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Archive for April 2010

Koreans Swayed by Herd Mentality

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Finally, an accurate article from the Korea Times.  “Jumping the Bandwagon” here is evident everywhere from music, fads, and behaviour in general.  Remember the days of Koreans protesting the sale of American beef?  I highly doubt that the majority were educated on the issues before they wasted hours and days protesting in the streets of Seoul.

“Koreans are susceptible to herd mentality. When their neighbors do or believe something, many of them just follow suit. I regard Internet witch-hunting, real estate speculation or regional dominance of a certain party to stem from such a perspective.”

Another downside is that the mindset may call for mere conformity while intruding upon innovative thinking as amply demonstrated by partisan regionalism. In other words, herd mentality may choke innovation.


Written by recruiterinkorea

April 23, 2010 at 11:26 am

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Ethical Management More Rewarding

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Got one thing to say about this article:  suuurreee buddyy…TIK

By Bae Ji-sook
Staff Reporter

Ethics is back in business, where the general notion of defining right or wrong is seen as the future of capitalism, Georg Kell, executive director of the United Nations Global Compact Office, said Wednesday.

“The so-called global financial crisis has been painful for everyone but has given us momentum to think about where we are and what we have been doing,” Kell said in an interview with The Korea Times, which was held between sessions of the Business for Environment (B4E) Summit in southern Seoul.

“We, especially business leaders, came to admit the vulnerability of the market and the fact that bubbles burst at some point. They have noticed that finance itself cannot create any value and have acknowledged that something sustainable and credible is needed in order to maintain the life that we have had,” he said.

The financial analyst suggested ethical management as their newest focus. “Human rights, the environment, transparency and credibility are rapidly replacing evaluation criteria in looking at a business. They have become the main powerhouse in sustainable development and management for the future alongside good leadership and diligence.”

Kell’s organization has been taking the lead in designing the next step for capitalism.

Established as a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption, the U.N. Global Compact has been eager to promote the virtue of ethical management and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

From working against corruption and bribery to the elimination of forced or compulsory labor, and the encouragement of environmentally-friendly technologies, it looks to get more businesses and local administrations to act more socially responsible without legally forcing them to.

Each year, 7,700 corporate participants and stakeholders ― from over 130 countries ― are asked to turn in a progress evaluation report on the sectors.

While it is not legally required, since many of the participants are world-class enterprises the documents are taken seriously and used as a standard text for next-generation management.

“What we are doing is simple. We select some of the noticeable ones and exhibit their performances throughout the world. It is more of a motivation and incentive system than punishment or criticism,” Kell said.

There will be a leader summit in June in New York to design more guidelines to specify evaluation criteria.

This year, the environment will be the key issue, with participants being asked to take a more environmentally-friendly approach in their business or administration, and to take aggressive measures against climate change including reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Only 10 percent of the global business is on the right side of the agenda so far. Others have been remaining on the fence or actively opposing the idea, concerned about short-sighted fiscal figures,” he said.

“However, I am sure that tightened evaluation on their environmental performance will be rewarded by the public, who are becoming increasingly aware of nature and how the changing climate is affecting our lives.”

Kell admitted that CSR and environmentally-friendly regimes could easily end up as a one-night-stand for a very few early birds because many eco-friendly products are expensive and seem less attractive, allowing only a limited number of people to purchase them.

“But that’s how innovations start,” he said. “I also believe that they could create a whole new market of customers with a different consumption behavior. It will pay off. I believe in the power of persuasion,” he said.

Kell said that he thinks Korea has a high potential to keep up with transparent, responsible and greener management in that sense.

“People are dedicated to a good performance, which drives them through the whole process once they set their minds to one thing. If that is the case for CSR, I am sure they will do their best,” he said. “Also, the information and technology techniques are remarkable. They are a source of productivity and also the key to open access to information. This is a good sign.”

Written by recruiterinkorea

April 23, 2010 at 11:20 am

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Bearish Mode to Continue This Month

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Maybe I spoke too soon.  My one bluechip (POSCO) has fallen more than 5% as of today (which is a lot at least to me considering the price of the stock) but others have been doing fine.  Check out Asiana Airlines (up 23% since I bought it last week!).

Bearish Mode to Continue This Month
By Park Hyong-ki
Staff Reporter

“When it rains, it pours,” is what most equity analysts say nowadays when talking about the stock market.

The bearish run is not about to let up soon with the cloud continuing to hover over the markets and pouring the heavy rain of subprime woes.

Although analysts say there was no reason for the Seoul market to take a heavy beating by some 300 points in January when taking into account of the country’s fundamentals, an economic slowdown in the United States, the world’s largest economy, is a concern for all investors worldwide.

