Every so often, a vibrant new city emerges on the world scene, stepping out from its history to modernize with entrepreneurial optimism and financial clout. When that coincides with a cultural rebirth that sets it on the cutting-edge of the world’s trends, the city swirls in its own perfect storm. Think London’s Swinging Sixties, New York’s Yuppie Eighties or Bubble-era Tokyo.
The rise of Seoul, capital of South Korea, via electronic giants LG, Hynix and Samsung to automobile makers Hyundai, Kia and Daewoo, has even led to a whole new flashy district south of Seoul’s Han River – Gangnam (river south). A hub for emerging arts, fashion and music, it’s the birthplace of the Korean wave, a cultural tide of TV dramas, films and music that has swamped Asia and is now making a splash on western shores.