, en novembre dernier, son chiffre d'affaires mensuel le plus élevé depuis sa création avec 9,5 millions d'euros.- Source : Le Journal du Net - 4/01/2002



Si cet article vous intéresse, n'hésitez pas à nous en demander la copie.

Source : La Tribune - 27/12/2001



Korea and Japan are planning to develop a fourth-generation mobile phone network.

The two countries have agreed to form a working group to develop new technical standards later this year.

4G networks promise to deliver seamless services to mobile phone handsets, including movies on demand and video conferencing.

The plan was announced after a meeting of the Korean Communications Minister, Yang Seung-taik, and the Japanese Home Affairs Minister Toranosuke Katayama.

According to the Korea Times, the two countries are also planning to co-operate in high-speed internet and e-commerce policies.

They are planning to launch a trial high-speed satellite service before they co-host the 2002 World Cup finals in May. - Source : Ananova - 9/01/02



Ericsson has sold a licence for its second and third generation mobile technology to Samsung. Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson, set up a separate company last year to sell its technology to other companies in an effort to boost the sagging telecoms equipment market.

STOCKHOLM: Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson said in a statement on Friday it sold a licence for its second (2G) and third (3G) generation mobile technology to Korea's Samsung.

"Under the terms of a worldwide, royalty-bearing agreement, Ericsson has granted Samsung a non-exclusive license under Ericsson's patent portfolio for the GSM, TDMA, GPRS, EDGE and WCDMA mobile telephony standards, to develop, manufacture and sell 2G and 3G subscriber and infrastructure equipment," Ericsson said.

"In return, Samsung provides a royalty payment, as well as a reciprocal license to Ericsson," it said.

Last year loss-making Ericsson, the world's biggest producer of mobile networks and third biggest handset supplier, set up a separate company to sell its technology to other companies in an effort to boost the sagging telecoms equipment market. - Source : Reuters : 12/01/2002



Fatigué de patienter dans le froid devant le distributeur automatique de cassettes ou de tourner en rond dans les rayons du magasin de location de vidéos? Enervé d'avoir mal programmé votre magnétoscope qui n'a pas enregistré la bonne émission? "It's TV", chaîne sud-coréenne de télévision en ligne, a cherché le remède. Pour un forfait mensuel d'environ 45 euros (300 F), cette télé nouvelle génération offre depuis août une télévision à la carte à 500 foyers tests près de Séoul. L'expérience devrait s'étendre au reste du pays en mai. Outre les chaînes hertziennes et quelques chaînes câblées locales ou internationales, les abonnés de It's TV ont accès à une bibliothèque vidéo en ligne de près de 500 films, à un service d'enregistrement d'émissions à la demande et, bien sûr, à l'Internet. "Nous ne sommes pas opérateurs de télévision. Nous n'allons pas produire des programmes spécifiques, comme tant d'autres ont essayé en vain de le faire sur le Web, explique le jeune patron de la chaîne, Young Ho Kim, 35 ans. Notre créneau, c'est l'interactivité maximale: la télévision au service du téléspectateur." It's TV fonctionne comme une banque de données accessible à partir du téléviseur grâce à un décodeur. Avec, au choix, six à huit rubriques: location de films, programmes TV, enregistrement d'émissions, téléachat en ligne, musique...

Haut débit. Outre son concept d'images à la carte, It's TV utilise les techniques de l'Internet et les applique à la bonne vieille télé: elle fonctionne avec des lignes haut débit et convoie ses images et programmes via l'Internet. Lorsque le téléspectateur allume son téléviseur, six à huit fenêtres thématiques s'affichent sur l'écran. L'abonné doit alors, avec sa télécommande, faire glisser un curseur sur le service désiré: location de films, télé-shopping, etc. Il pourra même changer cette mise en page. "Il sera possible de mettre des images en fond d'écran comme on peut le faire sur un ordinateur, poursuit Young Ho Kim, ou de supprimer des rubriques, voire d'afficher des menus différents grâce à des codes d'accès individuels."

Un couple avec enfant pourra disposer de trois codes d'accès à It's TV. Celui de l'enfant ne permettra qu'un accès restreint, éliminant le risque de le voir commander en ligne des vidéos porno. "Grâce à notre système, le récepteur de télévision devient un tableau de bord, confirme l'autre patron de It's TV, Jin-Wook Kim. Vous ne recevez plus un flot d'images incontrôlé. Vous sélectionnez..."

L'équipe de It's TV mise sur les très bonnes infrastructures haut débit coréennes, considérées comme étant parmi les meilleures du monde. Le service testé actuellement près de Séoul est, en effet, impressionnant. Sitôt passée la commande d'un film, celui-ci s'affiche à l'écran, en version DVD, en quelques secondes. Jin-Wook Kim affirme que le reste du service va s'étoffer au fur et à mesure des contrats signés: "Nous voulons être une télévision parallèle. Nous comptons accueillir sur notre plate-forme des chaînes câblées non disponibles en Corée, un service de location de vidéos éducatives et de dessins animés pour les enfants, des programmes pour adultes, des concerts, plus tous les services de téléachat existant: billetterie pour les spectacles, etc." Cha-que film ou location devra être payé en sus, avec des tarifs variant selon les heures, et des films gratuits pour attirer le chaland.

A It's TV, la publicité aussi pourrait être à la carte, en permettant de réduire le prix de l'abonnement ou du film: "Le concept est simple: si un film coûte deux dollars, le téléspectateur qui accepte une coupure de pub ne le paiera qu'1,5 dollar", explique Jin-Wook Kim. Plus futé encore: des spots publicitaires seront testés et ceux qui les regarderont bénéficieront de coupons de réduction pour leurs emplettes en ligne.

Quelques flous. La chaîne propose aussi un accès à l'Internet. Ses décodeurs sont équipés de deux prises: l'une pour la télé, l'autre pour un ordinateur et il sera possible d'utiliser les deux en même temps. Le téléviseur pourra même faire office d'ordinateur grâce à un clavier virtuel sur l'écran. Les concepteurs de It's TV, tous deux anciens banquiers ayant fait fortune à la Bourse lors du boom des années 90, ont également imaginé un système similaire à celui des "cookies" qui, sur le Web, repèrent vos sites familiers: "Les codes d'accès individuels nous permettront de savoir exactement ce que regarde telle personne et à quelle heure. Nous pourrons donc, lorsque les téléspectateurs seront connectés, faire passer des sous-titres pour les alerter sur tel nouveau film ou telle nouvelle émission", ajoute Jin-Wook Kim, qui doit toutefois encore obtenir l'agrément des autorités coréennes pour l'utilisation commerciale de ces données confidentielles.

It's TV mise aussi beaucoup sur son service d'enregistrement à la carte d'émissions des autres chaînes: "Plus besoin de magnétoscopes. Nous ferons tout le boulot", conclut Jin-Wook Kim. A condition, toutefois, d'obtenir les droits des chaînes concernées. Lesquelles résisteront sans doute à ce projet de piratage en règle. Et avec elles, tous ceux qui sont particulièrement chatouilleux sur les notions de droits d'auteur et de copyright. - Source : Libération - Par Richard WERLY - 7/1/2002



Si cet article vous intéresse, n'hésitez pas à nous en demander la copie. - Source : La Tribune



SEOUL - South Korea's flagship carrier Korea Air Lines said yesterday it planned to buy 11 new aircraft in 2002, comprising nine from Boeing and two from Airbus SAS.

Korean Air's fleet would fall to 114 units at the end of 2002 from 119 now as a result of the company's aircraft management program, which includes selling 16 old planes next year, a company spokesman said.

The airline's revenues would reach 6.0 trillion won (US$4.65 billion) in 2002, up from an estimated 5.6 trillion won for 2001, the spokesman said.

New aircraft to be added to Korea Air's fleet in 2002 included two B777-200s, five B737-900s, two A330-300s and two B747-400Fs, he said.

