Publication Date

January 2002

Publication Details

Gregory, G, Harvie, C, and Lee, HH, Korean SMEs in the Wake of the Financial Crisis: Strategies, Constraints, and Performance in a Global Economy, Working Paper 02-12, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 2002.


South Korea was one of the most adversely affected economies from the Asian financial and economic crisis of 1997. This paper focuses upon the contribution that the SME sector in this country is making towards the recovery of the economy, and, in particular, focuses upon their contribution in a knowledge-based society. In this paper we present an overview of the contribution and significance of SMEs to the economy. We follow this with a discussion of the impact of the Asian financial crisis on the SME sector. Next, we look at the involvement of SMEs in the global economy, focusing on the globalisation readiness of Korea’s SMEs. Based on a recent study of nearly 1,800 SMEs in Korea, we look at the existing impediments in globalising operations, along with areas government should support in assisting SMEs to become globalisation ready. Finally, we present the prospects for Korea’s SMEs in the 21st century and the emphasis on venture enterprises as a way to promote the technological competitiveness of SMEs.