Starting your business in South Korea or the Republic of Korea has several advantages. It is a developed country that will give you ample opportunities to grow your business.
From the perspective of the Human development index, South Korea ranks 7th among the countries of Asia. This is an advantage for you to start your business here in this part of the world.
The economy of South Korea stands in the 10th position in the world by nominal GDP index. Therefore it will be easier for you to start and grow your business in this country.
The transport and communication network of the country is extremely developed. Hence you will have great benefits in developing your business here.
Different business ideas are ideal and profitable for South Korea. You can choose any one of them according to your choice, ability, or preference.
25 Small Business Ideas in South Korea for Locals & Foreigners
1. Online Shop
Ecommerce is a big thing that is becoming bigger with time. You can start your business as an online store in South Korea. Your online store can sell a variety of products. These are grocery items, lifestyle products, electronics, and gadgets, etc. All of them are quite profitable. You need a good app excellent delivery network and online and offline marketing to popularize your online shop.
2. App Development
South Korea has one of the highest internet speeds in the world and a great demand for different kinds of apps. If you know to code, you can start the business of app development. There are various ideas of apps like online shopping app, hotel, and other services booking apps, etc. You can develop an app for business enterprises or public utility apps. You need a website and marketing network to grow your business of app development.
3. Online English Teaching
Knowledge of English is becoming important in South Korea. Hence, if you know good English as well as Korean, you can start teaching English to the students or professionals online. The teaching may be for studying abroad or a better communication skill at the workplace. Good online marketing is essential for an online English teaching business.
4. Translation Service
Translation service has a good demand in South Korea as many people are not very conversant in English. Many officials as well as academic materials need to be translated from Korean to English and vice versa. If you know both languages well, you can start your business of translation services. It will give you a good payment, especially for foreign clients who need the documents translated into English. You need a website and good contacts for this business.
5. Real Estate Agency
Real estate is a booming business in South Korea. Hence you can start your real estate agency business with little capital. All you need are a website and good contact and database of buyers and sellers. Connect the buyers with the sellers and you will get your commission. The more deals you can crack, the more is your income.
6. Head Hunting Agency
Many manufacturing units and factories in South Korea need laborers regularly on a project basis. Many of such laborers come from remote areas and are unable to get in contact. You can start a head-hunting agency where you will get in touch with the laborers and give them the contact of the employers. This business has a good payment as you will be paid by the employers.
7. Trade Information Services
South Korea being a developed economy many foreign investors, as well as foreign buyers, comes to the country for business purposes. They need authentic trade information about their deals or purchases. If you are well-informed about the trade and commerce of South Korea, you can start your business of trade information services. By guiding the foreigners you will get service charges from them and the consultancy or commission from the local entrepreneurs too.
Dropshipping is a popular business idea in South Korea. You can start a drop-shipping business where you need not keep a stock of goods you are going to sell. On the contrary, you will buy the product from a third party against an order from a client and deliver it to his/her doorstep. This is a profitable business.
9. Sauce and condiment manufacturing
Sauces and condiments of different varieties are quite popular in Korean food items. Hence you can start a manufacturing unit of sauce and condiments here. You can sell the products to retail markets, restaurants, and grocery stores. You need a good marketing network to earn profits.
10. Old Age Care
Old age care is an important area of business. You can start an old-age care center for bed-ridden or critically ill-aged persons. Starting an assisted living facility for senior adults is also a good business option for you. It needs investment and a lot of responsibilities on your part. However, it is a good business, and building your goodwill is important for getting more clients.
11. Accounting Service
Accounting services have a good demand in South Korea. If you are experienced and qualified in accounts you can start your accounting service firm. Apart from bookkeeping and tax planning, you are to provide financial planning and advisory services that have a great demand.
KPO or Knowledge process outsourcing is a good business idea for you in South Korea. Open a KPO firm and do different kinds of knowledge-based and data-driven work that are outsourced by regional or foreign companies. These works include data analysis, data management, financial or market research, etc. You need good networking and online marketing to grow your KPO business.
13. Dance School
South Korea is home to many artistic talents and activities. Hence you can start a dance school in South Korea and earn good money. If you are a trained dancer you can teach the students. However, it is better to hire good instructors. Invest in good publicity and advertisements both online and offline.
14. Vending Machine
Vending machines are a profitable business idea for you in South Korea. You can place the vending machines at busy places like shopping malls, grocery stores, markets, or office areas. Various things are sold through vending machines like beverages, newspapers, cigarettes, candies, etc. It is a lucrative business for you if you can place the vending machines in strategic places.
