KDB, Naver come to the aid of Dongdaemun
The Korea Development Bank (KDB) and Naver signed a partnership on Monday to help the Dongdaemun fashion industry by supporting digitalization of the area's supply chain.
Seoul's famed wholesale and retail fashion district has been struggling with competition from cheap Chinese goods and a slump in visitors due to the pandemic.
The state-run bank said it and Naver will help upgrade fulfillment processes in the district -- from design through manufacturing, sales, delivery and after sales services -- by applying digital technologies. Many retailers in Dongdaemun are dependent on cash payments and orders on phones despite the development of e-commerce.
KDB and Naver will make joint investments into start-ups with ideas for upgrading fulfillment systems in the fashion industry.
The state-run bank will offer investment and loans to start-ups cooperating with Naver on the project. The bank will also offer opportunities for Naver-recommended start-ups to participate in KDB NextRound, an online platform that helps match companies and investors.
Naver will help fashion retailers in Dongdaemun expand overseas through the tech giant's own "smart store" online commerce platform. Naver is preparing to launch the smart store service in Japan.
In April, the KDB invested 10 billion won ($8.8 million) in Brandi, a start-up founded in 2016 that developed an online platform that links sellers and buyers of Dongdaemun's fashion products. Brandi also takes care of sales, delivery and customer service for small fashion retailers in Dongdaemun.
Naver invested 10 billion won in Brandi and its affiliates last September.
"We hope Dongdaemun could become a smart fashion cluster with Brandi's top notch logistics system and Naver's global sales platform," the KDB said in a statement Monday.
BY KIM JEE-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]