So you want to break into family biz?

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South Korea is home to a handful of powerful chaebols that are difficult for Westerners to crack. These family relationships, which sustain kwangye, or business connections, constantly evolve as kids grow up, marriages take place and relatives fall in and out of favor.

When doing business in Korea, here are some cultural caveats:

* Show you can be counted on. Tests of reliability are very strict and usually can't be passed without long-term association, such as graduating from the same school or being part of the same family.

* Develop a thick skin. Koreans are "extremely aggressive," cautioned one Interpublic Group of Cos. executive. "It's not xenophobia, they do it to themselves too.... Koreans take advantage of any natural weakness."

* Be industrious. If a foreigner invests 50% in a Korean venture, "Koreans then expect that you provide half the revenue for that business as well," said the executive. "This is weird for foreigners, who also consider the value they put into the company in other ways."

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