From 1986 to 1989 Korea’s average annual growth rate was more than 10 percent. The government started to implement various policies aimed at giving more freedom to the private sector, letting market principles guide the economy and freeing business from the direct involvement of the government.
In those days, the McKinsey Tokyo Office had started to serve a Korean conglomerate with consultants shuttling back and forth between Korea and Japan. Meanwhile, within the firm, the Asia Pacific Council—a collection of leaders from offices in Asia and individuals with a personal interest—was contemplating the idea of expansion, as it became increasingly clear that the Firm needed a bigger presence in the region.
In the end, South Korea, Taiwan, and India were identified as places where McKinsey should open new offices. In January of 1991, to serve its Korean clients better, McKinsey established a beachhead on the Korean peninsula, working from an office on the 11th floor of the Westin Chosun Hotel in downtown Seoul.