Korean business conglomerates known as chaebol have officially been restricted from participating in the LED lighting business domestically. LED lighting was among a list of other businesses Korean Conglomerates must either withdrawl from or refrain from expanding domestically, according to an article in Korea Joongang Daily.
According to the article, Korea’s Commission for Shared Growth for Large and Small Companies headed by former Prime Minister Chung Un-chan announced 25 businesses restricted to small companies only.
This was the second announcement made by the committee. The first announcement that restricted conglomerates from expanding in 16 businesses such as gochujang, or red pepper paste, and makgeolli (traditional rice beer) was made in September.
While the measure has some suporters and detractors, the reality of the international competition in the LED business might make it difficult for small companies to compete domestically. According to an editorial reprinted from Korea JoongAng Daily, “In the case of the lighting sector, which big local companies were not allowed to enter, three foreign multinational corporations – General Electric, Phillips and Osram – ate up 70 percent of the domestic lighting fixtures market, while 80 percent of our small- and medium-sized lighting companies still employed less than five workers.”