MOU to boost collaboration between S'pore, S. Korean firms

An agreement signed yesterday aims to boost partnerships in technology start-ups, wholesale distribution and logistics between Singaporean and South Korean firms.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was inked between IE Singapore and the Korean province Gyeonggi, host to many world-class companies like Hyundai and Samsung.

IE Singapore and the Gyeonggi provincial government will organise business missions, business matching, and facilitate Singapore and Gyeonggi-based companies to partner in the three areas.

The MOU will help Singapore technology start-ups to enter Gyeonggi and access its ecosystem, which includes co-working spaces, incubators and in-market immersion programmes.

This, in turn, will help Singapore companies gain a deeper understanding of South Korea's technology, as well as meet potential partners, said IE Singapore, the government agency responsible for helping local companies go global.

It added that wholesale trade companies can collaborate with South Korean ones to jointly distribute their consumer products in the region.

Gyeonggi is the most populous province in South Korea with 12.5 million people. Its gross domestic product of $393 billion and $271 billion worth of international trade last year were the highest of all South Korean provinces.

More than 761,000 small and medium-sized enterprises call Gyeonggi home, including those in the beauty, health supplements and textile industries. Many are looking at overseas expansion, focusing in particular on the growing South-east Asia consumer market.

Mr Tan Soon Kim, IE Singapore's assistant chief executive, said Singapore companies could explore partnerships with South Korean firms to access other countries by "leveraging each other's strengths in areas such as technology and distribution network".

The number of South Korean start-ups has grown significantly since the introduction of the country's Creative Economy initiatives in 2013. The number of investments in South Korean start-ups increased by 49 per cent from 2015 to last year, while the investment size increased by 23 per cent, with most firms dealing in information and communications technology services, e-commerce and healthcare.

IE Singapore expects the Asia-Pacific e-commerce market to grow to more than $1.6 trillion by 2022 as demand rises for more cross-border fulfilment services.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2017, with the headline 'MOU to boost collaboration between S'pore, S. Korean firms'. Print Edition | Subscribe