Title page for ETD etd-011999-124205

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hwang, Eun Jin
Author's Email Address ehwang@vt.edu
URN etd-011999-124205
Title Effects of South Korean Market Liberalization on the South Korean Retail Market
Degree Master of Science
Department Near Environments
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Norton, Marjorie J. T. Committee Chair
Chen-Yu, Jessie H. Committee Member
Lovingood, Rebecca P. Committee Member
  • Retailing industry
  • Chaebol
  • Liberalization
  • Foreign direct investment
  • Market-opening
  • Parallel importing
  • South Korea
  • Frugality campaign
  • Over-consumption
  • Apparel Market
  • Trade deficit
  • Clothing and Textiles
Date of Defense 1998-12-17
Availability restricted
South Korea is a country that is poor in natural resources and capital and remains behind many other nations in technological development; however, South Korea's unique development strategy has led its economy to high growth over the last three decades. During 1997, South Korea began to experience a serious financial crisis, including bankruptcies of many of its conglomerates, a drastic depreciation in the international exchange rate of the South Korean currency, and an increasing foreign debt. Currently South Korea is struggling to compete with products from both industrialized nations and newly industrializing nations. The current crisis has occurred as South Korea has been engaged in extensive market-opening.

Knowledge is lacking about South Korea's intricate and rapidly changing political and economic climate. The purpose of this research was to explore and clarify the interrelated factors that have contributed to South Korea’s present economic problems, especially those facing South Korea’s retailing industry.

The qualitative methodology of "grounded theory" was used in this study. Grounded theory is a general methodology for developing theory that is grounded in data which are systematically gathered and analyzed. Theory evolves during the research process through a continuous interplay between analysis and data collection.

This research attempted to discover the factors, or themes, that have affected the South Korean economy and retailing industry. The following factors were identified: (1) foreign direct investment; (2) the price-gap between imported goods and domestic products; (3) South Korea’s trade deficit; (4) perceived over-consumption of luxury items by South Korean consumers; and (5) the chaebol, or South Korean large conglomerates.

The economic factors that have led to the current difficulties facing the South Korean retailing market are complicated and interwoven. South Korean retailers will have to address these factors in the future, and attempt to find solutions. It is hoped that the knowledge resulting from this will be of benefit to South Korea's attempt to compete in a global marketplace.

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