Apparel-producing Korea has undergone a number of changes and faced various challenges throughout its five-thousand-year history of struggling for its sovereignty, customs, beliefs and prosperity despite obstacles and numerous ups and downs. The long way resulted in successful interaction with influential neighbors and economic, political, social stability, was of prime importance for the country’s governments. Korea never turned its back on challenges and struggled for what it achieved. Globalization made a great impact on state’s policy capacity, organization of economy, financial stability, etc. though it can intensify rather than weaken national identity, it presents both opportunities and threats and a nation state becomes proactive in maximizing what globalization has to offer as well as reactive to its harmful effects. Korean experience with globalization may be a good lesson to the rest Asian developing countries striving to overcome the difficulties of the transitional period and trying to integrate into the global community with minimal loses.
Integration into the world community results in external and internal control risks from global and domestic environment. And in the increasingly borderless global marketplace, foreign factors may gradually influence domestic economies. Korea is a bright example of the way a country may integrate into the global network and maintaining membership in multilateral international organizations. Korea established connections with global market, benefited both from state intervention and free international environment and managed to cope with barriers of capital flows lowering, financial markets restructuring, technology transactions improvement, national currency volatility increase.
Korea is known as an apparel-producing country. Since 1970s, textile industry has played a key role in industrial development. On the one hand, the 1997-1999 economic crisis slowed down the production and lowered the possibility of production competitiveness. On the other hand, the crisis resulted in the country’s becoming “Miracle on the Han River”¯ and a pattern for many developing countries. Korea’s fashion marketplace is now characterized by two market niches, which are a primarily domestically-produced and a high-end market dominated by foreign designer brands. Though at first, Korea’s apparel industry was mostly domestically-orientated, since it faced little competition from imports, and its distribution was primarily manufacturer-dominated. But in the course of time, it turned from aid receiver to donor and all this is after the devastating war of the fifties of the twentieth century during which the country’s infrastructure and resources were ruined. Korean emphasis on poverty reduction, mid- and low-skill technology may be of use for developing countries.
After the Korean War, and decline of global competitiveness on the world arena, the country received foreign assistance and managed to get over some of its structural, economic, political weaknesses. Then its imported fashions began to make significant inroads into high-end markets that were once exclusive to local manufacturers, significant changes in Korea’s apparel distribution system had begun to develop and it tried to fulfill the task of globalization, but it turned out to be more difficult than globalization pronouncements. At present, though the global market shares of the country’s industries are rather high, the level of product competitiveness leaves much to be desired if comparing with advances states. Despite the country developed new distribution channels, Korea still has rather low level of security and is not always attractive to investors, as lack of stability remains one of the overriding issues of Korea.