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    International Consumer Product Testing Across Cultures and Countries: Republic of Korea

    Published: May 2007

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    Republic of Korea, also known as South Korea, is situated on the Korean Peninsula, which spans 1100 kilometres from north to south. The Korean Peninsula is located on the northeast section of the Asian Continent and is adjacent to China and Japan. South Korea's total area, including over 3000 islands, is about 99 373 km2. Korea is politically separated into North and South Korea, which are two independent countries. Approximately 45% of the Korean Peninsula constitutes the territory of South Korea ( by Korean Overseas Information Service).

    South Korea is divided into two distinct regions: central and south. The central region consists of the Seoul (the capital city) metropolitan area, Gyeonggi-do Province, Chungcheong-do Province to the south, and Gangwon-do Province to the east. Seoul is the center of all political, economic, and cultural activities and its population is one-quarter of the whole South Korean population. The south region includes the Gyeongsang-do Province to the southeast, Jeolla-do Province to the southwest, and Jeju-do Province which lies off the south coast.

    The climate of South Korea is characterized by four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. August is the hottest month with mean temperature ranging from 19-27°C. January is the coldest month with mean temperature ranging from −8°C to 7°C. Annual precipitation is about 1300 mm in the central region. More than a half of the total rainfall is concentrated in summer, while precipitation in winter is less than 10 % of the annual total.

    Koreans are one ethnic family and speak one language. The Korean alphabet is called Hangeul and is easy to learn and write which has greatly contributed to Korea’s high literacy rate. They often understand written questionnaires better than verbal ones. Korean students start to learn English before junior high school.

    Given the political differences between North and South Korea, this document will primarily focus on the execution of consumer tests in South Korea.

    Author Information:

    Kim, Kwang-Ok
    Professor, Ewha Womans University, Seoul,

    Kim, Sang Sook
    Principal Research Scientist, Korea Food Research Institute, Rice Research Group, Gyeonggi-do,

    Chung, Seojin
    Full time instructor, Seoul Women's University, Seoul,

    Brannan, Grace
    Givaudan Flavors Corporation, Cincinnati, OH

    Committee/Subcommittee: E18.08

    DOI: 10.1520/MNL11109M