Are transnational tobacco companies' market access strategies linked to economic development models? A case study of South Korea

Sungkyu Lee, Chris Holden, Kelley Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transnational tobacco companies (TTCs) have used varied strategies to access previously closed markets. Using TTCs' efforts to enter the South Korean market from the late 1980s as a case study, this article asks whether there are common patterns in these strategies that relate to the broader economic development models adopted by targeted countries. An analytical review of the existing literature on TTCs' efforts to access emerging markets was conducted to develop hypotheses relating TTCs' strategies to countries' economic development models. A case study of Korea was then undertaken based on analysis of internal tobacco industry documents. Findings were consistent with the hypothesis that TTCs' strategies in Korea were linked to Korea's export-oriented economic development model and its hostile attitude towards foreign investment. A fuller understanding of TTCs' strategies for expansion globally can be derived by locating them within the economic development models of specific countries or regions. Of foremost importance is the need for governments to carefully balance economic and public health policies when considering liberalisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-448
Number of pages14
JournalGlobal Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

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