Second wave of Korean contractors flock to the Middle East
30 years ago, the oil shock in the Middle East created a huge demand for construction projects. People called it the Middle East boom and Koreans flocked to the region to jump on the bandwagon. Back then, most of the work was in simple labor jobs, such as building bridges, roads and buildings. But during the global financial crisis in 2009, Korean contractors started to take advantage of the volatile market, coming in with competitive prices for contracts in oil refinery packages, petrochemical plants or gas processing plants.
Dominating Middle East's plant market through turn-key projects
In the '70s and the '80s, Koreans could not easily break into the plant industry which requires high value, highly-sophisticated technology.
But things are different today, and the numbers back up that claim.
Korea ranked number one in the Middle East's market share for all construction projects, including plant projects in 2011.
Another report by Middle East Economic Digest says Korea won 62 percent of the contracts for plant projects in the Middle East.
From exporting labor to overseeing multi-million dollar plant projects
The roles of Koreans in the Middle Eastern plant markets are changing. Most Koreans hold managerial positions, transferring skills to engineers in developing countries. Once a supplier of labor, Korean companies are now providing a one-stop solution - from engineering, planning and construction.