The third largest economy in Asia after China and Japan, South Korea is a major force to be reckoned with in electronics, mobile phones, digital displays, steel and semiconductors, amongst other things. It is the world leader in shipbuilding and the automotive business is also large, with great domestic loyalty; 97.3% of all cars sold in South Korea are Korean.
Korea Convention Bureau (KCB), part of the Korea Tourism Organization, is keen to build Korea into a premier destination for tourists, convention delegates and business travellers. There are excellent facilities across the country, as well as good international air links and internal transportation. Four convention cities have been designated nationwide: Seoul, Busan, Daegu and Jeju-shi.
The economy has taken a hit in recent years after the US bubble burst. The Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) is being built near Incheon International Airport as a business and tourism hub for northeast Asia, and the East Sea Free Trade Zone is also underway in the east coast city of Donghae.
Despite a brief thaw in relations with the North, which saw a growth of economic links, North Korea’s sinking of a South Korean patrol boat in 2010 and bombing of a border town has returned relations to a frosty standoff and any economic ties are currently severed.
Unemployment was at 3.6% in 2017. Inflation was 2% in 2017.