Kotra: Korea faces fierce rivalries in China trade

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Kotra: Korea faces fierce rivalries in China trade

Korean companies need to enhance the price competitiveness of their exports to China to survive in the highly competitive market, the nation’s trade and investment promoting agency said Friday.

According to a survey by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency of 105 marketing directors at 17 trade offices operated by the agency in China, the consumer market in the populous country has grown more competitive and Korean companies need a better understanding of the market.

Increased competition was spurred by a jump in supply over demand as more countries, such as Malaysia and Thailand, are targeting China as an export market and Chinese companies have grown stronger, the marketing directors said in the survey.

“Chinese consumers have become more rational,” Kotra said in a statement. “The mere expectation they had for import products are now gone and they look closely over the quality and price of the products.”

While Korea is the largest exporter to China, 40 percent of survey participants said the rank may overturned within two years.

Another 29 percent forecast the turnover will happen within five. Korea has been the largest exporter to China since 2013.

The marketing directors picked Japan as the biggest competitor, followed by Europe, the United States and Taiwan.

An increasing number of Chinese tourists have been visiting Japan. Japanese companies also have a competitive edge in high product quality and safety, though prices are relatively high, according to Kotra.

Survey participants advised Korean firms to keep prices affordable.

Korea is a strong exporter of consumer goods, entertainment content, service and parts. The major strength of Korean products is design and performance.

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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