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Background: An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. In 1910, Tokyo formally annexed the entire Peninsula. Korea regained its independence following Japan's surrender to the United States in 1945. After World War II, a democratic-based government (Republic of Korea, ROK) was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a Communist-style government was installed in the north (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK). During the Korean War (1950-53), US troops and UN forces fought alongside soldiers from the ROK to defend South Korea from a DPRK invasion that was supported by China and the Soviet Union. An armistice was signed in 1953, splitting the peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. Thereafter, South Korea under the PARK Chung-hee regime (1961-79) achieved rapid economic growth with per capita income rising to roughly 17 times the level of North Korea. In 1993, KIM Young-sam (1993-98) became South Korea's first civilian president following 32 years of military rule. South Korea today is a fully functioning modern democracy. President LEE Myung-bak has pursued a policy of global engagement since taking office in February 2008, highlighted by Seoul's hosting of the G-20 summit in November 2010 and the Nuclear Security Summit in March 2012, as well as securing South Korea nonpermanent membership (2013-14) on the UN Security Council and the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Serious tensions with North Korea have punctuated inter-Korean relations in recent years, including the North's sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March 2010 and its artillery attack on South Korean soldiers and citizens in November 2010. Location: Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea Natural resources: coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.1% (male 3,844,033/female 3,533,963) 15-24 years: 13.6% (male 3,517,504/female 3,104,269) 25-54 years: 48.3% (male 12,013,733/female 11,593,217) 55-64 years: 11.2% (male 2,697,406/female 2,765,709) 65 years and over: 11.9% (male 2,365,749/female 3,424,917) (2012 est.) Population: 48,860,500 (July 2012 est.) Religions: Christian 31.6% (Protestant 24%, Roman Catholic 7.6%), Buddhist 24.2%, other or unknown 0.9%, none 43.3% (2010 survey) Languages: Korean, English (widely taught in junior high and high school) Government type: republic

Economy - overview: South Korea over the past four decades has demonstrated incredible growth and global integration to become a high-tech industrialized economy. In the 1960s, GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. In 2004, South Korea joined the trillion dollar club of world economies, and currently is among the world's 20 largest economies. Initially, a system of close government and business ties, including directed credit and import restrictions, made this success possible. The government promoted the import of raw materials and technology at the expense of consumer goods, and encouraged savings and investment over consumption. The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 exposed longstanding weaknesses in South Korea's development model including high debt/equity ratios and massive short-term foreign borrowing. GDP plunged by 6.9% in 1998, and then recovered by 9% in 19992000. Korea adopted numerous economic reforms following the crisis, including greater openness to foreign investment and imports. Growth moderated to about 4% annually between 2003 and 2007. With the global economic downturn in late 2008, South Korean GDP growth slowed to 0.3% in 2009. In the third quarter of 2009, the economy began to recover, in large part due to export growth, low interest rates, and an expansionary fiscal policy. The US-South Korea Free Trade Agreement was ratified by both governments in 2011 and went into effect in March 2012. Throughout 2012 the economy experienced sluggish growth because of market slowdowns in the United States, China, and the Eurozone. The incoming administration in 2013, following the December 2012 presidential election, is likely to face the challenges of balancing heavy reliance on exports with developing domestic-oriented sectors, such as services. The South Korean economy's long term challenges include a rapidly aging population, inflexible labor market, and heavy reliance on exports - which comprise half of GDP.

SOUTH KOREA South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, is a sovereign country located in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. The name "Korea" is derived from Goryeo, a dynasty which ruled in the Middle Ages. Its neighbors are China to the west, Japan to the east, and North Korea to the north. South Korea lies in the north temperate zone with a predominantly mountainous terrain. It covers a total area of 99,392 km2 (38,375 sq mi) and has a population of 50 million. The capital and largest city is Seoul, with a population of 10 million. Archaeology indicates that the Korean Peninsula was occupied by the Lower Paleolithic period (2.6 Ma300 Ka). Korean history begins with the founding of Gojoseon in 2333 BC by the legendary Dan-gun. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea under Silla AD 668, Korea was ruled by the Goryeo Dynasty (9181392) and Joseon Dynasty (13921910). It was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U.S. zones of occupation. An election was held in the U.S. zone in 1948 which led to the creation of the Republic of Korea. Although the United Nations passed a resolution declaring the Republic to be the only lawful government in Korea, the Soviets set up a rival government in the North. The Korean War began in 1950 when forces from the North invaded the South. The war lasted three years and involved the U.S., China, the Soviet Union, and many other nations. The

