I recently attended a webinar entitled ‘Singapore-Korea Business Webinar: Opportunities arising from the Korean New Deal,’ hosted by the Singapore Business Federation, during which areas of potential collaboration between the two countries were discussed.
The Korean New Deal, announced in July 2020, is a national development plan designed to support South Korea’s economic recovery from Covid-19. It envisages a total investment of 160 trillion won (US$135 billion) in the economy by 2025, with a particular focus on the country’s digital and ‘green’ sectors.
During the webinar, Seung-Kwan Shin, a Senior Executive Managing Director at the Korea International Trade Association, told the audience that he considers Singapore to be ‘the Silicon Valley of Asia.’ Singapore is considered an attractive economic hub in ASEAN and is of interest to South Korean investors, he said. The South Korean government has created a new set of policies that strengthen co-operation in ASEAN, including ones in Singapore. In 2020, the value of Singapore investments into South Korea was US$16.8 billion.
Meanwhile, Andrew Lim, the Chief Financial Officer of Gushcloud International, a Singapore-based entertainment agency, explained that influencers are disrupting both the e-commerce and entertainment industries, and that Asia – including South Korea – is the global epicentre of digital transformation. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, digital transformation in Asia has accelerated by five years, he said. The influencer market has been growing by 30% annually with South Korea being the hot spot.
There’s demand for all kinds of products, such as beauty and fashion merchandise, he noted. ‘Even in the last year, live commerce blew up in South Korea. The internet infrastructure is there, and the middle class is growing. Future consumers are expanding,’ he added.
The message during the webinar was succinct and clear: the digital economy is thriving, and South Korea is a catalyst for this. The country presents myriad opportunities for Singapore businesses.