While many of the global firms are clearly reluctant to invest in North Korea, South Korea, not having much choice in the matter, will rely own the family-owned Chaebols (massive conglomerates) to lead the charge into North Korea for invents that could bring the two countries together.
The Chaebols are so large that they can target and freeze out competition, slowing down long-termgrowth and negatively impacting competition. Small and mid-sized firms suffer as a result.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in entered office after a series of scandals rocked these national, and in most cases, international companies. He wanted to reform the system and hold leadership at this firms accountable. However, these firms will be powerbroker in the drive to invest in North Korea, and they will only be more powerful in the future – so reforms are not likely.
South Korea wants to reform these firms to increase competitiveness and to address the unemployment problem in South Korea – in August, unemployment hit an eight year high. So leaning on this giants will only be more difficult in the future. North Korea and unemployment are the two key problems the the South Koreans must face in the coming months.
One key driver is the internet and banks. Internet banks would be prohibited from lending to large companies or transacting with large shareholders. Freeing up commerce and banking is a key area that Mr Moon wanted to reform.
These diverse companies are in many industries and markets and the government is committed to breaking them up. This may take more time than previously thought as the North Korea issue is a national security issue, not a pure economic issue.