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The Economy of South Korea THE RISE OF AN ASIAN TIGER South Korea in recent decades has been one of the most dynamic economies in the world Over the period from 1965 to 1990 the rate of growth of per capita GNP was greater than that of any other country in the world Watkins 1999 Major Korean enterprises such as Lucky Goldstar and Samsung are now common household brand names all over the world As well Hyundai and Daewoo the two leading South Korean auto manufacturers both offer products that are able to compete on the worldwide market along with other major car producers In analyzing the South Korean economy it is important to look at the various factors behind this remarkable success story The boom and rapid expansion of the Korean economy is due largely in part to the radical changes and new policies introduced under the Park Chung Hee government of 1961-1979 Significant new economic policies included reinforcing the system of chaebol creating a policy of import substitution with an export-led approach fostering the development of industries designed to compete effectively in the worlds industrial export markets nationalizing the banks as well as working on to reduce Koreas large external debt It is these policies introduced throughout the 1960s and 70s which caused a future boom in South Koreas economy and continue to influence it at the present day One extremely important aspect of the South Korean economy is the concept of chaebol Fathered by Park Chung Hee in the early 1960s chaebol are conglomerates of many companies clustered around one holding company The parent company is usually controlled by one family It started off as a few specially selected large firms encouraged to tailor their growth and production targets to meet South Korean government objectives and were dependant on state-owned banks for the credit they needed to operate and grow Government-chaebol cooperation was essential to the subsequent economic growth
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