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Getting Out of “Emerging Economy” Status: Korea’s Endgame Korea’s major exporters have done remarkably well even during the depths of the financial crisis, and especially compared to Japanese firms. This success is attributable to both continuing government export promotion, changes in production techniques, and structural issues at Japanese rivals. Korean firms, however, still face the important challenge of becoming real innovators.

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New Trends among Young Chinese Consumers China’s young consumers are the first to grow up amidst prosperity and widespread digital technology and represent a significant change for the world’s second largest economy. Shaped by demographic factors like the one child policy and urbanization, China’s young consumers are embracing individuality and social concerns along with their love for famous brands.

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Young Businesses for an Older Generation Korea’s baby boomers are set to redefine retirement, presenting new opportunities for companies seeking to serve them. Baby boomers will seek new kinds of leisure and healthcare, as well as active relationships with their families and communities. Companies seeking to market anti-aging, travel, and knowledge sharing services can benefit handsomely.

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China’s Local Government Debt Crisis Though China is one of the world’s largest creditor nations, its local governments have accumulated worrisome amounts of debt. Tax system changes and the global financial crisis have spurred excessive borrowing, while state owned enterprises have squeezed out the private sector. China will need to take measures to ensure that its local government debt does not become a liability for its still booming economy.

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Japan’s “Lost Two Decades” and “Fiscal Crisis”

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Smaller Households and New Consumption Trends Households everywhere are shrinking in size, and in Korea this is happening at rapid speed. Once spurned by business, smaller households are now sparking a market for space saving products, multi-use appliances, home security services, and self-development-including continuing education, recreation and hobbies.

Foreign Banks in Emerging Economies: Friends or Foes? Foreign banks have an outsize influence on emerging economies as a force for both good and ill. In boom times, foreign banks introduce much needed credit that spurs rapid growth. In bad times, however, foreign banks can transmit shocks from their home country and spread them to the most vulnerable economies.

Social Consumption in Japan: A New Consumer Trend Advertising giant Dentsu’s 2012 list of hit products indicates a new consciousness among consumers in Japan, including protection of the environment and helping the community. Demographic change and disasters like the Tohoku Earthquake are spurring Japanese consumers to seek more meaningful connections with others.

US Policy Toward North Korea US policy toward North Korea is evolving as the Obama administration enters its second phase. The former policy of “strategic patience” has shifted toward more active engagement as the administration launched its “pivot to Asia.” The election of Park Geun-Hye adds another variable, with several different scenarios likely to prevail.

Global Talent War 2.0: From “Hiring” to “Utilization” The competition for global employees is entering a new phase that emphasizes successfully utilizing, rather than just recruiting a skilled international workforce. Korean firms looking for a successful adjustment will need to do more than just hiring, including helping foreign employees support each other and building a globalized work environment.