I have recently found out that South Korea is part of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, and that the South Korean Won (KRW) currency trades as a non-deliverable currency. Furthermore, the South Korean Interest Rate Swaps are also non-deliverable and trade with a relatively wide spread, signalling poor liquidity.
This came as a total surprise, because when I used to think of South Korea, I used to think of companies such as Samsung, Kia, Hyundai or LG (i.e. globally competitive, tech-savvy corporations). Also, the South Korean capital Seoul came to mind, which somehow has an image of a modern, western-type capital city.
For many years, I somehow had a mental image of South Korea as a tech-savvy country, along the lines of Japan, and certainly a developed economy.
As I am no expert on Asia and do lack deeper economic education, I wanted to ask for an economic explanation as to why South Korea is still an emerging economy, and also, what are the country's prospects of becoming a developed economy?
Thank you so much for any type of explanation, including perhaps a historical one which would explain why South Korea is economically where it is today.