Marcus Noland Quotes

If South Korea can reduce the risk that its firms will imitate and reverse engineer technology invented abroad, foreign firms become less hesitant to transfer technology to South Korean partners.

Industrial spying and trade secret thefts are very common in the South Korean business culture. Bribery of competitor’s employees is common. In the pre WWII period of Japanese control, the Japanese had a policy of keeping Korea technically backward to produce food cheaply and trade the food to Japan and buy manufactured goods from Japan—a classic colonial strategy. Japanese engineers and other technicians would go to Korea set up facilities but never share their knowledge with the Koreans. If technicians were needed, they would have to come from Japan. None the less there is a cultural blindness and Korean firms will commonly steal technology from anyone—partners or others. The South Korean Governments had looked at this with a blind eye. Many Koreans believe that because of past history the only way that they can survive on world competition is to continue to pilfer technology. However, modern South Korea has excellent technicians and scientists in almost all fields and making the cultural shift to a standard that is more consonant with the majority of the industrial democracies is the great challenge.

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