“The U.S. is the ultimate consumption market, even though Korea’s export reliance on the U.S. has slowly diminished over the years,” said Lee Woo-hyun, an analyst of Kyobo Securities.

However, Lee believes that stocks in March will perform slightly better than January as there was no fundamental reason for the market to take a steep loss over the past months.

Lee expects the benchmark KOSPI to fluctuate between 1,650 and 1,800 this month, adding that credit woes will not abate so easily going forward.

In the short-term, the Seoul market may get a boost from expected additional rate cuts by the U.S. Fed when it holds a monetary meeting on March 18, uplifting investor sentiment.

Consensus shows that the Fed is likely to slash interest rates by 25 to 50 basis points as its Chairman Ben Bernanke had said it is ready to preemptively move to prevent a recession, hinting at a possible rate cut.

“This situation calls for a vigorous response,” he said in a meeting with bank executives in Florida, urging them to do what was necessary to ease the credit crunch and offset rising foreclosures.

However, global investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns are expected to disclose their earnings this month that could send another shock wave on global equity markets, including the Seoul bourse.

Adding to the fuel is the triple witching day ahead of the Fed meeting. The triple witching day, which comes four times a year, ignites heavy trading of options, futures and their underlying stocks by program traders as contracts expire, often leading to a big plunge on the market.

Analysts say besides subprime woes, there are other concerns such as inflation on rising oil and food prices that will further undermine investors sentiment.

“I’m afraid there are no positive factors that can really boost the market at this point,” said Lee of Kyobo.

NH Investment & Securities analyst Lim Jung-seok said although the stock market is showing signs of stabilizing compared to its performance in January, a complete rebound is not likely to happen any time soon.

“We need to wait and see until next month when companies’ first quarter earnings are disclosed, and whether their fundamentals are healthy enough to spur the market,” said Lim. “Until then, it will be best to look before you leap into stocks.”

He expects the market to perform between 1,600 and 1,750 points in March.

Written by recruiterinkorea

April 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm

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Korean economy to grow 4.5 percent in 2010: IMF

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Good news from the Korea Herald?  Seems like there’s also a lot of foreign investment activity in Korea as well.

The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday that the Korean economy is expected to grow 4.5 percent this year on robust exports, improving domestic demand and inflows of foreign investment, Yonhap news agency said.

The Washington-based lender said in its quarterly World Economic Outlook report that the 2010 growth projection for Korea remained the same as the earlier forecast made in January, while that for the world economy was revised up to 4.2 percent from 3.9 percent, the news report said.

The Korean economy averted a recession in 2009 and pulled off a 0.2 percent growth amide the worst global economic downturn in decades.

The Asia’s fourth-largest economy is expected to see a 5 percent growth in 2011, the IMF added.

Korea is one of only three members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that avoided negative growth last year.

The other two are Australia and Poland.

Written by recruiterinkorea

April 22, 2010 at 11:15 am

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Korea 8th Most Competitive in G-20

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From the Korea Times:

Korea 8th Most Competitive in G-20

By Kang Seung-woo
Staff Reporter

South Korea ranked eighth among the G-20 countries in terms of national competitiveness, according to a report by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) Wednesday. The United States topped the list, followed by Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, China and Britain.

The report is based not only on economic activity but also other categories covering competitiveness in science, infrastructure, business and government efficiency.

The IMD said that Korea, the host for the G-20 summit in November, was strong in science and infrastructure, but had poor showings in government efficiency and economic activity. The G-20 rankings are compiled from IMD’s global survey with Saudi Arabia and the European Union excluded.

Korea drew a high grade in basic research activities, a subcategory of the science environment field, sitting second to Germany. Japan and Britain were tied for third.

In overall infrastructure, Korea placed eighth with the United States at the top of the list, and fourth in infrastructure competitiveness in science following the United States, Germany and Canada.

However, its economic activity placed 14th, with the United States leading the countries, and its overall government efficiency was 10th.

The report gave a high score to Korea, when it was placed fourth behind Indonesia, South Africa and Canada in fiscal policy management.

Korea ranked ninth and 10th, respectively, in business efficiency and labor market conditions.

“Above-average national competitiveness and national power contributed to Korea winning the bid to host the G-20 summit for the first time as an emerging nation,” said an official of the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

The G-20 comprises the economies of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and the United States as well as South Korea.

A variety of top level conferences are scheduled in the lead-up to the November summit in Seoul.

Already, finance ministers and central bank governors of the member nations are gathering this week, in Washington, while another conference is scheduled for June, in Busan.

