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Friday October 27, 2000

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Korean speaker at an Arizona International College class

By Jeremy Duda

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Ky Chueon Kim talked about business ethics in his native country

Cultural and economic practices may make Korean businesses less ethical than American businesses, the president of a business management college said yesterday.

Ky Chueon Kim, who is from Korea, was a guest speaker yesterday in the Arizona International College's Business Ethics and the Public Good class.

Kim, the founder of the American Management-Tech University in Los Angeles, spoke to about 35 students in Joseph Helgert's class.

Prior to founding his university, Kim worked for Phillips, a Dutch manufacturing corporation,.

Kim, who is also the current president of the AMTU, spoke to the class on the Korean perspective of ethics in business and how it affects that country.

"Who is strong in this world?" Kim asked the class, and quickly answered, "He who controls himself."

That theme was reiterated several times in his lecture, and said he wants a higher degree of ethical conduct in Korean business. He said that practices such as insider trading are detrimental to South Korea'seconomy.

"The AIC (Arizona International College) maintains a global focus, so it is important for the students to get the Korean perspective," Helgert said.

Business practices in Korea are generally more unethical than in the United States, Kim said, because of eonomic and cultural conditions.

For example, strong respect for elders is ingrained in Korean society. As a result, three or four generations of a family sometimes live under the same roof.

These cultural practices emerge in the business world in the form of insider trading between relatives. A sibling or cousin of a corporate executive in Korea may be privy to information that is unavailable to the general public.

One audience member asked about the International Monetary Fund. Kim explained the workings of IMF loans and how money for the loans, put up by banks in the United States, Europe and Japan, is lent to other countries at above-average rates. In the case of Korea, the interest rate is about 2.5 percent. Average rates are about 1 percent.

In turn, that money could be lent to countries such as Indonesia and Thailand, he said. These countries' inability to repay their debts has been the theme of recent protests against the IMF and the World Bank.

Korean business practices are generally less ethical than their American counterparts, but this is beginning to change, Kim said.

After these businesses become more ethical, they can become as profitable as before, he added.

"Without keeping rules and regulations, in the long run, you will get into trouble," Kim said.