Shares of Korean Air fell 90 won to 7,710 by 9:35 Bangkok time yesterday while the broader stock index rose 1.28 percent to 652.94. - Reuters - Source :, 25/12/2001



The Ministry of Environment will take steps to enhance air quality in subway stations next month in preparation for the 2002 World Cup soccer finals, officials said yesterday.

The ministry said it plans to tighten up air quality management and inspection procedures in the 40 subway stations that tourists will likely use most often, out of the nation's 360 stations.

In Seoul, air quality will be improved in 24 subway stations, including those near the World Cup stadium and city center. Also due for upgraded air quality are eight stations in Busan, four in Daegu, three in Incheon and one in Gyeonggi Province.

Air quality inspections will be conducted once a month from January to April and twice in May, while weekly inspections will take place during the World Cup period from May 31 to June 30.

In cooperation with various local infrastructure authorities, the Seoul Metropolitan Subway Corporation will improve air quality management by extending operation hours of ventilation systems, as well as ensuring better maintenance and cleaning of the stations.

Each station will have specially designated inspection personnel responsible for carrying out inspections more than once a week, officials said.

"We hope to provide a safe and clean environment for the foreign community during the international event by tightening up the inspection process and cleaning up the air in subway stations, which we believe will have increased traffic," said Nam Byung-eon, an official at the ministry's noise, vibration and dust control division.

( By Yoo Soh-jung Staff reporter - Source : Korea Herald, 2001.12.25



General Motors (GM) of the United States and Daewoo Motor failed to complete the deal to have GM take over the ailing Korean carmaker by the end of last year as it was postponed to January this year. The two parties had signed a preliminary agreement to wrap up the entire deal by Dec. 15 last year.

The reason the deal was stymied was because Daewoo's labor and management failed to revise the current regulations of collective bargaining actions. In the preliminary agreement, GM called for the management of the Korean automaker to remove a clause in the labor-management contract that makes it obligatory for the management to obtain the approval of the union before the sales of the firm's assets and relocation of union members. The company's labor and management held negotiations on about 12 different occasions to settle the case but to no avail.

The issue of tax reduction also contributed to the deadlock in the deal. GM had requested the Korean government alleviate taxes on the deal such as special consumption tax and capital gain tax. The government, however, did not give any clear-cut answer to the request.

Another issue that remained unresolved concerned Daewoo Motor Sales. GM had said it would take over Daewoo Motor's stake in the sales firm but not its assets. The parent firm, however, has been holding fast to its stance that the American carmaker take over all the assets of the sales firm.

GM Korea explained that its officials involved in the acquisition deal have left for the United States for year-end holidays but promised the deal could be completed before the end of January. (Kim Young-soo, Source : - 31/12/2001



Les 1100 salariés lorrains du groupe sud-coréen vivent dans l'inquiétude de perdre leur emploi. Deux des établissements ont réduit leur production. Leur maison-mère a jusqu'à présent founi la trésorerie permettant de les faire tourner mais a engagé un bras de fer avec l'Etat français et sud-coréen sur le réglement de la dette.

Depuis la faillite du chaebol sud-coréen il y a deux ans et demi, rien ne va plus pour les trois usines du groupe implantées en Lorraine. Elles se débattent dans des difficultés financières chroniques et l'une d'elles, la fabrique de tubes cathodiques de Longwy Mont-Saint-Martin (Meurthe-et-Moselle), ne paie plus ses charges sociales à l'Urssaf depuis le mois de juin. A raison de 2 millions de francs (304 000 euros) par mois pour couvrir ses 543 salariés, le retard de paiement de Daewoo Orion se monte à 12 millions de francs (1,8 million d'euros).

Son PDG, Hee Chul Moon, est allé à Bercy, jeudi dernier, pour tenter d'effacer cette dette mais sa démarche "n'a donné lieu à aucune décision de la part du gouvernement français", a-t-il commenté à son retour. Le lendemain, il démissionnait et s'apprête maintenant à rentrer en Corée, comme l'ont déjà fait trois cadres coréens venus en septembre avec leur famille et sept cadres Vietnamiens.

