South Korea and the Rise of Globalization Essay

Total Length: 1376 words ( 5 double-spaced pages)

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Hat Stand and Globalization



The South Korean hat stand has been impacted by globalization over time in multiple ways. First, it has introduced larger corporations like Wal-Mart and Tesco into Asian markets. Second, it has created new demand for global goods and for Western items especially. Thirdly, through digitalization and the rise of the Internet, it has encroached on the meaningfulness of the street stall retailer -- i.e., the hat stand vendor -- and his ability to offer a novel product that cannot be obtained anywhere else.



First, globalization has impacted the hat stand over time because it has introduced larger competitors into the region -- giant wholesalers whose aim is to offer consumers goods at discounted prices. Wal-Mart and Tesco both entered into South Korea with this objective.[footnoteRef:1] And while only Tesco succeeded over time (Wal-Mart failed to connect with the values of the local population),[footnoteRef:2] the fact that these giant corporations were now offering goods in Korea meant that street retail vendors, such as the hat stand seller, were increasingly marginalized. The hat stand is a sign of an Old World merchant offering a novelty product that is Western in conception (all of the hats are of a Western style). This signifies that the merchant is responding to demand brought about through trends effected via globalization. And though the product may not always have been like this for the merchant, globalization has placed new pressures and new demands on the street vendor and turned him into a novelty stall appealing to street traffic, knowing full well that there is a much larger store nearby that is offering many more products and attracting many more consumers. [1: Franco Gandolfi, Pavel Strach, "Retail Internationalization: Gaining Insights from the Wal-Mart Experience in South Korea," Review of International Comparative Management, vol. 10, no. 1 (2009), 187.] [2: Neil Coe, Yong-Sook Lee, "We've learnt to be local: the deepening territorial embeddedness of Samsung-Tesco in South Korea," Journal of Economic Geography, vol. 13, no. 2 (2013), 327.

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Second, globalization has led to new demand for Western goods. The hat stand reflects this change: the various hats and styles show new trends in dress over the years -- and even the stand itself is a reflection of demand for a product that is not organically Asian or Korean. While the stand itself was most likely there before globalization introduced demand for more Western items, it was more than likely offering something custom-made in Korea that appealed to traditional Korean tastes. Today's hat stand is a sign of the impact that the West has had on Korea via globalization: it has altered consumer tastes and changed what the vendor can offer them to attract business.



Third, globalization has increased in the Digital Era via the rise of the Internet, which virtually every shopper with a smart phone can access anywhere at all times. Now, the hat stall is no longer just competing with other street vendors (as well as the Tesco down the road) but also with vendors all over the world. Globalization has increased the scale of competition for the hat vendor and made him seem even more insignificant in the grand scale of things. The hat stall has an anachronistic look to it -- as though it were from another era, superimposed on the present commercial make-up of the South Korean marketplace. It sits in front of new, modern stores like the Western Dunkin' Donuts that have places to sit. What once was a local, traditional way to appeal to consumers in the country is now viewed almost as something foreign in its own land: it does not fit in with the larger, looming corporate structures that rise up overhead, dwarfing the hat stand and indicating its dwarfishness in the new, 21st century, where the global, multinational, corporate….....

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Bibliography

Coe, Neil; Yong-Sook Lee, "We've learnt to be local: the deepening territorial

embeddedness of Samsung-Tesco in South Korea," Journal of Economic Geography, vol. 13, no. 2 (2013), 327-345.

Gandolfi, Franco; Pavel Strach, "Retail Internationalization: Gaining Insights from the Wal-Mart Experience in South Korea," Review of International Comparative Management, vol. 10, no. 1 (2009), 187-198.

Koo, Hagen. "The Changing Faces of Inequality in South Korea in the Age of Globalization," Korean Studies, vol. 31 (2007), 1-9.

Ryoo, Woongjae. "Globalization, or the logic of cultural hybridization: the case of the Korean wave," Asian Journal of Communication, vol. 19, no. 2 (2009): 137-153.

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