At a driving school in Siheung, South Korea, a driver's license applicant from China waits for her driving lessons. - Reuters
Chinese shoppers already have a seemingly insatiable appetite for South Korean pop music, TV dramas, cosmetics and fashion. Now they’re after another must-have item: a driver’s licence.
In China, would-be drivers can wait up to a year for a licence and pay double the US$420 (RM1,377) that one costs in South Korea. That has fuelled a boom in Chinese visitors taking South Korean driving tests and converting the licences when they get home.
At a driving school in the suburbs of Seoul, a buzzing operation which sees some 200 Chinese applicants a month, half of the class listens to a Korean-speaking teacher while the Chinese visitors fix their eyes on a TV screen showing sample questions for written tests in Mandarin.
“It is easy to get a driver’s licence in South Korea. Although I feel nervous, it is fast and easy to convert into a Chinese one,” said Wang Yingfang, a 46-year-old Chinese applicant on her first drive in Korea.