Yoon Seok Yeol will be 13th person to hold the title of President of Korea. Immediately after his narrowest of victories, he stated that his priorities are recovery from the pandemic, boosting growth, and dealing with the rapidly aging society.
He pledged to overcome them by supporting the values of an open society and economy and by fostering integration and prosperity. He wants a business-led economy less incumbered by regulation.
Choi Kyung Mi and Alex Jensen go through his major policy platforms, as they relate to business, and then look at the former Prosecutor General’s problematic relationships with many in the Korean business community.
As Kyungmi says, “Yoon has emphasized that the private sector should be the driving force for a fair and innovative economy, blaming the government for its debt incurring spending. He has vowed to give the private sector more freedom or in order to raise Korea’s potential growth rate from the current two to 4%. And some measures to achieve this includes increased flexibility in working hours, extending tax benefits for small companies, even after they become larger in scale. And he’s expected to focus on building business friendly environments and support measures so that companies can create quality jobs.”
With such a small victory and a potentially unfriendly legislature, it will be intriguing to see if Yoon can accomplish is priorities.
D-2 Korean Presidential Election: Merger, Major Pledges & Record Early Voting
Alex Jenson 0:08
You’re listening to koreabizcast with the KBLA. I’m your host, Alex Jensen on this Tuesday, March 15. Now, imagine you’ve got a company, perhaps many of you don’t need to imagine that. And you want to expand globally, but you’re not so sure about having a legal entity and a target market abroad or there are other uncertainties that you need to negotiate. Our next guest has a range of solutions geared for modern globalization. And I think it’s pretty inspiring in his own right. Uh, before we welcome him on the line, let me also say thank you to the Four Seasons Hotel Seoul, for making today’s episode possible, and for offering stylish elegance in the very heart of the city. So without further ado, let me say, thank you so much to Josh Kim, Partner Manager of South Korea, at Globalization Partners. It’s an absolute pleasure.
Josh Kim 0:57
Many thanks, Alex, for this great opportunity.
Alex Jenson 1:00
Well, it’s really nice having you with us because you have an interesting story, which I think we should start with before we get into the company itself. You were based I understand in China before, you’re now working for a US based company in South Korea. Tell us a little bit more about you about Josh.
Josh Kim 1:18
Yes, so it’s really fascinating, because just about a year ago, I came back to Korea from from Hong Kong. So I was sent by a Korean education company to Shanghai and Hong Kong. And I worked there for the past five years. So I came back early last year, and then got an offer from Globalization Partners. So I’m working for Globalization Partners as partner manager. So while working in China, my job my role was to help the company to penetrate into Chinese Education Service market. So some of the projects that I was in was to set up like a joint venture in Hong Kong and set up like a business entity in Shenzhen. So that’s me.
Alex Jenson 2:12
China’s got such a mixed reputation these days. Have you got anything to say about the whole working in China thing? And and how you would offer advice to someone who’s maybe considering doing that I actually know more than one person who is either in line to do so or is considering it.
Josh Kim 2:30
Yeah, I mean, like, it was such an interesting, interesting experience working in China. So the mother company that I worked in, in Korea, is a big company. But then, you know, foreign subsidiaries in Shanghai and Hong Kong, relatively speaking, they’re still at the startup stage. So it was really challenging. And also, the red tapes and the regulations and the labor laws. And, you know, everything actually is quite different. Even before Shanghai actually, I lived in Beijing for like six years working and studying. And even in China, like Beijing and Shanghai, it’s almost like a different country. So. So it was quite colorful experience, yet very challenging moments for me.
Alex Jenson 3:21
Because right now, it feels like we’re a bit of a crossroads, we have this opportunity under an incoming administration, to possibly have some pretty business friendly policies. On the other hand, there might be some geopolitical developments that make it even harder to do business with China, based on what you learned over your time there. And then what you’ve seen in coming back here, like even in your capacity with Globalization Partners, for example, what would your advice be to people who want to do business in China or with China now,
Josh Kim 3:53
So like, China is such a big market, and sometimes the sales cycle can be very long. So sometimes you don’t even know if you’re doing well or not, because basically, the market is huge. So the companies have to actually have a very strong strategy when they enter Chinese market. So my recommendation for the companies entering Chinese market, make sure that they must have some kind of like a partnership or some kind of business before they enter the market. Basically, start starting from scratch in China can be very challenging. And also because your size can be smaller, even compared to like, local companies. So hiring people can be also very challenging. So I was very shocked because the mother company that I worked for is like one of the biggest education companies in Korea. So hiring people was never a challenge for me, but then When I was in Shanghai, basically, it was really difficult to arrange interviews with enough number of people, because because our size was not really big, and also the name was not famous. So it’s really challenging. That’s why a lot of preparation has to be done. When before actually enter the market,
Alex Jenson 5:24
of course, the other big factor, and it really does very strongly affect China, which seems like another world in this respect is COVID-19. China, at the time of recording this, which is just a day before we’re playing it out. So I don’t think things will change drastically, is so strict on on those COVID cases. And it seems to be hurting itself, both in terms of mobility of his domestic population, and potentially global population. And, and all sorts of other aspects that stem from that. What’s your perspective on COVID ongoing impact on doing business?