border between the two nations remains the most heavily fortified in the world. In the decades that followed, the South Korean economy grew significantly and the country was transformed into a major economy. Civilian government replaced military rule in 1987. Presently, South Korea has strict gun control laws that rank it among countries with the fewest quantity of firearms per capita. South Korea is a presidential republic consisting of seventeen administrative divisions and is a developed country with a very highstandard of living. It is Asia's fourth largest economy and the world's 15th (nominal) or 12th (purchasing power parity) largest economy. The economy is exportdriven, with production focusing on electronics, automobiles, ships, machinery, petrochemicals and robotics. South Korea is a member of the United Nations, WTO, and OECD. It is also a founding member of APEC and the East Asia Summit. Seoul is the principal tourist destination for visitors; popular tourist destinations outside of Seoul include Seorak-san national park, the historic city of Gyeongju and semi-tropical Jeju Island.

GEOGRAPHY South Korea occupies the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula, which extends some 1,100 km (680 mi) from the Asian mainland. This mountainous peninsula is flanked by the Yellow Sea to the west, and Sea of Japan (East Sea) to the east. Its southern tip lies on the Korea Strait and the East China Sea. The country, including all its islands, lies between latitudes 33 and 39N, and longitudes 124 and 130E. Its total area is 100,032 square kilometres (38,622.57 sq mi). South Korea can be divided into four general regions: an eastern region of high mountain ranges and narrow coastal plains; a western region of broad coastal plains, river basins, and rolling hills; a southwestern region of mountains and valleys; and a southeastern region dominated by the broad basin of the Nakdong River. South Korea's terrain is mostly mountainous, most of which is not arable. Lowlands, located primarily in the west and southeast, make up only 30% of the total land area. About three thousand islands, mostly small and uninhabited, lie off the western and southern coasts of South Korea. Jeju-do is about 100 kilometres (about 60 mi) off the southern coast of South Korea. It is the country's largest island, with an area of 1,845 square kilometres (712 sq mi). Jeju is also the site of South Korea's highest point: Hallasan, an extinct volcano, reaches 1,950 meters (6,398 ft) above sea level. The easternmost islands of South Korea include Ulleungdo and Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo), while Marado and Socotra Rock are the southernmost islands of South Korea.[70] South Korea has 20 national parks and popular nature places like the Boseong Tea Fields, Suncheon Bay Ecological Park, and the first national park of Jirisan.

ECONOMY South Korea has a market economy which ranks 15th in the world by nominal GDP and 12th by purchasing power parity(PPP), identifying it as one of the G-20 major economies. It is a high-income developed country, with a developed market, and is a member of OECD. South Korea is one of the Asian Tigers, and is the only developed country so far to have been included in the group of Next Eleven countries. South Korea had one of the world's fastest growing economies from the early 1960s to the late 1990s, and South Korea is still one of the fastest growing developed countries in the 2000s, along with Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, the other three members of Asian Tigers. South Koreans refer to this growth as the Miracle on the Han River. Having almost no natural resources and always suffering from overpopulation in its small territory, which deterred continued population growth and the formation of a large internal consumer market, South Korea adapted an export-oriented economic strategy to fuel its economy, and in 2010, South Korea was the seventh largest exporter and tenth largest importer in the world. Bank of Korea and Korea Development Institute periodically release major economic indicators and economic trends of the economy of South Korea. In 2007, South Korea had 6.4 million visitors making it the 36th most visited country in the world.[61] Recently, the number of tourists from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia has grown dramatically due to the increased popularity of the Korean wave ("hallyu").

CLIMATE South Korea tends to have a humid continental climate and a humid subtropical climate, and is affected by the East Asian monsoon, with precipitation heavier in summer during a short rainy season called jangma (), which begins end of June through the end of July. Winters can be extremely cold with the minimum temperature dropping below 20 C (4 F) in the inland region of the country: in Seoul, the average January temperature range is -7 to 1 C (19 to 34 F), and the average August temperature range is 22 to 30 C (72 to 86 F). Winter temperatures are higher along the southern coast and considerably lower in the mountainous interior.[73] Summer can be uncomfortably hot and humid, with temperatures exceeding 30 C (86 F) in most parts of the country. South Korea has four distinct seasons; spring, summer, autumn and winter. Spring usually lasts from late-March to early- May, summer from mid-May to early-September, autumn from midSeptember to early-November, and winter from mid-November to mid-March. Rainfall is concentrated in the summer months of June through September. The southern coast is subject to late summer typhoons that bring strong winds and heavy rains. The average annual precipitation varies from 1,370 millimetres (54 in) in Seoul to 1,470 millimetres (58 in) in Busan. There are occasional typhoons that bring high winds and floods.

EDUCATION Education in South Korea is regarded as crucial to financial and social success, and competition is consequently fierce, with many participating in intense outside tutoring to supplement classes. In the 2006 results of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment, South Korea came first in problem solving, third in mathematics and seventh in science. South Korea's education system is technologically advanced and it is the world's first country to bring high-speed fibre-optic broadband internet access to every primary and secondary school nation-wide. Using this infrastructure, the country has developed the first Digital Textbooks in the world, which will be distributed for free to every primary and secondary school nation-wide by 2013. A centralized administration in South Korea oversees the process for the education of children from kindergarten to the third and final year of high school. South Korea has adopted a new educational program to increase the number of their foreign students through 2010. According to Ministry of Education, Science and Technology estimate, by that time, the number of scholarships for foreign students in South Korea will be doubled, and the number of foreign students will reach 100,000. The school year is divided into two semesters, the first of which begins in the beginning of March and ends in mid-July, the second of which begins in late August and ends in mid-February. The schedules are not uniformly standardized and vary from school to school. Most South Korean middle schools and high schools have school uniforms, modeled on western-style uniforms. Boys' uniforms usually consists of trousers and white shirts, and girls wear skirts and white shirts (this only applies in middle schools and high schools).

DEMOGRAPHICS South Korea is noted for its population density, which is 487 per square kilometer, more than 10 times the global average. Most South Koreans live in urban areas, because of rapid migration from the countryside during the country's quick economic expansion in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The capital city of Seoul is also the country's largest city and chief industrial center. According to the 2005 census, Seoul had a population of 9.8 million inhabitants. The Seoul National Capital Area has 24.5 million inhabitants making it the world's second largest metropolitan area and easily the most densely populated city in the OECD. Other major cities include Busan (3.5 million), Incheon (2.5 million), Daegu (2.5 million), Daejeon (1.4 million), Gwangju (1.4 million) and Ulsan (1.1 million). The population has also been shaped by international migration. After World War II and the division of the Korean Peninsula, about four million people from North Korea crossed the border to South Korea. This trend of net entry reversed over the next 40 years because of emigration, especially to the United States and Canada. South Korea's total population in 1955 was 21.5 million, and today it is roughly 50,062,000.

South Korea is one of the most ethnically homogeneous societies in the world, with more than 99% of inhabitants having Korean ethnicity. Koreans call their society , Dan-il minjok guk ga, "the single race society". The percentage of foreign nationals has been growing rapidly. As of 2009, South Korea had 1,106,884 foreign residents, 2.7% of the population; however, more than half of them are ethnic Koreans with a foreign citizenship. For example, migrants from China (PRC) make up 56.5% of foreign nationals, but approximately 30% of the Chinese citizens in Korea are Joseonjok ( in Korean), PRC citizens of Korean ethnicity. Regardless of the ethnicity, there are 28,500 US military personnel serving in South Korea for one year of unaccompanied tour, according to the Korea National Statistical Office. In addition, about 43,000 English teachers from English-speaking countries reside temporarily in Korea. Currently, South Korea has one of the highest rate of growth of foreign born population, with about 30,000 foreign born residences obtaining South Korean citizenship every year since 2010. South Korea's birthrate was the world's lowest in 2009. If this continues, its population is expected to decrease by 13% to 42.3 million in 2050. South Korea's annual birthrate is approximately 9 births per 1000 people. However, the birthrate has increased by 5.7% in 2010 and Korea no longer has the world's lowest birthrate. According to a 2011 report from Chosun Ilbo, South Korea's total fertility rate (1.23 children born per woman) is higher than those of Taiwan (1.15) and Japan (1.21). The average life expectancy in 2008 was 79.10 years,[146] which is 34th in the world.

RELIGION As of 2005, just under half of the South Korean population expressed no religious preference. Of the rest, most are Buddhist or Christian. According to the 2007 census, 29.2% of the population at that time was Christian (18.3% identified themselves as Protestants, 10.9% as Roman Catholics), and 22.8% were Buddhist. Other religions include Islam and various new religious movements such as Jeungism, Cheondoism and Wonbuddhism. The earliest religion practiced was Korean shamanism. Today, freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution, and there is no state religion. Christianity is South Korea's largest religion, accounting for more than half of all South Korean religious adherents. There are approximately 13.7 million Christians in South Korea today, with almost two-thirds of Christians belonging to Protestant churches, while about 37% belong to the Roman Catholic Church. Protestantism has proportionally declined since the 1980s in favour of Roman Catholicism. South Korea is also the second-largest missionary-sending nation, after the United States. Buddhism was introduced to Korea in the year 372. According to the national census as of 2005, South Korea has over 10.7 million Buddhists. Today, about 90% of Korean Buddhists belong to Jogye Order. Most of the National Treasures of South Korea are Buddhist artifacts. Buddhism

became the state religion in some of Korean kingdoms since the Three Kingdoms Period, when Goguryeo adopted it as the state religion in 372, followed by Baekche (528). Buddhism had been the state religion of Unified Korea from North South States Period (not to be confused with the modern division of Korea) to Goryeo before suppression under the Joseon Dynasty in favor of NeoConfucianism. Fewer than 30,000 South Koreans are thought to be Muslims, but the country has some 100,000 resident foreign workers from Muslim countries, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Korean Shamanism, today known as Mugyo (religion of the Mu) or Shingyo (religion of the gods) encompasses a variety of indigenous religious beliefs and practices of the Korean people and the Korean sphere.[161] In contemporary South Korea, the most used term is Muism and a shaman is known as a mudang (, ) or Tangol (). Since the early 2000s, this religion has regained popularity among Koreans.

CULTURE The contemporary culture of South Korea developed from the traditional culture of Korea, and on its own path away from North Korean culture since the division of Korea in 1948. The industrialization and urbanization of South Korea, especially Seoul, have brought many changes to the way Korean people live. Changing economics and lifestyles have led to a concentration of population in major cities (and depopulation of the rural countryside), with multi-generational households separating into nuclear family living arrangements. South Korea shares its traditional culture with North Korea, but the two Koreas have developed distinct contemporary forms of culture since the peninsula was divided in 1945. Historically, while the culture of Korea has been heavily influenced by that of neighboring China, it has nevertheless managed to develop a unique cultural identity that is distinct from its larger neighbor. The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism actively encourages the traditional arts, as well as modern forms, through funding and education programs. The industrialization and urbanization of South Korea have brought many changes to the way Korean people live. Changing economics and lifestyles have led to a concentration of population in major cities, especially the capital Seoul, with multi-generational households separating into nuclear family living arrangements.

ART Korean art has been highly influenced by Buddhism and Confucianism, which can be seen in the many traditional paintings, sculptures, ceramics and the performing arts. Korean pottery and porcelain, such as Joseon's baekja and buncheong, and Goryeo's celadon are well known throughout

the world. The Korean tea ceremony, pansori, talchum and buchaechum are also notable Korean performing arts. Post-war modern Korean art started to flourish in the 1960s and 1970s, when South Korean artists took interest in geometrical shapes and intangible subjects. Establishing a harmony between man and nature was also a favorite of this time. Because of social instability, social issues appeared as main subjects in the 1980s. Art was influenced by various international events and exhibits in Korea, and with it brought more diversity. The Olympic Sculpture Garden in 1988, the transposition of the 1993 edition of the Whitney Biennial to Seoul, the creation of the Gwangju Biennale[176] and the Korean Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1995 were notable events.

South Koreas 10 Biggest Companies 10. SK Hynix Market cap: $16.4 billion Price-Earnings Ratio, P/E: NA SK Hynix, formerly known as Hynix Semiconductor, is the worlds second largest memory chipmaker. The company was founded in 1983 and changed its name to SK Hynix after SK Telecom paid $2.98 billion in February for a 21-percent stake in the firm. Despite SK Hynixs prominent position in the semiconductor business, the firm posted its third quarterly loss in April of $227.8 million, as slowing computer sales undercut chip prices. The stock is down almost 11 percent in the past 12 months to July 10. Market analysts are still positive on the stock, with 26 out 46 polled calling for it to outperform; 14 recommend it as a buy, according to Reuters. The company has announced a number of new initiatives recently in order to compete with tech giants Samsung Electronics and Micron. Last month, it announced the completion of a new semiconductor line that would help meet rising demand for data-storage chips used in Apples smartphones and tablets. The move came after the firms $250 million takeover of L_A_Media Devices (LAMD) to produce packaged chips. There have also been reports for the past few months that SK Hynix is considering buying operations of bankrupt Japanese chipmaker Elpida. 9. Shinhan Financial Group Market cap: $18.2 billion P/E: 6.6 Shinhan Financial Group, South Koreas largest banking services firm, is the only financial company to make the top-ten list. The group was founded in 2001 as a holding company for 11 subsidiaries that include Shinhan Bank (originally named Hanseong Bank) which is best known as the first bank in Korea and Jeju Bank. The group also has interests in asset management and life insurance. Last year, the firm experienced a major shakeup with the appointment of new chairman Hang Dong-woo, after a public embezzlement scandal dented its image and led to the resignations of three top leaders.

The group is also among the countrys four biggest banks that are currently being probed by authorities on how the key interest rate has been set. Market analysts expect the company to report an over 35 percent decline in net profit in the second quarter from a year earlier on the lack of gains from equity sales and an increase in administrative costs seen across South Korean banks. The stock has fallen 23.8 percent in the 12 months to July 10. But 23 analysts out of 41 polled by Reuters think the company will outperform, with 10 calling it a buy and eight recommending it as a hold. 8. Samsung Life Insurance Market cap: $18.8 billion PE: 19.6 Samsung Life Insurance is biggest life insurer in South Korea with about 26 percent of local market share. Founded in 1957, the insurers growth accelerated after it was incorporated under Samsung Group in 1963. Its initial public offering in 2010, which raised $4.4 billion, catapulted the firm to the status of one of South Koreas most valuable companies. The insurers top shareholder is Lee Kunhee, South Koreas richest man and former CEO of parent firm Samsung Group. The company is at the heart of a web of Samsung Group cross-shareholdings that have come into question as Lee defends three lawsuits from relatives on his holdings in the conglomerate. In a move to expand into emerging markets, there were reports in May that Samsung Life was planning a partnership with Dubai sovereign fund Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) to sell life insurance in the Middle East and north Africa. The companys stock is down 3.8 percent in the 12 months to July 10, but that is the smallest decline among the lists top 10 firms that saw a negative percentage change in a year. About 17 analysts out of the 31 polled by Reuters think the stock will outperform, while 12 consider it a buy. 7. Hyundai Heavy Industries Market cap: $19.8 billion P/E: 8.2 Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. is the worlds largest shipbuilding company. The firm was started in 1947 as a construction business by Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung, and moved into shipbuilding in the 1970s. By 1974, the company had built the worlds largest shipyard. In 2002, the firm split from the Hyundai Group and became a part of the Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, which now has subsidiaries in engineering, heavy machinery, construction and green energy. The company has announced a number of big deals recently, including a $1.2 billion ship order from Greece and three orders worth a total $600 million to build oil and gas rigs. It also raised $614 million by selling 1.5 percent of its 3.5 percent stake in Hyundai Motor in July marking South Koreas biggest stock sale this year. Nevertheless, the global shipbuilding industry has been suffering from oversupply and weak demand. Hyundai Heavy Industries stock is down a whopping 46.6 percent as of the 12 months to July 10 the biggest decline on our list.

But 23 out of the 37 analysts polled by Reuters think the stock will outperform; 11 recommend it as a buy, while only 1 designates it a sell. 6. LG Chem Market cap: $20 billion P/E: 12 LG Chem is South Koreas largest chemical maker, and one of the leading suppliers of car batteries. The company was founded in 1947 as Lucky Chemical Industrial and merged with LG Petrochemical in 2007. It operates in two segments petrochemicals and electronic materials, such as rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops and electric vehicles. LG Chems notable customers include GM, to which it supplies batteries for the automakers plug-in hybrid, electric vehicle Volt. In the past year, rising oil prices and slowing demand in China have hit LG Chems earnings hard. The company posted a 45-percent decline in first-quarter profit compared to a year earlier; its second- quarter net profit fell 40 percent to $327 million. The firms stock is down 39.7 percent in the 12 months to July 10. But 26 out of the 42 analysts polled by Reuters say the company will outperform; 14 consider it a buy. 5. Hyundai Mobis Market cap: $26.1 billion P/E: 8.2 Seoul-based Hyundai Mobis, a subsidiary of the Hyundai Motor Group, is the countrys leading maker of auto parts. Founded in 1977 as Hyundai Precision Industry to produce containers, the company turned its focus to autos and launched the Galloper brand of vehicles in the 1990s. After the Asian financial crisis, however, the firm reorganized itself as an auto parts specialist. It provides auto parts to South Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia and international ones like Subaru and Mitsubishi. Earlier this year, it signed a $1.07 billion deal to supply parts to General Motors and Chrysler. The companys stock is down 35 percent as of the 12 months to July 10, even though the firm reported an a 17-percent jump in first-quarter net profit to $828.7 million. About 29 of the 46 analysts polled by Reuters think the stock will outperform; 15 consider it a buy. 4. Kia Motors Market cap: $29.2 billion P/E:16 Kia Motors is South Koreas second-largest automaker and a subsidiary of the Hyundai Motor Group. Founded in 1944 as a manufacturer of steel tubing and bicycle parts, the company started making vehicles in 1957.

During the Asian financial crisis, Kia declared bankruptcy, which led Hyundai Motor to acquire a 51-percent stake in the firm. Since then, the automaker has gone on to expand globally with manufacturing plants in the U.S., Europe and China. Tapping in to the worlds largest auto market, Kias China sales jumped over 30 percent in 2011. The company is planning to open its third factory in China this year toincrease annual capacity by 200,000 units to 730,000 units by 2014. In Europe, Kia Slovakia recently reported a 10- percent increase in production of 149,000 cars in first six months of the year. Kia US sales jumped nearly 18 percent in the first half of the year, versus a year ago. Still, Kia's stock is down 5.7 percent, as of the 12 months to July 10. Some 29 of 49 analysts polled by Reuters say the stock will outperform; 18 recommend it as a buy. 3. POSCO Market cap: $32.6 billion P/E: 9.1 POSCO is the worlds fourth-biggest steelmaker, and backed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett. The company was founded in 1968 as a joint venture between the South Korean government and tools manufacturer TaeguTec. It has since gone on to produce over 33 million tons of steel and has a joint venture with U.S. Steel called USS-POSCO in California. This year the company expects to break ground on a $12-billion steel mill project in Indias eastern Orissa state. POSCO has, however, like other global steelmakers been hit hard by slowing demand, lower product prices and higher raw-material costs. It posted a whopping 54 percent drop in first quarter profit this year of $370.78 million. A senior POSCO executive recently said in that he expects earnings to deteriorate further in the second half of the year. Buffetts Berkshire Hathaway owns around 5 percent of POSCO shares. The companys stock is down 20.5 percent in the 12 months to July 10. But 27 out of 45 analysts polled by Reuters still think the stock will outperform; 14 consider it a buy. 2. Hyundai Motor Market cap: $49.8 billion P/E: 7.6 Hyundai Motor is the worlds fifth-biggest carmaker, based on annual vehicle sales, and the top automaker in South Korea. Founded in 1967, it launched the first Korean passenger car the Hyundai Pony in 1976. By expanding its presence in key markets like China, the carmaker sold 4.06 million vehicles in 2011. Hyundais Genesis sedan was ranked the best mid-sized premium car in 2012 by J.D. Power and Associates, while the Elantra was named North American car of the year at the Detroit auto show. Meanwhile, the carmaker is dealing with labor unrest over working conditions and pay. Employees staged their first strike in four years on July 13 after negotiations collapsed, which resulted in a loss of production worth $76.5 million over an eight-hour period. There are plans for new strikes, which could also affect affiliate Kia Motors.

The companys stock is down 7.7 percent in the 12 months to July 10. But 29 of 50 analysts polled by Reuters expect the firm to outperform; 18 recommend it a buy. 1. Samsung Electronics Market cap: $165.2 billion P/E: 10.9 Samsung Electronics is the worlds biggest technology firm by revenue, and by far the largest-listed company in South Korea. Its market cap is more than three times larger than the closest rival Hyundai Motor. It was founded in 1969 and is the now the worlds biggest maker of memory chips, smartphones and televisions. Samsung Electronics is the flagship subsidiary of South Koreas biggest business conglomerate Samsung Group which has nearly 80 affiliates. The family-run group has a significant impact on South Koreas economy, accounting for about one fifth of the countrys GDP. The firms second quarter profit is estimated to have hit a record $5.9 billion, powered by strong sales of its flagship Galaxy brand of smartphones. It has also launched an online music service to compete head on with Apples iPhones. Samsung Electronics is the only stock among South Koreas top-10 companies to rise the last 12 months to July 10, gaining 27.2 percent. About 30 out of 52 analysts polled by Reuters think the company will outperform; 21 say its a buy.