Business risks

Australian companies are advised to spend time investigating the market, obtain professional advice where appropriate and thoroughly investigate the issues in entering the market and before establishing business relationships.

Australian firms wishing to operate in this market should commit to the highest level of corporate behaviour and familiarise themselves with Australia's laws and penalties pertaining to bribery of foreign officials.

Bribery of foreign public officials is a crime. Australian individuals and companies can be prosecuted in Australia for bribing foreign officials when overseas. Further information on the regulations governing bribery of foreign public officials is available.

For further information on frauds, scams, personal and asset security, intellectual property protection and other business risks please read more about legal issues.

The Improper Solicitation and Graft Act, which is more commonly known as the ‘Kim Young-Ran Act’, prohibits improper solicitations of public officials and bans any offer to, or acceptance by, public officials of anything of value. It applies to officers and employees of the ROK public service organisations, including universities and schools, as well as at journalists.

Every civil servant who is subject to the act cannot receive meals worth more than ‎₩30,000 (A$34), gifts over ‎₩50,000 (A$57), and congratulatory cash gifts above ‎₩ 100,000 (A$114) at private events, including wedding ceremonies and funerals.

Intellectual property protection

The ROK Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) is the government body responsible for the registration of trade marks, patents and designs, which can all be applied for online. The KIPO website also provides a searchable patent database.

Foreign businesses that do not have a place of business in the ROK are required to lodge patent, design and trade mark registrations through a ROK IP attorney.

For more information see the IP Australia South Korea page and the Korean Intellectual property office website.