The overall size of the South Korean economy is approaching two trillion U.S. dollars, with a very high gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Much of its economy is advanced manufacturing, from technology firms such as Samsung Electronics and LG Group to aerospace exports. A large share of the distribution of GDP also comes from services that support the manufacturing and cater to the population that has benefited greatly from the economic growth. The startup ecosystem in South Korea also feeds innovation and growth.
This affair with advanced technology permeates consumer culture as well. South Korea boasts one of the world’s largest B2C e-commerce markets. There is an active video gaming industry, with “e-sports” listed as the third most popular sport among 15 to 29 year-olds. Cosmetics purchases also produce billions of dollars in revenue, a market which foreign cosmetic brands serve both through online sales and retail stores.
Attitudes toward North Korea differ within the South Korean population, but a majority of South Koreans feel that the two states should work together or help each other. In the past few years, economic ties have decreased, as the value of goods South Korea exported to North Korea has plummeted. Most South Koreans still think reunification of the two Koreas is necessary, but the current political climate makes this difficult to envision in the near future.