The G-20 summit was created at the height of the financial crisis last year in order to bring concerted power to fighting what was labeled the “Great Recession,” after concluding that the existing G-7 was not encompassing enough to deal with the crisis.

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April 22, 2010 at 11:08 am

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BlackBerry hasn’t yet begun to fight

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Don’t you hate it when you buy something and a newer model comes out soon after?  I only know about 7 people who got the only Blackberry available in Korea, including myself, and many times more who own an iPhone.  Almost everyone I know back home has a Blackberry but apparently it’s not catching on in Korea.  Definitely my favourite phone though in terms of features and usability.

BlackBerry hasn’t yet begun to fight
업그레이드 블랙베리
April 22, 2010
A model holds up BlackBerry smartphones from Research in Motion. The device has not caught on among consumers here, but the Canada-based company and its partner SK Telecom say they focused on corporate customers. [YONHAP]

Canada’s mobile-phone maker Research in Motion, best known for its mobile business device the BlackBerry, says its marketing in Korea is just beginning and it’s here for the long term.

With SK Telecom, Korea’s top mobile service provider, RIM introduced the new BlackBerry Bold 9700 model to the Korean press yesterday.

The latest model is the successor of the BlackBerry Bold 9000, a hit handset in the United States and Europe that became available for corporate consumers in Korea in December 2008, and at retail in June 2009.

The Bold 9700 has the typical Black-Berry features, including the signature Qwerty keyboard, but with the new BlackBerry OS 5.0, which offers enhanced e-mail and calendar functions.

Most notable is its slightly smaller size, thanks to a new optical track pad, which works like the sensor on a optical mouse and replaces the mechanical rubber trackball on older models.

“There is a perception that BlackBerry hasn’t been successful in Korea. But I beg to differ,” said Norm Lo, RIM’s Asia-Pacific vice president, to reporters yesterday at a Seoul hotel. “Korea is a very important market for us, offering tremendous growth and opportunity in terms of smartphones and wireless technology.

“Our strategy in Korea is a phased approach. So we’ve not actually marketed [BlackBerry] in all segments.”

Strictly from a sales perspective, the BlackBerry hasn’t been a consumer success. SKT said it sold just 30,000 BlackBerry Bold 9000s in Korea last year, compared to more than 500,000 units for the iPhone, which arrived around the same time and took only a few months to set a new sales record for a foreign-made handset.

RIM and SKT officials explain, however, that they initially targeted corporate consumers looking to set up mobile offices, which takes time but is “a very complex yet powerful strategy.” They said the process requires understanding how the firms mobilize their workers.

“We’ve distributed BlackBerrys to some 1,200 companies including Korean Air, Posco and Hyundai Hysco, mostly companies that do a lot of business with foreign partners or offices, installing the devices on their corporate networks and Internet,” said Kim Sun-hyeong, director of SKT’s solution business office.

But officials at RIM hope the Bold 9700 will appeal to individual professionals and retail consumers with added functions like social networking.

“BlackBerry is trying to change the way people communicate and allow the way social networking was originally meant to be,” said Zane Moi, RIM’s Asia-Pacific regional director, highlighting in particular BlackBerry Messenger 5.0, which allows virtual discussion in real time, including a feature to display whether what you’ve sent is being read.

Another element RIM officials hope will attract Korean consumers is access to its App World store, which hasn’t been available until now.

Preorders for the new model began yesterday, and the phone will hit the retail market in May.

By Kim Hyung-eun []

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April 22, 2010 at 11:04 am

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Phone Services in Korea, International calls

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Great, useful post from Seoul City Blog regarding phone services in Korea which are quite different (and better IMO) than North American services.

One of the greatest aspects of having a cell phone in Korea is that are incoming calls are free, even for pay-as-you-go phones.  This means that even if you run out of money, you can still receive calls.  I think the same goes for text messages (on prepaid) but not 100% sure.  I guess one other difference is that they don’t have plans here like weeknights and weekends free like they did back home (actually not sure if they still have those plans back home).  However, I still find my cell phone bill relatively cheap; around 55,000 to 60,000 KRW per month with moderate use (actually I have a smartphone which is more expensive due to data plans).

In terms of making long distance calls, I usually use 00700+country code+area code+phone number.  I’m not sure how cheap it is compared to other services such as 00365 as I’ve only been using this.  I also use it to send text messages back home too.

More great tips below:

News on Sep 28: Long distance calling charge were abolished. Long distance calling rates will be reduced by 85 percent from W250-W261 per three minutes to W39, the same as local calls. Most communication service providers currently apply the long distance rate for calls further than 30 km.

