Invest KOREA (IK), Korea's national investment promotion agency, was established within the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) with the sole purpose of supporting the entry and successful establishment of foreign business into Korea. With assistance extending to comprehensive post-establishment services, IK enables foreign corporations to maximize the benefits of the Korean investment environment to ensure their rapid settlement in Korea. The agency is committed to providing unmatched, comprehensive one-stop service that allows foreign investors to join many of the world's most successful corporations who have selected Korea as an investment destination and been rewarded by high returns on the investment.
Established in 1998 in the wake of the financial crisis, the Korea Investment Service Center (KISC) was part of a radical liberalization of the Korean investment regime. However, after initial success, slowing inbound capital flows made it apparent that a new paradigm for investment attraction was in order. It was decided this new paradigm would include employing a more proactive approach to induce foreign investors, targeting potential investors with closer reference to the strengths of Korea's industrial base, and developing a one-stop service to accurately address foreign investors' needs and difficulties. It was also deemed crucial for agency staffs to gain a profound knowledge of the industries with which they were dealing.
Launch of Invest KOREA
In addressing the above points, the government finalized a comprehensive plan to attract foreign investment in September 2003 with the twin aims of increasing foreign investment and reforming the overall FDI support system. These changes were embodied in the transformation and expansion of KISC and its re-launch as Invest KOREA.
Investment Promotion Systems
Invest KOREA attracts foreign investment by identifying potential foreign investors, supporting investment projects, providing aftercare services for foreign investors, and building a cooperative network with related organizations. IK's investment promotion and support capability was considerably strengthened by the introduction of the Project Manager (PM) system, under which a PM is designated for each investment project to offer customized support throughout its entirety, from providing investment consultation and obtaining licenses and approvals to actually launching a business. In addition to the project managers, as of the end of 2005, Invest KOREA had a pool of 28 experts in such fields as finance, tax, law, securities, accounting, and construction to smooth the foreign investment process and ensure that investors claim the full range of benefits available.