Market entry: Assisted by mentors, start-ups validate and optimise their business strategy to accelerate their entry into the South Korean market. Mentors include government officials, IP professionals, accelerators and investors.
Network: In South Korea, finding the right connections and partners is challenging and time-consuming. The camp overcomes this barrier by providing personalised access to the local entrepreneurial network. In Asian society, which is very hierarchical, connections facilitated through governmental organisations are particularly valued.
Product validation: Business practices and entry regulations in Asian markets differ from European markets. Local connections propel the product adoption and create opportunities for partnerships, trials and pilot tests.
Follow-up: After the camp, follow-up is guaranteed by the Science and Technology Office in Seoul part of the Swissnex network. Support for international projects between Switzerland and South Korea is encouraged, and follow-up with the right partners is ensured.
Why expand into South Korea?
South Korea is one of the most developed countries in Asia. It is a fast-growing and dynamic country, boasting one of the fastest economic developments in history. Deeply rooted by a strong commitment to research and development , South Korea has evolved to a global benchmark for innovation an ideal partner for bilateral R&D cooperation and a prime destination for Swiss start-ups.
What to expect on site?
South Korea’s history and rapid development reveal its dynamic and business-oriented culture. South Korean companies and organisations are open to taking risks. In addition to funding opportunities, a Swiss start-up arriving in South Korea finds a market of more than 50 million people seeking for the latest trends in technology. You can count on fast feedback and exchange, expert R&D partners and high-quality manufacturing. Due to its location, South Korea is also an ideal distribution centre for the whole of East Asia.
What is the state of innovation?
The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 4.0 ranks South Korea 1st in information and communication technology (ICT). The high penetration of ICT has also disrupted traditional services and sectors. New technologies in education, for example, are booming. On the other hand, Korea has an incredible infrastructure, culture, and penetration of VR and AR games and technologies. Government policy encourages deep tech and digital health development, so South Korea offers an excellent infrastructure for testing new products and innovative services on a wide range of patients. Foreign companies are welcome to join the smart hospital cluster and can collaborate on the use of the 5G network, AI, AR and robotics. Other areas of interest are beauty, nutrition and sustainability.
How easy is it to find qualified employees and partners?
South Korea’s education system is very competitive. An extremely difficult selection process provides access to the best higher education institutions, which is crucial for future career development. The recruitment of high-level workers is possible and is ideal for Swiss start-ups who wish to establish a local subsidiary. Engineers, scientists, ICT experts, doctors and manufacturers are the most sought after and competition for jobs is strong. However, South Koreans are keen to work for foreign companies, especially Western ones, and to learn about international business cultures. The top three characteristics of South Korean employees are confidence, endurance and availability.
What are the advantages of South Korea?
With their brand image, products from South Korea easily penetrate markets in Asia and the Middle East, making the country a perfect hub for further expansion. Openness and curiosity about international products and opportunities characterise South Koreans, who are quick to learn and adopt new trends. In one of the safest countries in the world, it is possible to recruit highly qualified and trusted employees and gain access to manufacturing expertise. Finally, this business and investment-oriented culture opens the door to financing opportunities, frank and rapid feedback, and cooperation.
What opportunities does Seoul offer?
The capital of South Korea is home to nearly 30’000 start-ups. This geographic concentration plays an important role in the early phases of networking and later during follow-up, making the process very efficient and facilitating connections with key decision makers and organisations.
What are the challenges?
The business cultures in Asia differ from Europe. It is thus crucial to be aware of this into account when engaging in dialogue with Korean counterparts. Language barriers can also be discouraging at first when discovering a new context. Geographic distance can also make connections slower and require constant monitoring.
Last modification 08.12.2022