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Seoul at night

5 reasons Seoul is a key business destination

Written by on 3rd February 2020
Category: APAC, Business, City guides

Becoming the world’s fourth-largest metropolitan economy in 2014, Seoul’s rapid economic growth seemingly came from nowhere. In reality, Seoul has been subject to a strategic expansion since the 1960s, with continuous investment poured into modernising and urbanising the city following its liberation in 1945. Thought to be one of the most competitive world cities for future development, Seoul is a city ready to adapt to whatever the future brings, meaning the viability of the business in Seoul will likely never be in question. With a selection of the finest corporate serviced apartments in Seoul in our portfolio, a corporate stay in the city can be easily arranged with SilverDoor. Read on to discover 5 reasons why Seoul is a key business destination you should consider visiting and investing in.  

1. Trailblazing Technology

Namsan Seoul Tower technology
The spectacular OLED tunnels in the N Seoul Tower are emblematic of Seoul’s technological prowess

Home to ‘Samsung Town’ – which serves as the headquarters for Samsung, one of the most profitable technology companies on the planet – Seoul is naturally a world leader in terms of the technology permeating its infrastructure. One area in which the city excels within this field is internet connectivity. Indeed, the iconic N Seoul Tower, which resides above the city atop Namsan Mountain and broadcasts a range of television signals, is symbolic of the city’s connected technology. Seoul has provided free Wi-Fi access throughout its streets and green areas since 2014 – making business travel in Seoul particularly attractive for those who like to work on the move. Furthermore, the city has the highest level of fibre-optic broadband penetration in the world, with super-fast speeds being commonplace across the city.  This is another reason why so many consider Seoul to be ‘future proofed’: consistently ranking highly for technology readiness by PwC and surpassing the technology capabilities of countless Western cities.

The appeal of the city to technology start-up companies, in particular, is obvious, but the simplicity Seoul’s technology provides its workers is also attractive to companies seeking a leading location in which to launch offices in the APAC region. As Seoul continues to look to the future, with a commitment to further improve its industries to reduce carbon emissions, conducting business in Seoul also serves the corporate social responsibility international corporations are encouraged to demonstrate in their offering.

2. Expanding Opportunities

Gangnam District Seoul
Seoul’s Gangnam District is rapidly becoming the city’s wealthiest region

With the huge growth of business in Seoul, many city districts are benefitting from corporate investment which was once reserved for its primary business areas. Gangnam District is one such example, flourishing with affluent residents and high-end businesses. As Seoul’s economy continues to expand, so too does the potential for international companies to invest in its many industries. Markets such as asset management and insurance are well-positioned for international investment and acquisition, with private pension funds growing at an average of 15% per year and an increase in demand for health insurance as the population ages. Similarly, as Seoul thrives on an export-orientated economy, the city is continuously seeking to grow in the international marketplace. This means that business travel to Seoul is on the increase. Many of the city’s top corporations are engaging with global design companies to produce new concepts to reach a worldwide audience. Furthermore, the city is renowned for the structures in place which make foreign investment and trading efficient and viable – with little interference from the Government. As a result, there are many lucrative opportunities for design consultancy and brand identity design in Seoul, as well as architectural design for public spaces as the city limits continue to expand.

3. An Incredible Airport

Incheon International Airport
Incheon International Airport has regularly been voted one of the best in the world

Many consider Incheon International Airport reason enough to visit Seoul, with the expansive facility offering a plethora of attractions and amenities, as well as a world-class service providing global connections. Conducting business in Seoul is made that much more appealing thanks to this impressive facility and Korea’s excellent airlines, and places the city amongst the top business destinations in the world. The highly praised Asiana Business lounge is an example of how well the airport caters to business travellers – your journey (including connection waiting time) is optimised to ensure business never stops. Fully outfitted with free shower rooms, spa areas and a Korean Traditional Culture Experience Centre, business travellers can leave the airport feeling fully refreshed and knowledgeable about Korean culture before embarking on their stay in Seoul. The airport even offers plentiful leisure facilities for those keen to unwind or socialise with colleagues, including a golf course, skate rink, casino and cinema. Discover the benefits of these transportation hubs in our article covering the world’s greatest airports.

4. Refined Business Etiquette

business people south korea
Treating colleagues and clients with respect is an important aspect of South Korean culture

A certain protocol is to be expected when conducting business in any country, but South Korea has its own specific business etiquette which engenders long-lasting, meaningful relationships. Based on Confucian principles, South Korean culture is infused with harmony, respect and tradition. Maintaining dignity and honour (or Kibun) is of utmost importance for South Koreans – particularly within business – and while this may mean certain cultural protocols need to be observed, it results in respectful, considerate and enduring business relationships. Simply put, in South Korean business, friendships are made first and clients/partners second.  Abiding by these principles, investing your business in Seoul will result in flourishing relationships with generous rewards and mutual investment. It is well worth reading one of the multiple online etiquette guides to ensure your business relationships in South Korea are formed on the best possible footing.  

5. Second to None Service

Smiling server South Korea
Service with a smile, as well as gift-giving, is an integral aspect of South Korean culture

Having been ranked sixth in the world for cost of living, Seoul is one of wealthiest cities in Asia with a high quality of life for its residents. Although this means that property prices and day to day costs in the city are high, benefits are extended to clients and customers in the form of excellent service and an incredibly generous gifting culture. It is an expected part of South Korean culture that most services will include some form of gratuity to thank the customer – and that all service is provided by incredibly cheerful staff. Unlike in countries such as the US, such service does not require a tip – it is simply an expectation and one which keeps customers coming back to make use of the service being offered. This ‘perfectionist’ mentality ensures companies and corporations continue to grow and is a bonus of conducting business in Seoul as gifting at business meetings and between partners is commonly practised.

Seoul truly is a key business destination in its own right – if you are looking to travel to this iconic business city, consider our insider’s view on the best apartments in the APAC region, or browse our selection of serviced apartments in South Korea to begin your journey today.