Les 1100 salariés lorrains vivent dans l'inquiétude de perdre leur emploi. "Je pense que c'est fini", confie le délégué CFDT, Mohamed Karchi. Un autre rappelle que l'usine de tubes cathodiques, inaugurée en 1996, n'était jugée rentable qu'avec deux lignes de production. Or cette deuxième ligne n'a jamais été construite. La crise asiatique a précipité l'effondrement du conglomérat Daewoo et asphyxié financièrement les usines de Daewoo Electronics.

Celle qui s'en sort le mieux est l'unité de téléviseurs de Fameck (Moselle) avec 310 salariés. Pour répondre au marché des grands écrans, elle va monter, début 2002, des postes de 32 pouces et prend soin de payer ses fournisseurs rubis sur l'ongle malgré ses 78 millions de francs de pertes (12 millions d'euros) en 2000. "Nous sommes des entités juridiques différentes, mais une défaillance de Daewoo Orion aurait des conséquences négatives pour nous, par effet d'enseignes", souligne un cadre.

Quant à la plus ancienne des usines Daewoo en Lorraine - les fours micro-ondes à Villers-la-Montagne -, à côté de Longwy, elle ne tourne qu'avec trois lignes de montage sur cinq. "On ne veut pas crier au loup, mais, si on tient jusqu'au mois de mars, ce sera un miracle", pronostique Maryline Quaglia, responsable métallurgie de la CFDT.

Jusqu'à maintenant, la maison mère Daewoo a fourni la trésorerie permettant aux usines de tourner. Mais elle a engagé un bras de fer avec la France et avec l'organisme d'Etat sud-coréen Kamco (Korean Asset Management Corporation) qui s'était engagé à reprendre les dettes de Daewoo Electronics lors de la mise en faillite du chaebol. Depuis plusieurs mois, le Kamco ne répond plus et n'honore même plus les réunions au ministère français de l'Industrie. En conséquence, les banques françaises créancières (Crédit lyonnais, Société générale, Banque populaire-Natexis) se retournent contre les sociétés lorraines qui leur doivent ensemble 375 millions de francs. Le Crédit lyonnais, qui a la plus lourde créance avec 280 millions de francs, a engagé une action à New York et auprès du tribunal de grande instance de Thionville. Les audiences sont régulièrement reportées et la prochaine est fixée au 17 janvier 2002. Du règlement de la dette dépend le sort des 1 100 salariés de Lorraine. - Source : Le Figaro , Nancy : Armelle Rousseau, 26/12/2001



Si cet article vous intéresse, n'hésitez pas à nous en demander la copie. - Source : Les Echos - 15/01/2002



Si cet article vous intéresse, n'hésitez pas à nous en demander la copie. - Source : La Tribune - 03/01/2002



Si cet article vous intéresse, n'hésitez pas à nous en demander la copie. - Source : Les Echos - 17/01/2002



SEOUL, Dec 27 (Reuters) - South Korea's Hanaro Telecom Inc <33630.KQ> said on Thursday it was in talks with three foreign investors about attracting possible investment.

Korea's second-largest fixed line and broadband Internet service provider plans to raise 700 billion won ($535.2 million) next year.

Hanaro is looking to diversify to better compete with larger rival KT Corp <30200.KS>, formerly Korea Telecom.

"We are in talks with one Asian investment firm and two U.S.-based firms," Hanaro spokesman Kim Sung-bae told Reuters. "Specific results have yet to come out.

Possible steps include selling new shares, drawing foreign investment and other measures.

Hanaro announced last month it would buy a controlling stake in Dreamline Corp <35430.KQ> for 39.5 billion won ($30.20 million).

It has also been in alliance talks with smaller high-speed Internet service provider Thrunet <KOREA.O>.