Josh Kim 6:02
So I mean, like, not just because of COVID, but I think like, Chinese government’s kind of foreign policy, and their kind of like, perspective about about like, a foreign direct investment is shifting. So and also, local competition in China is really is really severe. So it’s just not only the COVID-19, so the market itself can be more and more challenging to foreign companies. But you know, there are a lot of opportunities in China as well. If you have like, right, local partners. So yeah, I mean, like high risk, high return, right. So but then it’s not gonna be as easy as before, for foreign companies to enter China and find their foothold in the Chinese market.
Alex Jenson 7:02
This world certainly has gone through some pretty traumatic and is still going through some pretty traumatic moments. We’ll come back to some of the more positive aspects of where we’re currently at in terms of much, much higher levels of flexibility across the board. But I think at this point, we need to understand better what you’re doing with globalization partners. So you went from working in China with that education background, to coming back to Korea, and and signing up with this US based company, which is got, like its platform available in I think, 187 countries, is that right? Wow, I mean, that’s a pretty vast, extensive network that you’ve got to be able to tap into. So tell us how that came about, and what exactly you offer now.
Josh Kim 7:49
So like globalization partners, is a global leading HR technology company, offering Global Employment SAS platform in 187 countries. So the company, basically, before companies to enter new markets, or hire international teammates, companies, usually first to set up an international branch office or subsidiary in an expansion country, just like what I did when I was in China. But it can be time consuming and costly. And also, one of the big biggest challenges to, you know, I have like compliance. So most companies, but like most companies, they just want to test out the market. But they could end up going through complexities of global expansion and marketing. I’m making too much commitment just to hire one or two in country steps. So Globalization Partners solves this pain point by hiring the local team members on behalf of customers. So as employer of record, Globalization Partners, handles payroll in local currency, and take responsibility for compliance. So therefore, companies, customers can focus only on business, and they can succeed faster.
Alex Jenson 9:08
So in terms of your story with Globalization Partners, you were obviously taken in by this as an inspiring opportunity. How did you step into the role as partner manager for for South Korea, what was that process like?
Josh Kim 9:22
So coming back from from China, so I realized that you know, global, you know, new market entry or market development in a foreign country, I realized that I realized how, how difficult it was, especially following the traditional way. So you do the research to the preparation, and then you set up a business entity, you begin to hire local people, and then you sometimes fire them and then hire them again. So the whole process actually is really time consuming and very expensive. So that’s what I experienced. And I don’t like to make excuse about COVID. But actually, yes, the COVID came. So I could make make excuse that the business didn’t go well when I was in China. But the fact that one of the fundamental reasons was that, basically, I was really, we’re actually the company itself was distracted by some non core business activities, such as, like compliance and dealing with labor laws and such, you know, and also, it was really slow, you know, because speed to action, speed to execution is very important, because time is money. Right? So coming back to Korea, I was like thinking, I had some kind of paradigm shift in my mind, you know, and then I was looking for some other opportunities, particularly in the sector of education, technology, and also startup. And then the opportunity came because GP Globalization Partners is in technology, technology sector, and also it really innovates the way we do global business and also global hiring. So I apply for this job, and I got an offer luckily. So yeah,
Alex Jenson 11:16
Yeah. So let’s go further into the actual services you offer. I find it’s so intriguing. This idea of being able to hire without having a legal entity, how long would you expect a company to go on that basis? Is it very much dipping your toes in the water? Or do you think you could actually just carry on and have a sustainable business model working with Globalization Partners for a long term?
Josh Kim 11:42
That’s an excellent question. It totally depends on the company’s plan or the business model. So some companies actually most of our companies, they, before they set up a business and legal entity, basically, they use our service to test out the market. So normally, they spend like around one year to two years to test out the market. And once they have assurance about the market, basically, they make long long term commitment to the market by setting up like a legal entities. But on the other hand, some companies like such as like online companies, or some, you know, different companies, basically, they don’t really have to set up like a business entity, because, you know, the technology company, for example, like they are SAS platform companies. So basically, their revenue takes place in online, so they don’t really need to like a set of entities in every single country where they operate their business. So in that sense, they can, they can keep continue to use our solution, but it really depends on the company’s plan and business model.
Alex Jenson 12:55
And from a talent perspective, I find it really interesting as well, again, there is that pandemic element here, but it seems to sped up trends that we already saw people working for one company, for example, from the other side of the world, offering services that they could just as easily be providing inside an office. But But bosses management have realized, well, you know, this person in Australia can do the job for us in Seoul, just as well, then why not? But but what’s your view on on the long term shape of that? Do you think that it’s going to continue moving even more strongly in that direction, are you going to have to look more at relocating talent?
