In 2010, the Korean construction sector accounted for 6 per cent of GDP. There are 56,533 construction companies and 11,956 general contractors, 288 of which won overseas contracts worth US$491.5 billion in 81 countries.
Construction Sector in South Korea
South Korea is the 12th largest economy in the world, has a population of 50 million and a predicted GDP
growth of 4.5 per cent in 2011. The Korean construction industry is a mature market with recognised civil
Engineering companies include Hyundai, Samsung, Daewoo and Daelim, working well in
domestic and overseas markets. They have played an important role in developing the Korean
economy since the 1960s and grew rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s.
In 2010, the Korean construction sector accounted for 6 per cent of GDP. There are 56,533
construction companies and 11,956 general contractors, 288 of which won overseas contracts
worth US$491.5 billion in 81 countries.
It is common in Korea for a major construction company to be in control of all aspects of a
design and build project, with roles of the construction process being fulfilled by ?in-house?
teams. This includes aspects of project management including finance, timing, build and design
etc. If you are not part of this team there are few opportunities. As a result building relationships
is essential in Korea as the team ethos is encouraged before any development proceeds.
Korea is primarily interested in foreign companies with skills in advanced engineering and in the
sustainable construction, green building and design sectors.
Areas such as quantity surveying, architectural design, consultancy, supervision/inspection and
project management are easier to penetrate as UK companies? capabilities are generally better
than Korean ones. The opportunities include:
Collaboration on Overseas Projects
Korean companies are keen to partner with foreign companies for overseas projects, especially in
Europe. Once relationships develop there is a possibility this will be transferred to other markets
South Korea has hosted a number of major sporting events in the past 20 years and they are
going to host the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games 2018. It should provide a number of
opportunities for having UK expertise in stadium design, legacy planning and advanced
Seoul, the capital city, plans to create a million green homes and convert a million existing
houses into green homes.
This is a government-funded R&D programme to develop technologies for low-energy and
environmentally friendly apartments. Daelim Construction and Engineering is leading the market
as they introduced ?three-litre? house model apartments that consume significantly less energy
than conventional ones by requiring only three litres of gas per square metre per year. These
apartments are very popular due to their high energy efficiency, renewable energy and
environment friendly spaces.
Green and Sustainable Buildings
Public and private interest in sustainable construction and building materials has risen in the
Korean construction sector. There has been consensus that green management in buildings
should be applied to the construction industry. The government will support Korean construction
companies in making green management strategies to reduce green house gas emissions in their
buildings, conducting energy efficiency improvement projects and receiving certification of eco-
Latest export opportunities ? Construction
Latest export opportunities ? South Korea
Getting into the market
To compete in South Korea UK companies are recommended to have a capable local distributor,
licensee or franchise partner who has an established network in the market and extensive market
knowledge. A long-term perspective and a reliable partnership between supplier and their local
partner is one of the key factors in achieving success.
More about doing business in South Korea
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
? Jiyoung Lee, British Embassy Seoul. Tel: +82 (2) 3210 5629 or Email:
Contact your local international trade team
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events ? Construction
Kyunghyang Housing Fair
Date: 22 ? 26 Feb. 2012
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters