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Managing editor's note

Korea Does Matter: why KED decided to go global

Oct 09, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Korea Does Matter.

This was one of many candidates for the name of our new global media outlet. Although we ended up going with our existing brand The Korea Economic Daily with the tagline Global Edition, I still think Korea Does Matter is a good name. Because this country really does matter.

I’m not talking about the Miracle on the Han River, or about South Korea transitioning from a recipient to a donor state and so forth. Of course, we’re proud of these amazing achievements led by our post-war generation. But they are stories from our past.

What I want to talk about is that Korea is a land of opportunity. And that is why we’ve decided to start this unprecedented multilingual news service covering Korea’s businesses, investors, markets and culture for global readers.

Since the market cap of Korea’s stock market is only 2% of the global stock market, foreign institutional investors allocate only 2% of their equity exposure to Korean companies. They don’t feel the need to research Korean companies other than Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, Hyundai Motors and LG Chem.

That’s probably why global news outlets based in Seoul mostly follow Samsung and North Korea. Samsung is undoubtedly a great company, but there are more valuable companies in Korea in terms of innovation, technology and value proposition.

The problem is accessibility to information.

In the course of downsizing following the 2008 global financial crisis, global media outlets have reduced the number of foreign correspondents in most regions, including their Seoul-based reporters.

Meanwhile, the number of newsworthy companies in Korea has increased explosively. As recently as 10 years ago, Korea manufactuers boasted a diversified global portfolio, but most Korean non-manufacturers were only local players. Now Korea has Internet, bio, software, entertainment, game, food, beauty and fashion businesses that are taking over the world.

Unlike in Palo Alto, California, there are few garages here from which to start up a company, but innovation still happens and creativity grows in Korea. I would say it’s another miracle when you think about Korea’s rigid and hierarchical education system.

Those new businesses, however, are rarely introduced to global audiences through global news outlets. And this is the arbitrage for us. Korea Economic Daily is a local business newspaper, but we’ve decided to go global to leverage our strengths.

We plan to curate interesting business stories ranging from startups, SMEs, hidden champions to conglomerates for our global audiences. You can discover opportunities to invest in, do business with, and collaborate with companies that embrace open innovation.

Korea has a high rate of household savings compared to other countries, and the accumulated savings in various pension funds, banks, and insurers translate into opportunities for the global investment community.

Korea’s National Pension Service alone manages more than $700 billion and, as the domestic market is too small, is driven to invest abroad . Korea Investment Corporation, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, is required to allocate 100% of its more than $150 billion assets to overseas markets. Korea Post, which manages $120 billion, also aggressively invests abroad.

In addition to the three funds mentioned above, there are also the teacher’s pension, the government employment pension, credit unions, mutual aids, banks and insurers that have rapidly expanded their overseas portfolios.

Korea-based investors’ increased investments into overseas assets will provide more opportunities for global asset managers, investment banks, brokers, advisors and attorneys. We launched Korean Investors for this reason in 2016, and the service will continue to feature in this fresh news outlet offering more sophisticated content.

In our Culture & Trends section, you'll realize that BTS and Parasite didn’t come out of thin air. Before them, there were numerous artists, filmmakers, directors,
fashion designers, chefs, restaurateur and trendsetters whose talents and original content grabbed global attention. 

In short, what we’re trying to do is to minimize information asymmetry for non-Korean readers to help both Korean and non-Korean businesses thrive and markets become more efficient. That’s a good enough reason to start a new business news outlet.

We hope you enjoy it. 


With warmest regards,

Chang Jae Yoo

Managing Editor, The Korea Economic Daily Global Edition

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