"What matters most in the (potential) takeover of Thrunet is its high debt ratio," Hanaro's Kim said. "Once Thrunet manages to pare debts, merger talks are likely to accelerate."

Hanaro has also expressed interest in a stake in cable network operator Powercomm, owned by state-run Korea Electric Power Corp <15760.KS>.

Shares in Hanaro, which has 1.6 million high-speed Internet subscribers, were up 1.6 percent at 4,420 won at 0452 GMT versus a 0.69 percent rise in the technology-laced Kosdaq <.KQ11>.

($1=1308.0 won) - Source : Reuters - 27/12/2001



Following is a thank you message from Nicolas Delaporte, general manager of the Korean office of Air France, on being selected as one of the top companies for customer satisfaction. - Ed.

Being awarded by the readers of The Korea Herald for "Customer Satisfaction" is a great honor for us. We take it as a reward for all the efforts we have been making to improve the quality and the consistency of our services. This is also very encouraging for all "front line" Air France staff who are doing their best, every day, to make the trip of our passengers an enjoyable experience. This award is also a proof that our promise, as a SkyTeam member, can become true. SkyTeam's promise is "Caring more about you." Air France is, like Korean Air, a member of SkyTeam.

Air France is providing unique services to its travelers, like individual video screens on all flights between Seoul and Paris. We are also, within a program called "Take off Asia" trying to make the best blend between the "French touch" and the expectations of Asian travelers. On board our flights out of Seoul, a Korean interpreter welcomes Korean passengers. They have the choice between a Korean meal, including kimchi, and a "Traditional Francaises" meal, and enjoy entertainment programs in Korean. On their arrival at Paris-CDG airport, a Korean agent, who can help them to make a seamless connection to other flights, welcomes our Korean passengers. Our crew on board also have been trained to better serve Korean clients, and they all have with them a brochure on the "good practices," which is called "Annyong Hasseyo."

As punctuality is a basic requirement from travelers, which needs to be fulfilled, Air France did a lot to improve its records on that field. As a result, this year, 100 percent of Air France's flights were punctual in October and November out of Incheon International Airport, despite the bad weather conditions, making it the leading airline for punctuality. This was possible because Incheon Airport is equipped with cutting-edge landing facilities that allow planes to land with low visibility. To use these facilities, however, planes need to be outfitted with the new landing equipment and pilots need to be fully trained. This is the case for Air France Boeing 777 flights on the Seoul-Paris route as well as for its technical crew.

Air France implemented Quality Policies in order to provide a high and consistent level of quality on what counts for travelers. A list of more than 300 "standards of service" has been made public to all "front line" staffs in order to be respected all along the trip of our passengers, from their call to the reservation to their consultation of their Frequent Flyer account. "Mystery clients," who are experiencing the Air France's services like any passenger, permanently control this list of "standards of service."

We have also to thank The Korea Herald readers for their indulgence. They know that in the service industry we cannot provide a "zero default." So, maybe, on top of their recognition for the quality of our services, they also (unfortunately) had the opportunity to appreciate the quality of our "After sales" services. Despite our relatively small size in Korea, we have dedicated staffs to take care of our customers after their trip.

All Air France's staffs hope to deserve The Korea Herald readers' confidence for next year's award. We will do our best, once again, to fulfill our SkyTeam's promise to "Care more about you."

Air France operates five weekly flights from Seoul to the world, via Paris. The Air France global network spans 315 destinations worldwide, including 124 in Europe. Air France is a member of SkyTeam. SkyTeam is a global airline alliance partnering Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, CSA, Delta Airlines, and Korean Air. The SkyTeam global network offers approximately 8,000 daily flights to more than 500 destinations. - Source : Korea Herald 2001.12.21



Dassault a décidement besoin que l'armée sud-coréenne achète son Rafale. L'avionneur français a en effet amélioré mercredi la proposition faite en ce sens au gouvernement. Dans un entretien accordé à un journal local, Yves Robin, vice-président du groupe, envisage d'inclure dans son offre de vente des équipements électroniques de guerre et de radar. Il a également précisé que les entreprises sud coréennes pourront collaborer à la production de ces équipements. Ces derniers font notamment usage de nouvelles technologies pour surveiller, détecter et transmettre des informations.

L'appel d'offres auquel souscrit Dassault consiste en la livraison de 40 avions de combat, pour environ 3,2 milliards de dollars. Le Rafale développé par le groupe français se retrouve en concurrence avec le F-15K de Boeing, le Typhoon 2000 conçu par le consortium Eurofighter, et enfin le Su-32 du russe Sukhoi. La Corée du Sud avait initialement projeté de faire connaître le grand gagnant avant la fin de cette année, mais elle ne devrait finalement pas faire savoir sa décision avant mars 2002. - Source : L', 27/12/2001



Si cet article vous intéresse, n'hésitez pas à nous en demander la copie. - Source : La Tribune - 27/12/2001



Dassault Aviation, a French aerospace firm bidding to sell new jet fighters to South Korea, is offering Korea a range of technology and production contracts that could significantly improve the nation's electronic warfare capabilities, company officials said.

The offer is part of a $4 billion "offset" program that the company agreed to provide if it wins South Korea's major fighter jet procurement project code-named "F-X."

"Our proposal is very unique and includes the equipment, simulation and data management tools with the associated know-how that will boost Korea's expertise in the field of electronic warfare," Yves Robins, Dassault vice president of international relations, said in a recent interview with The Korea Herald.

Dassault, which produces the Rafale, is competing with Boeing of the United States, Sukhoi of Russia, and European consortium Eurofighter to supply 40 fighter jets to South Korea beginning in 2004. The project is worth more than 4-trillion-won ($3.12 billion).

Robins said Dassault's proposal includes the joint production with a local firm of its "RBE2" radar system that uses active electronic scanning antenna (AESA).

The radar system, used in the Rafale and other fighters, catches targets in wider angles than its rivals and tracks up to eight targets simultaneously.

"South Korea would become the fifth nation that produces that kind of radar system following France, the United States, Russia and Japan," he said.

LG Innotek, a Korean electronics firm, will be in charge of manufacturing, assembly and testing of complete subunits of the radar.

Robins said Samsung-Thales, a military electronics maker, will participate in the production of Rafale's electronic warfare suite, called Spectra, that incorporates the latest technology in the fields of warning, detection and data transmission.

The company is a joint venture between Samsung Electronics of Korea and Thales of France.

Robins said the company's offset package, worth close to $4 billion, far exceeds the amount that Korea has required and is one of the largest and most comprehensive ever in the aircraft industry.

South Korea has demanded that the four bidders in the F-X project put at least 70 percent of the contract money back into the domestic industry by means of offset programs.

Dassault's package consists of $1.5 billion in manufacturing contracts, $2 billion in technology transfer and $5 million in depot maintenance, Robins said. ( By Hwang Jang-jin Staff reporter - Source : Korea Herald, 2001.12.26



La semaine dernière, la société [Daum Corporation, spécialiste des messageries gratuites sur Internet] a bouclé une augmentation de capital de 25,5 millions d'euros en émettant 800.000 nouvelles actions. Cette nouvelle manne a été apportée par le Crédit Agricole. L'établissement bancaire français a sûrement été sensible aux résultats de Daum qui a enregistré, en novembre dernier, son chiffre d'affaires mensuel le plus élevé depuis sa création avec 9,5 millions d'euros. - Source : Le Journal du Net - 4/01/2002



Récemment introduit sur le marché parisien, le Crédit Agricole serait en train de poursuivre des négociations avec la banque National Agricultural Cooperative Foundation (NACF) en vue d'une entrée sur le marché sud-coréen par le biais d'une co-entreprise financière. C'est en tout cas ce qu'a affirmé le groupe sud-coréen qui affirme que les négociations actuelles entre les deux sociétés peuvent évoluer rapidement.

