Reports from SERI Quarterly, SERI's in-depth quarterly journal on the Korean and Northeast Asian economies
- October 2013 Use of Foreign Currencies in North Korea
North Korea’s long economic decline has sent the official economy to the margins, along with its official currency, and today North Koreans largely conduct business in private markets with foreign currency. State attempts to confiscate wealth have only accelerated the migration, and markets are set to take over almost all of the functions of the official economy.
October 2013 Young Consumers Drive China’s New Economic Model
The transformation of China’s population from global production workers to global shoppers is introducing new demographics for companies seeking to sell in this huge market. The new generation of young people includes both wealthy “little emperors,” and struggling rural migrants, both of whom are departing from the consumption habits of their parents.
The growing prevalence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities among major firms is helping businesses be better citizens of their communities worldwide. Companies rolling out CSR are leveraging their expertise to promote community health and education, while simultaneously promoting their own interests.
Climate change presents a discomfiting threat to human civilization, and business will be no exception. Even as the potential for extreme temperatures, floods and other anomalies becomes increasingly pervasive, business can still seek opportunities in disaster forecasting and prevention and many other areas.
Long stranded in demographic obscurity, single-person households are now Korea’s leading demographic. Singleperson households, despite their lower incomes, have higher propensity to consume, and will make an increasing impact for companies seeking to explore the Korean market.
China has always faced a quandary in dealing with its unpredictable northern ally, one that has only intensified with its spate of nuclear tests. North Korea’s nuclear flirtations have pushed China to embrace sanctions that conflict with its other goal of prodding the North to embrace economic reform.
Despite its parlous economy, North Korea continues to insist on pursuing a “two track policy” of simultaneous nuclear development and economic growth. In practice, however, these two goals are irreconcilable, meaning North Korea has sacrificed growth for weapons. The future of the North depends on how much it can shift its focus back to the economy.
North Korea’s traditional social classes now have to make room for a new and unexpected rival - merchants. These unofficial traders working outside of North Korea’s moribund formal economy are ushering in profound changes to North Korean society.
Far reaching changes in Korea's distribution structure, including the rise of online shopping and the spread of big box retailers have put merchants in Korea's traditional markets under intense pressure. Some, however, are besting the competition through a new spirit of professionalism, innovation, customer focus, and networking.
Cloud computing, or distributed computing performed offsite, is bringing dramatic changes to the way companies do businesses. Cloud computing provides access to on demand services, to a variety of devices, tailored to a variety of lifestyles, while allowing businesses to save on costs and expedite information sharing.
Handling human resources in a flat economy can be a sensitive subject, as the need to increase efficiency can conflict with employees’ desires. Companies that want to maintain employee commitment can turn to strategies like recruiting internally, providing tailored compensation, and displaying empathy for employees’ concerns.