Monthly Archive: February 2010

On Becoming a GyeongGi Province Foreign Investment Attraction Advisor, Part 1

I met GyeongGi Provincial Governor Kim Moon-Soo at his official residence last summer in Suweon and wrote about the meeting in a previous post (Meeting the Governor). With a little persistence, that meeting led to lunch with the governor's office manager and Foreign Investment Attraction Office Director General Lee Hak-Soo in November where I proposed that I could support the foreign investment attraction efforts of the province through my social networking activities in exchange for an official (though unpaid) position. 

The Director General was receptive to the suggestion and as I was getting ready to head to the US for winter vacation, I said I'd do some preparatory work and provide more specifics on my return to Korea in February. I corresponded with his staff a little while in the US but it wasn't until we'd been back in Korea for a couple days that I received an invitation to the semi-annual meeting of advisors to the Foreign Investment Attraction Office of the province… as well as notification that I was to be named to a two-year term as one of twenty-two advisors! 

Realizing that I needed to make an extra effort right off the bat in order to stay relevant with my social networking-based initiative, I asked for and was graciously given ten minutes to present to the group. Here is a link to the presentation I gave in Korean:

2-21-2010 2-08-26 AM

Download 10-02-17 GyeongGi Province Presentation, v2k 

An English version of the presentation:

2-21-2010 2-16-09 AM

 Download 10-02-17, GyeongGi Province Presentation, v2e

Following my presentation, the meeting continued with about an hour and a half of group discussion about the foreign investment situation in GyeongGi Province. This was followed by the official awarding to me (and one other new advisor) of the following Letter of Entrustment:


Letter of Entrustment

Korean Consulting & Translation Service

Representative: Steven Bammel

I hereby entrust you with the position of "GyeongGi Province Foreign Investment Attraction Advisor" based on Article 12 of the Ordinances on GyeongGi Province Foreign Investment Attraction and Support.

(Entrustment period: February 19, 2010 – February 18, 2012)

February 19, 2010

Governor of GyeongGi Province

It is an honor to have received this position. I will work hard to be an effective member of the advisor team.

Business Introduction Provided to Korean Sales Rep (US & Korea)

A translation client for whom I had previously introduced a consulting firm for Korean market entry (through my network at <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Korea Business Central</a>), inquired again, this time for a Korean sales rep and recommendations for recruiting firms in Seoul. Not only could I recommend a recruiter at Korea Business Central, but I also put him in touch with a potential candidate at <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Korea Business Central</a>.

Business Introduction Provided for Korean Translator (Columbus, OH)

I noticed a posting for a part-time Korean translator in Columbus, OH and remembered that the son of a fellow member at <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Korean Business Central</a> is attending grad school at Ohio State University. I forwarded this information to my associate who let his son know of the position.

The North Korean Economy with Marcus Noland

We hosted another installment of the Korea Business Interview Series at Korea Business Central a couple weeks ago. This time, our very own Tom Tucker discussed the North Korean economy with author and economist Marcus Noland. 

Here's the link to the 29 minute podcast interview:

In addition, the discussion at Korea Business Central, along with the full transcript, can be found here:

Marcus' book can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here.

The main points of the interview:


  1. In response to economic collapse and state failure in the mid 1990s, the North Korean economy has moved from central planning to a very highly distorted market economy.
  2. North Korea should be growing at a reasonable rate thanks to economic benefits from the surrounding countries. Its economic problems are self-imposed.
  3. The state is currently trying to reinvigorate state institutions to regain control of market activities in the economy.
  4. The government's recent currency reform was aimed to undercut the market by confiscating people's savings, which has destroyed the working capital of private entrepreneurs.
  5. China functions as North Korea's ultimate guarantor both in economic and political respects but its efforts have not had a positive impact on North Korean behavior.
  6. Unlike China and Vietnam under central planning, North Korea is an industrialized economy. Therefore, it is questionable whether the Chinese and Vietnamese models of economic reform would be effective in the North Korean context. Economic reform in North Korea could be more explosive politically than they were in China and Vietnam also. Thus, reform in North Korea is more difficult.
  7. From a South Korean perspective, engagement with the North makes sense but the North Korean regime recognizes the threat they face from this and have been restrictive in what they allow South Korea to do.
  8. It is unlikely that North Korea will have the same political regime in 10-20 years that it has now. But unification with the South is not a foregone conclusion as North Korea could still end up over the long term as a tributary state to China that remains independent from South Korea.
  9. The solution to the North Korean nuclear issue will require convincing North Korea that they can achieve their goals without nuclear weapons. But it is almost impossible to envision a deal that is grand enough to convince the North Koreans to give up their nuclear weapons.

Business Introduction Provided for Dutch > Korean Translator (Netherlands)

A client of mine needed translation of Dutch into Korean. We don’t provide this language pair; it’s just too rare. However, I did check with a European contact on <a href=””></a><a href=””>Korea Business Central</a><a> (</a> and she forwarded this information to a capable Korean associate in the Netherlands.

Business Introduction Provided to Korean-American Scientist (US)

An executive recruiter in my LinkedIn network asked me to introduce her to another connection of mine for a lead research position in San Jose. I connected the two parties without delay so that they could make the necessary arrangements.

She also mentioned another position with the following description:

I am
also seeking a Stragic Planning Manager with a Technical background who fluent
in Korean and English. Possibly you would know of someone who would fit into
that catagory? Ideally,. we would like to see them come from IBM, Apple, Nokia
Research Center, Palo Alto Research Center…

Interpreter Approach Recommended for Moving Company (Dallas Area)

I got this inquiry today: 

I will be moving several Korean speaking families to the Dallas area and i am interested in finding out how much you would charge to be on site as an interpreter. Some days you may need to be on site for 3-4 hours and some days it may be 6-8 hours.

We won’t be here for the work so I’m not available, but a job like this isn’t well-matched for a professional interpreter and so I didn’t refer it. 

Here’s how I responded to the prospect:

Unfortunately, we’re heading back to Korea tomorrow morning and I wouldn’t be able to support you on the project. Your best bet is probably to check with one of the Korean churches in town and see if they have someone available. You’ll be able to take a more “pocket change” approach with them whereas the rates for a professional interpreter would likely have been considerably over budget.