South Korea’s advanced tech industries endorsed by international alliances

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post

South Korea, poised to become the world’s epicentre for advanced technology industries, received a vigorous endorsement from international alliances eager to accelerate its economic growth and competitiveness. The nation also committed to bolstering cooperation with its ASEAN partners to promote trade and investment.

Specifically, South Korea showcased interest in the automobile sector within Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in Rayong province.

The Investment Korea Summit 2023, organised by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), saw an influx of participants from the United States, Europe, China, and Japan. As Korea’s national investment promotion agency, KOTRA aids foreign businesses in Korea while advocating for Korea’s investment environment.

The agency provides services that encompass investment notifications and business setup consultations.

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In the words of Jang Young Jin, the first vice minister of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the competition between the US and China is anticipated to dampen economic growth this year. Nevertheless, South Korea endeavours to foster an appealing investment environment through bilateral free trade agreements with 20 countries, including tax benefits and other advantages.

These efforts have catalysed a surge in foreign direct investment (FDI), predominantly in semiconductors, now valued above US$23.9 billion, said Jin.

“We have been seeking further international trade investment, exploring new markets and enhancing the supply chain.”

ASEAN investment

On the topic of ASEAN investment, Jin expressed that ASEAN still has considerable potential to attract trade and investment. This is corroborated by the swift growth in trade between Korea and ASEAN nations.

Furthermore, the escalating production costs in China and the reinforced competitiveness of Chinese companies have impelled Korea and other countries to modify their investment strategies, now seeing the ASEAN region as a hub for trade and investment, reported Bangkok Post.

Simultaneously, a representative from the ministry divulged Korea’s eagerness to invest in the automobile industry in the EEC in Rayong.

“Korea is keen on developing advanced technology and believes the EEC has the potential for automobile industry investment.”

The EEC Development Plan is a component of the Thailand 4.0 scheme that seeks to rejuvenate the Eastern Seaboard, Thailand’s industrial powerhouse for over three decades. This plan will instigate significant development and transformation of Thailand’s investment in both physical and social infrastructure.

The EEC project will initially concentrate on three eastern provinces, namely Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, and Rayong.

Advanced industry investment

According to the ministry, Korea, as a global investment hub, has achieved record-high foreign direct investment (FDI). It will persist in leading innovation in high-tech industries alongside global partners. Based on 2022’s FDI figures, 2.93% of FDI was allocated to advanced industry investment, 45.2% to material components and equipment, and 51.85% to other categories.

Greenfield investments constituted US$17 billion of the total FDI, and investments in future high-tech industries attracted US$7 billion. Additionally, there were 22 instances of large-scale investment increases.

Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, who chaired the meeting, pledged the government’s utmost efforts to promote investment, transforming it into a global hub for high-tech.

“We would like to create trust among investors that we will do the best to support them, including better regulations to help the investors by eliminating unnecessary red tape. We will do more to encourage a stable supply chain.

“Importantly, we have the number one digital powerhouse in the world, making it possible to be the global hub for high-tech industry.”

Four foreign companies from Japan, the US, Spain, and B.Grimm Power, a wind energy investor, have proposed investing over US$900 million in energy, future mobility, semiconductors, and ICT.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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