Foreign Direct Investment
S. Korea attracts investment of USD 940 from 6 European companies
S. Korea has attracted investment worth USD 940 million from six high-tech European companies to build factories and R&D centers. The six companies on Jun. 21 in Paris announced their investments at a ceremony attended by President Yoon Suk Yeol, who visiting France.
This year, S. Korea has attracted reported foreign investment of USD 16.5 billion, breaking the previous record for the first half of the year of USD 15.7 billion in 2018. The Office of the President said cumulative foreign investment attracted by President Yoon's sales diplomacy this year reached USD 3.1 billion, or 19% of the reported amount in the first half.
French mineral company Imerys pledged to build in S. Korea a plant for carbon black, a fine carbon powder used as a cathode material for secondary batteries and additive for semiconductor manufacturing.
Umicore, a Belgium-based cutting-edge materials company, will build a cathode material plant and R&D center for secondary batteries, and German automotive parts maker Continental a high-tech electrical parts factory for future cars such as electric vehicles. Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners aka CIP of Denmark, the world's largest green energy investment company, and the Norway-based public energy company Equinor announced construction projects for offshore wind farms.
S. Korean select shops emerge as incubators of foreign fashion brands
Global fashion brands are increasingly seeking to introduce their items at select shops in S. Korea, suggesting that the country has become a test bed for worldwide growth.
Ulla Johnson, a contemporary women’s fashion brand in the U.S., began sales of its items at RAUM, a multi-store managed by Korean fashion retailer LF Group.
Italian shoe brand Hidnander also picked Korea as the first stage in Asia to launch its luxury sneakers brand last year.
Multi-shops in Korea that sell items of a wide range of fashion brands are now considered incubators that foster global brands. Industry insiders noted that select shops, which first opened in Korea more than a decade ago, have established themselves as the first place to access the latest trends in the global fashion market.
Trade & Commerce
S. Korea exports halal-certified beef to Malaysia for 1st time
Halal-certified premium Korean beef Hanwoo was exported to Malaysia on June 29, marking the culmination of seven years of quarantine negotiations for Korean beef exports that began in 2016.
Ten cows are scheduled for official export on this day, with the exported Korean beef being supplied to local hotels and restaurants in Malaysia.
On June 19, the Malaysian government sent an official letter stating its decision to allow imports of Korean beef from the S. Korean government.
With this export, the number of countries that Korean beef can be exported to has now reached a total of four.
Auto exports jump 50 pct in May on strong eco-friendly car sales
S. Korea's car exports soared nearly 50 percent on-year in May driven by vibrant demand for eco-friendly cars, particularly in the U.S. market, the industry ministry said on Jun. 15.
The value of outbound shipments of automobiles came to USD 6.2 billion last month, up 49.4 percent from a year earlier to reach the highest monthly figure for any May, according to the data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
In terms of volume, exports jumped 37.5 percent on-year to 248,755 vehicles, the data showed. The brisk car sales were attributable to strong global demand for eco-friendly vehicles. The export value of eco-friendly cars surged 64.3 percent on-year in May to USD 2.1 billion. In terms of volume, sales advanced 49.2 percent to 66,264 units last month.
S. Korean conglomerates jump into EV charging business
Stocks of electric vehicle (EV) battery charging infrastructure providers are expected to gain momentum in line with the projection that the EV market will grow at an annual average of about 30 percent by 2030.
According to multiple industry sources on Sunday, S. Korean conglomerates, including SK Group, LG Group, Hyundai Motor Group, and GS Group, are actively engaged in the EV charging infrastructure business by leveraging existing business sites such as charging stations and parking lots.
According to the market research firm Precedence Research, the world’s EV charging infrastructure market size was expected to grow to USD 417.3 billion by 2030.
Government & Policy
S. Korea to foster local bio industry to produce KRW 100 tln by 2030
The Korean government said on Jun. 7 that it will give full support to the local biotechnology industry to raise the sector's production capacity to KRW 100 trillion (USD 76.9 billion) by 2030 as part of its plans to become the world-leading biotech economy.
The Ministry of Science and ICT mapped out a long-term biotechnology development plan to accelerate the integration of bio and high-tech digital technologies as a way to bring about innovation in other sectors, like medicine, environment and agriculture.
Korea's bio industry had an annual capacity valued at KRW 43 trillion in 2020, and the government will expand it to KRW 100 trillion over the next 10 years.
S. Korea to foster Seoul, Busan as global financial hubs over 3 years
The Korean government has decided to promote Seoul and Busan as new global financial centers over the next three years based on a regionally tailored strategy that considers the characteristics of each city.
The move comes as specialized financial centers have emerged as an alternative as the competitiveness of traditional financial centers such as London and Hong Kong has weakened.
Yeouido will provide step-by-step support for the discovery and development of fintech companies. Seoul Fintech Lab will support scale-up of growth companies within seven years of establishment, and the second Seoul Fintech Lab will be dedicated to incubating early-stage companies within three years of establishment. To attract global financial firms to Yeouido’s Financial Special Development Zone, tax breaks will be provided and projects to improve the settlement environment for foreign employees will be carried out.
Munhyeon will focus on strengthening its capabilities in digital finance and maritime finance. It will build a financial district data center around Busan International Finance Center (BIFC) and create a Busan-type scaleup mother fund to support startups in Busan, Ulsan, and Gyeongnam.
*This article is extracted from Invest KOREA information center, 2023