En cas d'accord et d'après les rumeurs colportées par la presse, le Crédit Agricole pourrait proposer des services financiers en s'appuyant sur les 860 agences que possède la NACF à travers le pays. Il s'agit en l'espèce du deuxième réseau du pays. - Source : Boursorama - 21/01/2002



Pendant que PSA Peugeot-Citroën vole de record en record, son concurrent français, Renault, piétine. Les ventes mondiales de la marque au losange ont diminué en 2001 de 0,4 %, à 2,28 millions de véhicules. Le groupe Renault, lui, progresse de 2,2 %, grâce à l'apport des ventes du roumain Dacia et du coréen Samsung. Renault détient désormais 4,4 % du marché mondial, une part légèrement supérieure à celle de l'année précédente.

[…] Pour 2002, le groupe prévoit prudemment de "consolider" ses ventes, grâce à "un renouvellement dense de notre plan produit", a souligné M. Hinfray. La berline haut de gamme Vel Satis sera commercialisée en France à partir du 15 septembre, en attendant la remplaçante de l'Espace à l'automne et une nouvelle Mégane en fin d'année. Renault a tenu à rester prudent à propos des prévisions du marché européen, qui devrait "rester stable ou en légère baisse".

Dans cette année difficile pour Renault, un sujet de satisfaction tout de même : la progression du coréen Samsung. La marque rachetée en 2000 détient désormais 5,2 % du marché coréen. S. L. - Source : Le Monde 04/01/2002



Renault Samsung Motors of Korea will launch passenger car exports to China this year.

The French carmaker will export SM5 sedan produced by its subsidiary in South Korea, Renault Samsung Motors. The SM5 is based on the Cefiro model from Nissan, which has capital ties and a global alliance with Renault.

Renault Samsung Motors, which was born in 2000 when Renault purchased bankrupt Samsung Motors Co., has an annual production capacity of 240,000 vehicles, but it expects to sell only about 90,000 vehicles in South Korea this year.

While it intends to focus on building up a viable domestic business, export opportunities will also be pursued and China's entry into the World Trade Organisation will lead to substantially lower import tariffs on CBU vehicles. Renault Samsung also has plans to export cars to the Middle East. - Source : AuotoAsia on Line - 8/1/2002



Ondeo (SUEZ) vient de signer un contrat de BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer) avec le Comté de Yangju, en banlieue de Séoul pour la construction et la gestion d'installations de traitement des eaux résiduaires. Il s'agit du premier contrat coréen de ce type conclu avec une société étrangère dans le domaine de l'eau.

D'une durée de 24 ans, ce contrat porte sur le financement, la construction et la gestion de nouvelles installations dont trois stations de traitement d'eaux usées d'une capacité totale de 75 000 m³ par jour et 85 km de collecteurs principaux. Les investissements prévus pour ce BOT sont de l'ordre de 80 millions d'euros et le chiffre d'affaires total sur la durée du contrat s'élève à 200 millions d'euros.

Pour développer les infrastructures d'eau du pays, les autorités coréennes se sont engagées dans un important programme favorisant la participation du secteur privé. Ce contrat est le premier exemple d'un partenariat public-privé de longue durée dans le domaine de l'eau.

Il va réunir les compétences en gestion et financement de Ondeo Services et celles de l'ingénierie et de traitement d'eau de Ondeo Degrémont.

Ondeo est déjà largement implanté en Corée du Sud dans le domaine de la construction,

de l'exploitation, du traitement et de la gestion de l'eau au travers ses filiales Ondeo Services et Ondeo Degrémont. Aujourd'hui en Corée, les installations construites par Ondeo Degrémont dans les années 80 assurent environ 20% de la production d'eau à Séoul et 80% à Busan. Ces deux premières agglomérations du pays représentent près de 20 millions d'habitants. Quant au marché industriel, Ondeo Nalco maintient la position de référence du marché du conditionnement d'eau coréen avec un chiffre d'affaires en 2000 de 25 millions US$.

Source : Ondéo 07/01/2002



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