E-commerce a key to advancing to Latin America
The best business model overcoming geographical limits is e-commerce. During President Park Geun-hye’s Central and South American tour, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) signed MOUs with e-commerce associations and online shopping malls of the countries she visited in order to help Korean companies move into their markets and enhance partnership in online distribution networks. The Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce, Colombia’s biggest online shopping mall, Linio, the Santiago Chamber of Commerce in Chile, and Brazil’s biggest home shopping company, Polishop, had high hopes for quality Korean products. We hope the MOUs signed during the presidential tour could be a catalyst to boost trade and create good business models that overcome the limits of geographical distance.
Countries in Central and South America have wide gap between the rich and the poor and lack social infrastructure, so Korean companies have an edge in medical, healthcare and ICT fields. KOTRA and Korea Health Industry Development Institute signed an MOU with Instituto Vital Brazil, the second-largest state-run pharmaceutical institute, preparing bases for bio and pharmaceutical fields. Moreover, the transit card project and the wirelessly charged electric bus system in Medellin, the second-largest city in Colombia, will be a precedent of importing Korea’s advanced ICT and infrastructure technology to a high-value-added industry.
These outcomes were made possible by one-on-one business consultation sessions. The consultation session was first introduced during the Middle Eastern tour, and it proved effective once again. The one-on-one consultation seems to be perceived as a “symbol of trust” for local clients. Generally, attendance rate of the Central and South American clients is about 70 percent, but only a handful did not make this consultation session. As the companies are considered to be guaranteed by the president, clients from nearby countries, such as Ecuador and Venezuela, came and signed contracts.
The one-on-one consultation sessions held in the four countries during the presidential tour ended in a great success. But the progress is more important. For the seeds planted at the consultation session to bear fruits and flowers, thorough review and execution are necessary. KOTRA is busy discussing follow-up projects with the heads of 14 regional branches in Central and South America.
by Kim Jae-hong, CEO of Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA)