International Enterprise (IE) Singapore has signed
a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Gyeonggi Provincial Government
of South Korea today, in line with the agency’s approach to engage governments
more deeply at the provincial/city level. IE Singapore is the government agency that promotes international trade and partners Singapore
companies to go global.
Comprising 31 cities, Gyeonggi (the province surrounding
Seoul), is Korea’s centre of high-tech industries and hosts many world-class
companies including Hyundai, Samsung, and SK Group. In 2016, its GDP of S$393
billion and international trade amount of S$271 billion topped all provinces in
There are opportunities for Singapore companies to offer
their services in partnership with Korean companies to bring Korean brands to
ASEAN, capitalising on their existing distribution networks.
This MOU is expected to boost collaboration in technology
start-ups, wholesale distribution and logistics. As part of the MOU, IE
Singapore and the Gyeonggi Provincial Government will organise business
missions, business matching and facilitate Singapore and Gyeonggi-based
companies to partner in these areas.
Witnessed by Senior Minister of State for Trade &
Industry and National Development Dr. Koh Poh Koon and Gyeonggi Governor, Mr.
Nam Kyung-Pil, the MOU was signed by IE Singapore’s Assistant CEO Mr. Tan Soon
Kim and Gyeonggi’s Director-General of International Cooperation Dr. Cho
Mr. Tan Soon Kim, IE Singapore’s Assistant CEO, said, “This
MOU provides a framework for us to engage the Gyeonggi government and
facilitate collaboration between our companies. Beyond looking at South Korea
as a market, our companies could explore partnerships with their Korean
counterparts to jointly access third countries by leveraging each other’s
strengths in areas such as technology and distribution network.”
Helping Korean SMEs
expand into south-east Asia
There are over 761,000 SMEs in Gyeonggi, including those in
consumer products such as beauty, health supplements and textile. Singapore
companies in the trading, logistics and e-commerce sectors can provide their
services, source for products and services from this large pool of SMEs and
enter new markets together with Korean companies.
Many of these Korean SMEs want to expand overseas,
especially to tap into the growing consumer market in Southeast Asia. But they may
not have the necessary connections in this region, especially in marketing,
distribution and logistics fulfilment.
With strong business networks in Southeast Asia, Singapore
wholesale trade companies can collaborate with South Korean companies to
jointly distribute their consumer products in the region, further reinforcing
Singapore as a trade hub.
IE Singapore has been facilitating tie-ups between South
Korean brands and Singapore companies. An example is Luxasia, who is working
with South Korean company Clio Cosmetics and entered the Indonesia and the
Besides wholesale distribution, there is a growing demand
for cross-border fulfilment services as South Korean companies look beyond
their domestic market to capture the growing e-commerce market. The Asia
Pacific e-commerce market is expected to grow Singapore’s strong logistics
networks in the region meet the needs of such players.
For example, IE Singapore connected Singpost to Interfashion
Planning, South Korea lifestyle and fashion company, to partner them in
logistics and marketing to consumers in Southeast Asia.
Singpost is also working with Café 24, another Korean
e-commerce business, to provide logistics services for their products in Hong
Kong, Taiwan and other markets.
The Korea start-up market has grown significantly since the
government introduced the Creative Economy initiatives in 2013. From 2015 to
2016, investments in start-ups increased by 49% in number, and 23% in size, due
to government support. Most of the start-ups are in Information and
communications technology (ICT) services, ecommerce and healthcare, including
e-commerce platform Coupang, and mobile platform operator Yellow Mobile, both
of which are part of the Global Unicorn Club.
The MOU will facilitate the entry of Singapore technology
start-ups in Gyeonggi and help them access its ecosystem, including co-working
spaces, incubators and in-market immersion programmes to help our start-ups
gain deeper understanding into the technology scene in South Korea and meet
with potential partners.