Telecom companies are now announcing measures to diversify price plans for mobile services to reduce the burden for users.

Useful numbers to know:

  • Country number: Korea (82)
  • Area Code: Seoul (02), Gyeonggi-do (031), Incheon (032), Gangwon-do (033), Chungcheong nam-do (041), Daejeon (042), Chungcheong buk-do (043), Busan (051), Ulsan (052), Daegu (053), Gyeongsang buk-do (054), Gyeongsang nam-do (055), Jeolla nam-do (061), Gwangju (062), Jeolla buk-do (063), Jeju-do (064)
  • Cell phone: 010, 011, 016, 017, 018
  • Korea Telecom Directory provides an English website for foreigners to find phone numbers in Korea.
  • Phone number finder: Call 114 from Land line, Area code+ 114 (from mobile phone), and Service fee is W120. You can request an English speaking operator.
  • Calling from abroad:

~International dialing code+ 82 (Country number) + 2 (area code: drop 0 in front) + Phone number

~International dialing code + 82 (Country number) + 10 (mobile number: drop 0 in front) + Phone number

1. International calls

There are multiple providers (001, 002, 00700, 00365 etc) who allow you to use their service to make a call to an overseas phone number.

  • 00700 (SK Service provider) + Country number (U.S/Canada: 1, U.K: 44, Australia: 61) + Phone number
  • 001 (KT Service provider) + Country number + Phone number

Be aware that when using different service provider, you will be billed separately. For example, if you use 00700 which is run by the SK telecom from your mobile phone serviced with KT, there will be separated bill that you need to deal with.

Using Skype: Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet. Calls to other users of the service and, in some countries, to free-of-charge numbers, are free, while calls to other landlines and mobile phones can be made for a fee. Additional features include instant messaging, file transfer and video conferencing. As of June 2009, total user accounts are up to 483 million. Users may have more than one account, and it is not possible to identify users with multiple accounts. As of January 2009, Skype is adding about 30 million subscribers a quarter.

Using calling cards: You can also purchase international calling cards from most convenience stores and special phone card shops of which there are many in Itaewon. Different cards are better suited for calling different countries, so make sure you choose one that allows you to call to the country you will be calling.

Making an international collect call: Dial 00794. An English speaking operator will connect you to the number that you wish to speak with

2. Mobile phone

English-menu mobile phones are widely available these days. Korea uses CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) system as in many other countries use GSM (Global System for Mobile communications). Therefore, you cannot use a unit purchased in another country here (even if it is a Korean model) nor can you use SIM cards.

  • Contract phone service: Basic requirements are passport, alien registration card, and the least visa validate up to 6months. Each provider has different regulations. You can meet with LG telecom which is friendly designed for foreign residents at the Seoul Global Center. If you have any questions on signing up, please contact Min Jeong Kim at 02-2075-4134.
  • Prepaid phone service: Having alien registration card is not necessary (Passport is necessary). Prepaid mobile phones are easier to obtain. But you must still purchase the phone and the charge per minute is higher than the post paid. Used phone models are easily available, including pre-pay ones. Used phones can be found at the stores in Itaewon, also at the Techno mart (Subway line 2, Gangbyeon station near Kunkuk Univ.) on the 6th floor
  • Rental phone: It is good for short-term visitors. You can find rental phones at the airport or from local rental phone shop. SGC can assist you to find the nearest rental phone shop. Phone rates are expensive compared to the services presented before.
  • Roaming: If you want to use your mobile phone while you are travelling outside of Korea, some phones are automatically set up in an international mode, some phones are not. It is depending on what model your phone is. Please contact your service provider before hand. If your phone doesn’t allow using in other country, you can get a roaming phone at the airport. You will be charged as international phone calls including service fee.
  • Text message: Sending domestic text message charges W20 each (Photo message: W100). You can also send text messages from Korea to your home country or from out of country to Korea. The service fee for the international text message is between W150 and W200. It is the same way to make an international phone call.

~00700 or 001 (SK/KT) + Country number (U.S/Canada: 1, U.K: 44, Australia: 61) + Phone number

Tip #1. Receiving calls with your mobile phone does not affect your phone bill.Tip #2. When you make a call from your cell phone it’s like making a long distance call, you have to always put the area code. For example when calling a local Seoul number that you would dial directly from lane line 222-5555 you would dial 02-222-5555 from your mobile phone.

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Posted in Consumer counseling, International calls, Living in Seoul, Mobile phone service, Phone service

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Written by recruiterinkorea

April 16, 2010 at 11:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized