The South Korean economy, as it has in the previous year, continues to enjoying record levels of activity, from the year’s largest M&A deal; Shinsegae Group’s E-Mart Inc acquisition of an 80% stake in eBay Inc for $3bn, to its record number of companies newly listed on the KOSPI market and a record high of capital raised in IPOs reaching 20.8 trillion.
Continuing the trend for greater comprehensive regulatory monitoring, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has taken an increasingly active role in “levelling the playing field” and enforcing competition laws and remedying anti-competitive, unfair trade practices, particularly in the areas of franchising, retail agency and sub-contracting. In the data protection realm, the Personal Information Protection Commission slapped record fines on Google and Meta over violations of privacy laws, amid growing concern about a lack of personal data protection in the highly digitalised society.
Furthermore, one of 2022’s key legislative introductions, The Act on Punishment for Serious Accidents, sets forth penalties against business owners, managerial responsibility holders, public servants and corporate entities that are responsible for causing harm. As a result, many firms have expanded their employment, regulatory and disputes practices to include specialists in industrial accidents and health and safety.
Fintech and more broadly, Industry 4.0, has grown exponentially in recent years, leading to a surge of boutiques focusing on servicing start-ups in the financial services and tech sectors. D’Light Law Group, VEAT Law Firm and SEUM Law are among the top practices. Full service firms such as Kim & Chang, Lee & Ko, Bae, Kim & Lee LLC and Shin & Kim remain at the forefront of the Korean legal market.