Gov’t supports SME exportersIn a bid to improve exports, the government will help small- and medium-sized companies enter overseas markets.
The Ministry of SMEs and Startups said Wednesday that it will establish a joint logistics center, an online logistics platform and propose a start-up-focused international organization with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) as part of a wider effort to develop exports via the internet.
Joint infrastructure is expected to reduce costs, while cooperation with Asean countries will help companies enter markets overseas.
The government aims to help 15,000 companies focus their businesses toward exports through online business support. It will also provide direct support of over 40 billion won ($34.2 million) annually for an additional 5,000 companies across the country, handpicked by regional governments.
The announcement comes amid declining exports and sluggish performance by small- and medium-sized export businesses.
The Bank of Korea said Wednesday that Korea’s trade surplus for the first quarter was $11.3 billion, the lowest in over six years.
Meanwhile, over 50 percent of exports from small- and medium-sized businesses last year were made by the largest 2.3 percent, indicating a disparity between the companies.
The government is hoping that fostering the fast-growing online export market will improve the situation.
According to the SME Ministry, exports from domestic businesses using online sales channels was 3.58 trillion won last year compared to 1.26 trillion won in 2015.
Only 12.4 percent of small- and medium-sized companies use online systems for exports.
“This measure […] analyzes the past faults in export policies and reorganizes support systems and infrastructure to keep up with the times,” said Park Young-sun, SME minister.
“By establishing an international organization, among other measures, we will develop small- and medium-sized businesses into global companies,” Park added.
The plan includes creating an additional 300-billion-won fund to support overseas investment in local start-ups.
The government emphasized focus on emerging markets, such as Vietnam, Thailand and Russia.
It said it will expand Korean cultural content events with the Culture Ministry. The government also plans to support businesses in selling their products through overseas TV shopping channels owned by Korean companies, such as CJ O Shopping, in Thailand and Vietnam.
BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [firstname.lastname@example.org]