Sales Representative in South Korea

Overview by

Commercial Intermediaries

Trading Companies
  • Type of Organization
The General Trading Companies are trading firms related to Korean large conglomerates. They act more and more as importers and less and less as exporters. Very large range of products.
  • Main Actors
Samsung Corporation, LG Corporation, Hyundai Corporation, Hyosung Corporation, Lotte Trading
  • Type of Organization
There are two types of wholesalers:
- import-export wholesalers. They are particularly useful for their logistic organization, information processing, product promotion and selection;

- wholesalers who mainly offer a logistic service, stocking goods so as to supply retailers, as they need them.

Korean wholesalers always ask exclusivity.

  • Main Actors
Garak-dong Agricultural & Marine Products Market , Gangseo Agricultural Products Wholesale Market.
Useful Resources
Korea Importers Association (KOIMA)

Using a Commercial Agent

The Advantages
Knowledge of local culture and language. Agents are appointed as sole agents for the entire country.
Where to Be Vigilant
It is important to build a personal relationship. Signed contracts have small value.
Elements of Motivation
Exclusivity, entertainment, minimum sales, or qualitative indicators of sales efforts.
Frequent communication per mail, phone, plus regular visits to Korea or invitation to visit your country.
The Average Amount of Commission
From 2.5 to 7 % for regular business transactions. 20% or even higher in the case of luxurious goods, medical, laboratory and scientific analytical instruments.
Breach of Contract
According to each contract
Finding a Commercial Agent
SMBA, Globiz Korea of Small and Medium Business Administration of Korea
Buy Korea
KITA, Korea International Trade Association
Find Sales and Distribution Service Providers in South Korea on

Setting Up a Commercial Unit

The Advantages
Establishing an office in Korea has become more and more expensive, due to the costs of labor, office rent, and other expenses.
Where to Be Vigilant
It should be considered in the case of long-term sales development.
Different Possible Forms of Settlement
  • A Representative Office
Such an office can obtain market data and other information and provide necessary promotional and service support. A representative office just requires a simple notification to a local bank and the tax office. It must not involve itself in commercial transactions or generate income, and therefore cannot directly handle commercial orders.
  • A Branch Office
A branch office may take and fill orders and carry out a full marketing program, including advertising, recruiting a sales force, and performing promotional activities.

The establishment of a branch office is considered a direct investment and requires reporting to the authorities.

  • A Company
Setting up a wholly owned corporation offer a better recognition by local partners and treatment by local authorities.


Evolution of the Sector
Franchising system is very developed in Korea. Main sectors concerned are: restaurants and clothes.
Some Big Franchises
SPC , Donuts, Baskin Robbins, Paris Croissant
Genesis , BBQ, Chicken…
Office Nex
For Further Information
KFA, Korea Franchise Association
Find more on about Selling to South Korea.

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Hot Tips (1)
  • Selling in South Korea

    This article includes valuable information on using an agent or distributor, franchising, selling to the government, selling factors/techniques, trade promotion and advertising, etc.

    U.S. Commercial Service South Korea on 4 Jan 2010 related to Sales Representative in South Korea

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  • U.S. Commercial Service South Korea

    U.S. Department of Commerce, South Korea