Impeachment won’t affect foreign investment

By Kim Jae-kyoung

SINGAPORE ― A series of unfortunate developments in Korea are unlikely to have a major impact on foreign investment in the country, according to global investors, Wednesday.

They indicated that North Korea’s military provocations and the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye are not big barriers to their investments in Korea.

“Since North Korea is a known factor and is not new, it does not affect our view of Korea and our investment decision,” said a Singapore-based venture capitalist told The Korea Times, asking not to be named.

“Regarding the impeachment, I think that it is not an issue anymore because the court’s decision has removed uncertainty,” he added.

Another private equity investor echoed the view, saying, “Despite some noise following the judgment, we expect that the situation will calm down in the near future.”

“Political scandals are everywhere. We see similar things in many countries, including Singapore,” he added. “It is just a matter of degree.”

These views came at the 2017 Korea Business Forum hosted by KOTRA, a trade and investment promotion agency, and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy in Singapore from March 14 to 15.

The forum was part of the Korean government’s investor relations (IR) activities led by Deputy Minister for Trade and Investment Chae Hee-bong.

The forum was aimed at introducing free economic zones (FEZs) in Korea’s provincial areas, promising startups and potential merger and acquisition (M&A) targets to global investors in Singapore.

The Korean government focused on highlighting the strong fundamentals of Korea’s economy, consistent policies for foreign investors, and the attractiveness of Korea as an investment destination.

The forum attracted more than 120 potential investors from 80 venture capitalists, private equities (PEs) and financial advisory companies. Among major participating companies are JP Morgan Asset Management, Ascott and Inventis, the largest PE growth fund in China.

Following the forum, Korea’s FEZ authorities and startup firms held one- on-one business meetings with investors, including sovereign wealth funds and financial companies.

“Despite lingering uncertainty in Korea, a lot of investors have shown keen interest in the Korean market and companies,” said an official at the KOTRA Singapore Office.

“In particular, it is very encouraging that one-on-one meetings with Korean startups are all booked in advance,” he added. “They are particularly interested in media content providers.”

On Thursday, the government plans to have a meeting with global real estate developers and hold a roundtable with private equity funds interested in Korean markets in Hong Kong.

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