Cooperatives were previously limited to only a few industries, each with their own specific legislation but this changed following the passing of the 2012 Cooperative Framework Act. Cooperatives could now be established in almost any sector, and requirements to launch one were drastically reduced.
For example, the previous laws required at least 1000 founder-members to form an agricultural coop, 300 for a consumer coop and 100 for a credit union. The passing of the new law reduced the minimum number of members to establish a cooperative to 5. Other substantial changes included recognising worker cooperatives as a specific legal entity, and making them eligible for conventional bank loans for small and medium-sized businesses they were previously denied access to.
Support for cooperatives among the political leadership has been substantial - every major political party included cooperatives in their party manifestos in the previous two elections and the mayor of Seoul stated that his goal was for every resident in the city to be a member of at least one cooperative.