Mr. Choi Seon Gyu, an adviser of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to MNCCI, published a book ‘Opportunities for Penetrating into the Market of the Republic of Korea’ in Mongolian, which is for those who want to learn business opportunities in South Korea and to give them an overview about the country’s market. Through an interview given to our magazine, Mr. Choi expressed his view about the Mongolian economy and a possible way to enhance the economic ties between Mongolia and the Republic of Korea.
- First of all, thank you Mr. Choi for introducing to us your book ‘Opportunities for Penetrating into the Market of the Republic of Korea’. Please tell us about your book.
- Korean market is rapidly changing due to demographic shifts, globalization, etc. The more knowledge you have about the market, the better business opportunities you will have. That is a reason why I wrote this book. In this book, Mongolian readers can find out the useful information of Korean market including trade policy, trade regulations, consumer’s behavior, sales channels and business travel.
- How long have you been working in Mongolia as an adviser? Do you have a plan to write a book about the Mongolian business opportunities for South Korean businessmen?
- About two years and four months have passed since I came to Mongolia. During my stay here, I have noticed the political and economic changes. An IMF package program, especially, is placing much burden on people’s living while contributing to improving national competitiveness. With the successful implementation of the IMF program, foreign businesses will see better opportunities in Mongolia. Regarding another book, I think there would already be the printed materials introducing business opportunities in Mongolia.
- The latest information says South Korean economy is being ranked 8th in the world and the 4th in Asia. How does South Korean business work? Is there any secret?
- Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world in the early 1960s. From that time to 1996, Korea had conducted the consecutive five-year economic development plans. In the process, Korean government adopted outward-looking policy. It was indispensable choice to overcome narrow domestic market. In order to support Korean companies financially and politically, the government implemented the strong industrial policies. Entrepreneurship was another pivotal factor which led Korea to the economic success.
- You observed a need to boost the complementary economic cooperation between our countries. What aspect do you want to underline to strengthen mutual collaboration?
- Korea’s experience and know-how accumulated for last decades will be helpful to the economic development of Mongolia. More than anything else, Mongolia should make every effort to rise up the manufacturing industry which will stimulate the exports of Mongol-made goods to global markets. Without the competitive manufacturer, your country can suffer again from the shortage of foreign-exchange reserves. Mutual exchange on the private and governmental level should be made more frequently than before to strengthen bilateral cooperation.
- The Mongolian economy is considerably small compared to the one of South Korea. What should Mongolia do to turn its economy into more competitive one?
- Once again, I would like to emphasize the importance of the manufacturing industry. Let me take an example. Switzerland is a landlocked country like Mongolia. The country with a small land is well known for tourism. But many people do not pay attention to it that the country ranks the 1st in the manufacturing competitiveness in the world. The nation has 15 world-famous companies according to the business magazine ‘Fortune’. Advanced countries have much in common in that they have lots of companies and big companies.
Mongolia should place top priority on creating as many startups as possible. Many of the countries has limited capacities in terms of manpower and financing. Economic development depends on how efficiently a country can utilize the limited resources.
- Nowadays, commercial activities are being done online. How about your advice for businessmen who advertise their products online?
- There are many well-known websites. The advertisement on those websites is very expensive. Online advertisement is not as effective as you are expecting. I would like to say that quality-good products can be the best advertisement.
- How do you see the present and future development of Mongolia’s SMEs. What should Mongolian SMEs do to catch up with the South Korean ones?
- In almost all countries, SMEs are playing a vital role in their economies. Much of jobs are provided by SMEs. Despite their contributions to the economy, SMEs are always showing its weakness in recruiting good human resources and financing. That is why Mongolia should set up the industrial policy for assisting its SMEs. I think there should be a specialized bank which will give low-interest loans to SMEs.
- Our country is negotiating to establish the economic partnership agreements with a couple of countries. In light of Korea’s experiences of the establishment of FTAs (other name of EPA), what is that Mongolia should keep in mind?
- I think the domestic market should open step by step. The basic industries in particular should be protected until their competitive edge can be obtained.
Fortunately, Mongolia and Korea already began joint study for the establishment of EPA. Korea’s experience of establishing FTAs with 52 countries will offer guidelines for establishing EPAs.
Generally speaking, FTA will bring your country the technology transfer as well as the expanded trade volume. Through the EPAs with foreign countries, Mongolia should get the opportunity to level up its industrial competitiveness by inducing high technology.
- You used to work at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). Please talk about functions and activities of the KCCI and brief about the best experience for other national chambers.
- Like MNCCI, the KCCI is not only advocating the interests of Korean businesses but also playing a role as a bridge between government and business community. KCCI is positively engaged in policy recommendations. It is also doing the activities to encourage business sentiment. In addition, KCCI is supplying skilled workers to member companies by operating eight job training centers across the country.
Source: Invest Pro Mongolia #4 (2017)