15. Start a Beauty Salon Business
The salon is a good business idea anywhere. You can start your salon business in South Korea and earn high profits. First of all, you need a good location for your salon. Efficient beauticians, elegant décor, and good publicity will make your salon popular and earn you a handsome profit.
16. Beauty Products Shop
Beauty products have a very good demand in South Korea. You can start a beauty product store in South Korea and get good profits. Choose a good location and arrange your products in an organized manner so that the customers can find their items easily. You can sell international beauty products in your shop. Otherwise, you can opt for a blend of international and local products.
17. Open a Clothing Boutique
Fashion designing and boutiques are very much in demand in South Korea. If you are a designer, you can start your boutique business in this country. Study fashion trends and design clothes. However, use your creativity and go for some innovative designs and also some fusion clothes that are quite popular now. Your networking along with good publicity will help you to grow your boutique business.
18. Solar Panel Manufacturing
South Korea gives a lot of importance to alternative power. Hence you can start a solar panel manufacturing business here. Solar panels are much in demand in offices as well as residential areas. Along with manufacturing, add installation and repair services to earn more profits.
19. Selling Wind Turbines
Wind energy is also a priority sector in South Korea. You can start a business of wind turbine selling in South Korea. If you have the capital you can manufacture wind turbines and sell them. Otherwise, you can export or sell local turbines. Either way, the profit is quite comfortable.
20. Open a Pharmacy
A pharmacy store is a good business idea in any country. South Korea gives a lot of importance to generic drugs. Hence you can start a generic drug store. Apart from a good location, you will require the necessary license and permit to start a pharmacy. Good marketing, as well as publicity, are important for your pharmacy business.
21. Food Delivery Services
The food delivery business is lucrative in South Korea. If cooking is your forte, you can start the food delivery business from home. Deliver home-cooked and tasty food to offices and residences. Quality of food along with timely delivery is the key point of the food delivery business. You will also need a good personal network and online advertising to grow your business.
22. Mobile Game Development
Mobile Games are very popular in South Korea. If you are skilled in programming, you can start a mobile game development business in South Korea. Be imaginative as well as innovative in designing the games. Make games for children as well as adults. Online marketing is essential for the mobile game development business.
23. Open a Restaurant in South Korea
Restaurants are a profitable business venture. You can open your restaurant in a busy area preferably in the Seoul area. Good food and good ambiance are the primary requirements of a successful restaurant. You can serve local favorites, international food, or make your restaurant a multi-cuisine one. You have to invest in publicity and advertisements, both online and offline, to get more customers.
24. Waste Disposal Company
Waste disposal, especially hazardous wastes have become a matter of concern in South Korea. Hence you can start a business of waste disposal. This business needs good investment along with your knowledge of wastes and their disposal methods like incineration, underground injection wells, or land disposal. You have to be very careful about the methods and acquire the required license and permit for this business. The waste disposal business will give you good profits.
25. Martial Art Training
Martial art is very popular in South Korea. Hence you can start a martial art training school in this country. Appoint qualified and experienced trainers for your school. Training children, as well as adults, will help to get you more students. Apart from that, you have to make good publicity and advertisements for your training school.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get funds for my business in South Korea?
Getting funds for your business here in this country is not very easy for startups. However, you can get funding for innovative business ideas or ideas that are beneficial for the country and employ many local people.
What are the top industries in South Korea?
South Korea happens to be the largest manufacturer of semiconductors in the world. The top 5 industries of South Korea are electronics, steel, garments, car manufacturing, and shipbuilding.
Can a foreigner open a business in South Korea?
Yes. Foreigners can start a business in South Korea. As a matter of fact, the South Korean government encourages entrepreneurs from outside countries to invest and launch businesses here. You can visit Invest Korea website to learn more about starting a business in this country.
What are the best cities in South Korea to start a business?
The top 5 cities in South Korea are the following:
Is it necessary to know the local language to start my business in South Korea?
It is not necessary; however, it is better if you can learn the language. It will be convenient for you.
The first and foremost advantage of South Korea is its developed economy and priority in different sectors. It will create a lot of opportunities to start and grow your business.
About the Author: 99businessideas.com led by Rupak Chakrabarty is committed to helping beginners, entrepreneurs, and small business owners in starting, managing, and growing their business. Our aim is to educate the entrepreneur on the various stages of entrepreneurship.