Our semiconductor specialists in Seoul also know a thing or two about pungsu - the Korean version of feng shui.
Based in the ‘satellite city’ of Bundang, Arm’s Korea office is about 10 miles south of Seoul’s city centre. Bundang is a ‘new town’, developed in the 1990s to provide more space for businesses to grow and expand.
Our office building is typical of many others in this part of the city; a modern, steel and glass structure with 12 floors. We’re on the 7th floor, with an unobstructed view of Central Park, and of a big lawn where people play sports and sit outside on sunny days.
The office is open-plan, with cubicles for people to work in, meeting rooms and break-out spaces. Over the last 15 years, we’ve expanded from five people when we started in 2005, to 18 people today. Most of us are Korean or Korean American, with a wide mix of ages.
Location/ immediate surroundings
We’re located centrally in Bundang, which is served directly by the subway to most other parts of the city. The local area is a mix of residential buildings and office blocks, and there are lots of good restaurants and shopping malls nearby. There are also many IT and semiconductor businesses, especially at Technopark – a tech-heavy district a couple of miles from our office.
One special thing about our office is that our building has very good pungsu, which is like the Korean version of feng shui. For example, it has a favourable position, unobstructed views, and is not located at the end of the block. This is very important to Korean businesses; when a building is considered to have good pungsu, Korean people believe that any business which works there will experience great success. Companies pay a lot to get the buildings with the best pungsu!
"One special thing about our office is that our building has very good pungsu, which is like the Korean version of feng shui… when a building is considered to have good pungsu, Korean people believe that any business which works there will experience great success."
Originally we were established as a sales office for semiconductor IP, but our work now encompasses marketing and customer support for semiconductor IP and IoT services business. Around 90% of our work is with Korean companies, with the other 10% with south-east Asian nations – including Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia.
One of our main focuses is supporting new businesses and start-ups, which we often do in partnership with the Korean government.
We usually have daily calls on Microsoft Teams with other Arm offices around the world, especially San Jose, Sofia and Cambridge.
Lunch and leisure time
Our location next to Central Park is great. It’s easy for us to walk around the park during our lunch break, have something to eat and a coffee, or maybe to go there to relax or exercise after work.
We also have an area called a ‘madang’, which means a garden or yard. We use it for celebrating birthdays and special occasions.
For anyone who is new to the area, we’d probably take them to one of our favourite Korean BBQ restaurants nearby – there are several good ones to choose from. BBQ is a speciality of Korea and most people enjoy it very much: you can have beef, pork or chicken, or something unusual like an eel.
We’re quite a small office, and office and work closely together in teams. Most people commute to the office by subway; some also cycle or walk.
We try to play sports like football and basketball together at least once a month, which helps our team get to know each other and gives really positive energy. In Korea, companies tend to be quite structured, and new employees sometimes find it hard to share their opinions. Our office isn’t like that – we’re quite informal and encourage everyone to share their ideas and strategies in meetings. We want everyone to feel valued and an important part of Arm.