KOTRA in Kazakhstan. We Connect Business
The Head of the Commercial Section of the Republic of Korea Embassy in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Commercial Attache, Chaekeun Lim, answers questions from the Kazakhstan magazine.
Could you tell us about the activities of KOTRA?
KOTRA, a non-for-profit governmental organization of the Republic of Korea, initially named Korea Trade Promotion Corporation, was set up on June 21, 1962. Since that time the company has been successfully contributing to the development of the Republic of Korea’s economy, actively pursuing the policy of overseas market research and promotion of trade organizations. The company carries out marketing research, provides intermediary services and information support.
In August 1995 the promotion of international investment activity and support of technological and industrial cooperation projects were added into the scope of KOTRA’s activities, while the organization itself was given its current name – Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.
Today, KOTRA has sufficient potential to successfully carry out its activities both in the areas of trade and investment. Among KOTRA’s major goals is the setting of the status of Korea as an economic and business center of North-East Asia. Having many years extensive experience, KOTRA provides services and assistance to all those who are interested in doing business with Korean companies.
To effectively implement its goals, KOTRA set up a global network of overseas Korea Business Centers (KBC). 99 KBC have been operating in 98 countries of the world since January 2003.
In Kazakhstan, КОТRА has a diplomatic status in the Commercial Section of the Republic of Korea Embassy in the Republic of Kazakhstan. KOTRA’s Almaty-based office was set up in 2001, and is now the information representative office for a number of Korean companies, which are given priority information support and assistance in the search of partners and market expansion.
What instruments uses KOTRA for promotion of the Korean machinery and technologies in the market of Kazakhstan?
KOTRA uses several marketing instruments for promotion hi-tech equipment in the market of Kazakhstan. Among them are: marketing research services; organization of Korean Trade missions and Business Forums; branch services; organization of private meetings with Korean companies; preparation of application for Kazakh companies in order to find reliable partner in South Korea; organization of exhibition with participation of Korean companies.
Commercial Section of Korean embassy makes marketing and buyer researches for Korean companies in order to give full information about Kazakhstan markets and find reliable and interested buyers for Korean products.
Managers of KOTRA carry out promotion service for Korean companies that are fixed as branches. The main purpose of this service is to build success business of Korean companies at the territory of Kazakhstan.
Organization of Trade Missions is the every month work for staff where KOTRA is organizing personal negotiations between Korean and Kazakhstan businessmen. The field of possible cooperation is various.
KOTRA office Almaty also organizes forums and conferences with participation of government official for Kazakhstan and Korea.
In particular, we organize KazBuild Exhibition for Korean producers of building materials. This huge event passes every year in Almaty with participation of the most popular companies of the building market from all over the world.
Each company in Kazakhstan that wants to find reliable partner in South Korea at the definite product market can fill in the special form that will be set at web site of KOTRA in Korea. This service is named BOR (Business Opportunity Research).
In what sectors of the Kazakhstan’s economy is the Korean business presented? What projects are of interest?
First of all expansion of companies from Korea to the Kazakh financial market is gaining momentum. The most notable player from Korea, have entered the Kazakh market, is the largest bank in the country – Kookmin, acquiring 30% of Kazakhstan's Bank CenterCredit (BCC) with the prospect of bringing its share in it to control. Another major Korean financial institute – Shinhan Bank also have opened its office in Kazakhstan.Market participants expect output in Kazakhstan had two players from Korea, one of which is Woori Bank.
Investment firms developed the vigorous activity. Among them Daewoo Securities, which has entered into a memorandum of cooperation with Halyk Finance, and Hyundai Securities, which is in finding a partner.In addition, Korean financial company Hanwha Securities is the partner and shareholder of the asset management company Seven Rivers Capital, which works in Kazakhstan financial market.
Despite the growing interest in Kazakhstan by the Korean financial sector, the volume of trade and economic cooperation between our countries is still relatively small.According to official figures, the turnover of Kazakhstan to Korea last year amounted to $843.3 million. In the list of most important trade partners of Kazakhstan Republic of Korea took 31st place in export and 10th in import.The mainexport items of Kazakhstan are – uranium, ferroalloys, rollednon-alloysteel andiron,gold andcopper. Import form Korea mainly comprises electronics, machineryandengineering products.
Total volume of investments from Korea in Kazakhstan's economy as of 1 October 2010 reached $486.5 million, 50% of these investments are concentrated in the construction sector Apple Town, KCC road construction, 32% – in trade and repair of automobiles and household appliances.
Representatives of official bodies of Kazakhstan and business leaders from the private sector welcomed the intensification of the Korean capital in the country, noting among the positive factors in this process of diversification of investments, the inflow of new technologies in the field of finance and construction.