Doing Business In South Korea

At a first business meeting, your South Korean partners are primarily interested in being able to classify you correctly. The South Korean society is very strongly hierarchically structured, and all relations are determined by the finely differentiated rank differences.

In addition to age and family background, the most important criteria are the exact position in the company hierarchy, the length of service with the company and the educational background.

South Koreans will therefore ask you directly and openly about your age, your family, your position in the company and your income. Foreigners often perceive these direct questions as intrusion into their privacy. South Koreans, however, use the information gained purely for the correct hierarchical classification, which determines their further behaviour.

Exchange Of Business Cards

Against this background, the exchange of business cards at the beginning of a meeting is of importance. Business cards contribute significantly to identifying the hierarchical position of the counterpart. Consequently, your card should contain all the necessary information. It can be recommendable to reach higher with regard to your own position if you want to talk to the decision-makers who are highly placed in the South Korean hierarchy. In South Korea only people on the same hierarchical level can interact with each other! 

After a not too firm handshake you should first introduce yourself with your first and last name plus your position in the company. Then present your business card with a slight bow. Your business cards should be in perfect condition, as they symbolize your professional status.

When you receive a business card, you should accept it respectfully and study it carefully. Don’t just let a business card slip into your pocket, but place it in a case or in front of you on the table. Always hand over or take a business with your right hand while your left hand supports your right wrist. This is a sign of respect. Alternatively, you can use both hands, but never only the left hand!

Position According to Hierarchy

If you travel as a delegation and meet a group of South Koreans, make sure that the participants are positioned according to the hierarchy. The highest ranking person is always welcomed first. There is no ladies-first, only oldest-first!

Videos Business Culture South Korea

Our intercultural business videos focus on what really matters when doing business in South Korea. Prepare for diverse international business situations within minutes. 

Singapore Southeast Asia Business Coaching

Online Coaching South Korea

Do you have a specific question in mind? Are you going to work and live in South Korea? Our business coaches are highly qualified experts in their field with many years of work experience in South Korea.

From managing international teams to sealing a deal with South Korean business partners to relocating to South Korea as an expatriate – whatever situation you need to deal with, your personal coach will be there to guide you through it!

Are You And Your New Country A Match?

Living abroad but not yet fitting in? Moving country soon? Take the Global DISC Assessment and deep dive into your personality traits and cultural orientation.

  • Stop leaving things to chance and find your feet in a different country.
  • Eliminate the exhaustion of living and working abroad.
  • Succeed anywhere in the world.
  • Feel empowered and confident.