Josh Kim 13:34
I don’t think we are going to go back to before COVID, you know, so which means that the demand for flexibility, the demand for mobility will be getting stronger, even you know, and we are globally we are experiencing some kind of like talent work where talent shortage, so it’s, it’s getting more difficult to actually hire the best talent. So which means that you know, and these best talents, they require some kind of flexibility and mobility. So this whole kind of phenomenon, phenomena like about around like work from home, work from anywhere, I think it’s going to continue to find its own way. So I believe that, you know, for us Globalization Partners, there is like more and more opportunities, because the company is basically even if you like, you have like a physical office, what’s happening right now is that, you know, still they implement like, maybe like two or three days working from home and then two days, two days or one day per week, like coming to the office, then why not like hire global talents in 187 countries. So, so we have like, also like, technology in place, you know, so even if like I’m like, just like, take my myself as an example. Yes, I’m working from working for American company, but I’m working from home. And I have no problem communicating with my boss, with my colleagues. And productivity, productivity. level wise, actually, it’s not less productive. You know, sometimes I work overtime at home. So I find sometimes it’s really miserable. I’m working from home, but see, I’m working overtime. It’s not that I’m forced to do work overtime, but you know, I have my target, I have my goal, I have my task to achieve. So I think this phenomenon will continue to go on.
Alex Jenson 15:43
What sort of vetting process is there? In other words, if I’m a company in Seoul and I think, okay, let’s do this, and you’re going to arrange things for me over in, I don’t know, for argument’s sake, Rio de Janeiro, wherever it happens to be somewhere on the other side of the world. And we’re looking at different languages, online communication, which might make it difficult for me to feel absolute trust in who I’m working with over there. How can you offer me that guarantee?
Josh Kim 16:09
So basically, when it comes to HR management, or compliance matters, basically, GP Globalization Partners takes responsibility for that, but when it comes to work allocation and work management, it’s done by the customers, like client companies, you know, so, and also, like, many global companies, basically, they set up like their regional headquarters, for example, in APEC, a lot of companies actually they set up their regional headquarters in Singapore, because of the timezone issues, you know, so, yes, I work for an American company, but I work mostly I work with my colleagues in Singapore. So, we are almost in the same time zone, and also we use like a zoom like a Slack and all kinds of like, you know, tools to stay connected. So, yeah, but then yes, like, when you hire somebody, who is working remotely, basically, that person has to be independent, which means that if like, that person has to be highly motivated. And also his like, the job function should be something very, how can I say, related to how can I say like, they should be highly motivated. Also, their KPI has to be very clear, you know? So that’s what’s happening.
Alex Jenson 17:38
But if, if they’re essentially working for you, but it’s been rebranded as the company, and they feel that perhaps they’re not part of that company long term. What are their satisfaction levels? Like as they proceed in your experience?
Josh Kim 17:57
Oh, yeah. So that’s a great question. So normally, people working with us, basically, they see like growth potential of the company. And in the long run, at least, the companies have, like, have some kind of desire to enter the market, but they just want to test out the market. That’s why they normally they hire, like people in the leadership position, you know, so that’s why so for, they’re like, very committed. And then also, they know that, you know, if to, if they do, well, basically, the company will invest more, and then eventually, they will set up their own business entity. And also, they will also benefit from that kind of like a success. So it also some, some people, they are like, you know, specialists, like global talents, you know, so they’re experts in that specific field. So they like the company, and they actually like the job itself. They believe that that helps that job helps with their career development, or their career path. That’s why they take on these opportunities, as well.
Alex Jenson 19:10
So just to be like, absolutely clear on the practical process here, because there might be someone listening who’s interested in working with you, as an employee. There might be companies interested in using your services. How does it work each step of the way?
Josh Kim 19:24
Yeah, I mean, like, for the companies who are interested in using our service, basically, the simple ways like if you are based in South Korea, you can reach out to me or you can leave your information on our website. So and then we can shortly get back to you and then provide with you all the information. And for the potential employees basically, we don’t have the kind of like employee work job candidate portal, we don’t have that. Rather we actually was we have some requests from our potential customers basically our head on search firm partners, basically they, they identify the candidates. So that’s how it works.
Alex Jenson 20:10
Well, if anyone wants to get in touch with you, maybe we should leave them with that notification. Is it best via email or through the website? Or are you like KBLA a LinkedIn platform?
Josh Kim 20:20
Yes. I mean, like our capacity say they directly reach out to me via my email, but also they can they can reach out to KBLA, right?
Alex Jenson 20:31
Yeah, absolutely. We’d be very happy to send people your way. That’s probably the easiest ways we’ve been encouraging everybody to add us there and interact via that medium. We’ve also got our email too, which is email@example.com. Josh, Kim, thank you so much. Good luck with everything Globalization Partners. It’s truly a time of acceleration in your field. So it’s, it’s great timing to connect with you now. And I also want to thank again, the Four Seasons Hotel sold for making today’s episode possible. Join us again, same time tomorrow or whenever suits you.