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New South Korean investment schemes aim to prop up domestic industry

A STATUE OF Admiral Yi Sun-Shin, famous for his victories over the Japanese navy in the 16th century, casts a fierce eye over Gwanghwamun Square in the centre of Seoul. Recently he has also been staring down at visitors in branches of Nonghyup, a local bank. A picture of the man in full battle gear encourages customers to invest in the “Certain Victory Korea Fund”, which Nonghyup’s asset-management arm set up in August to bet on domestic firms it says will benefit from government support in the wake of a trade dispute with Japan.Nonghyup is not the only South Korean bank seeking to capitalise on a nationalist moment. KB Kookmin Bank, a rival, is planning a similar fund. Several have been offering free tickets to a film about a famous battle with Japan to anyone opening a liberation-themed account. One has been giving out loans with the interest rate capped at 8.15%, alluding to August 15th, when the country celebrates the end of Japanese occupation. Another said it hoped its “Liberation Day” savings account would “inspire patriotism” as well as increase customers’ assets.
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