United Daily News: How South Korea uses China to access the world
Central News Agency
2014-03-17 11:42 AM
The South Korean TV drama series "My Love from the Star" recently has become a huge hit in Taiwan. One of the major reasons why the series has shot to popularity outside Korea is because China was chosen as its first overseas market and it succeeded in attracting 800 million viewers there. This is not the first time South Korea has used China as a springboard to launch its products in the world market. South Korea's Hyundai Motor Company, for example, was mainly a domestic brand with limited sales in the international market until it won a contract in 2000 to supply 300,000 vehicles to a car rental company in Beijing. Another example is mobile phone maker Samsung, which was able to make inroads into the European and American markets after one of its earliest flip phone models became a hit in China in 2002. Samsung has since become a leading cell phone brand worldwide. Another strategy by South Korea to expand the global presence of its brands is to sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries. As South Korea's market landscape continues to spread from Asia to the rest of the world, Japan, Europe and the United States are now South Korea's main international competitors, having replaced Taiwan. In the eight years from 2000 and 2008, Taiwanese companies were strictly restricted from entering China due to a closed-door policy imposed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration at the time. Since Ma Ying-jeou became president in May 2008, his efforts to strengthen and deepen economic cooperation with China have been met with heavy obstruction from the DPP. Failure to ride on China's growth has caused Taiwan to lag far behind South Korea in terms of competitiveness. Also, Taiwan's failure to take advantage of the Chinese market to gain global market access is one of the major reasons behind the stagnant salary levels in Taiwan in recent years. In 2013, South Korea replaced Japan as China's largest source of imports, taking a market share of 9.24 percent. When China and South Korea sign an impending FTA, Taiwan's advantage in the Chinese market will be reduced further and the effects of the Taiwan-China Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement will be diluted. The DPP has argued that a trade in services agreement signed between Taiwan and China last June is unfavorable to Taiwan, but the party has not specifically identified any problems. The DPP opposes the strategy of "accessing the world via China" and instead advocates "accessing China via the world." But this approach has been proven non-viable based on the South Korean example. The DPP claims that the service trade pact will lead to a complete elimination of Taiwan's service industry. Again, this is a lie, as evidenced by the example of South Korea. How much longer is the DPP going to devastate Taiwan? (Editorial abstract -- March 17, 2014) (By Y.F. Low)
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