Bandar Seri Begawan - The Korea Business Forum hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Brunei Darussalam yesterday at the Radisson Hotel in the capital saw renowned Korean companies giving presentations based on their experiences of conducting business in Korea.
The guest of honour at the forum was Dato Paduka Awg Hj Ali bin Hj Apong, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and Chairman of the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), who pointed out that promoting growth among Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is one of the many roles of the BEDB.
He added that growth means businesses should not be stagnant by remaining as a small or medium-sized business, but to go through the stages of growth from small to medium, then to large, and if possible, achieve the final stage of growth by becoming an international player.
Currently, most SMEs in Brunei are focussing on the trade and supply of services and products to Shell and the government - a practice that has been ongoing for the past decade, he said.
"SMEs must be encouraged to venture into export-oriented activities, produce products and provide services locally, take steps to make Brunei a platform for exports to other countries.
"The current mode of trade - purchasing supplies for Shell from other countries and importing furniture to be sold in the domestic market - makes it hard for businesses to grow if that is all they focus on," he added.
Dato Paduka Hj Ali further said that the only way to grow is by venturing into export-oriented businesses the way Korean businesses have, focussing on the mass exportation of foods, pharmaceuticals and high-level technology, as well as its associated components.
"I hope you fully understand what BEDB is trying to do, and that BEDB is willing to have a dialogue with you, if you are interested to go beyond what you are doing today"
The Korean Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam, Choi Byung Koo in his welcoming remarks said that it is also the expectation of Korea that businesses can find more opportunities between both nations.
He added that currently, the business network between Korea and Brunei is not significant, which is one of the reasons why the embassy hosted the forum.
"The Government of Brunei has been em-phasising the development of local businesses, capacity-building, and the promotion of SMEs. Korea would like to contribute to the success of this policy"
The Jindo Company, led by Dato Murni, is an example of being able to identify a good area of cooperation between both countries.
"Please do explore any business opportunity in Korea. There are good chances of success and today's forum will be the first step towards achieving that end," he added.
Dato Murni touched on the developing shrimp-cultivation business, discussing key success factors, their 'win-win' strategy, and on the company's operational flowchart.
In other presentations, Miss Kim of Landevel touched on agriculture and cosmetics; Prof Hwangbo of KAIST talked about the importance of research and development towards laying a foundation for economic diversification; Lee Gun Woo of Korea Telecom discussed Information Technology; and Dr Jeon of Korean Express Highway covered the field of construction.
Other presentations were delivered by KOTRA (Trade with Korea) and the Korea International Trade Association (Korea as a world trading power).
Later in the afternoon, the forum proceeded with business consultations between industrial representatives and local participants who comprised corporate individuals and entrepreneurs.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin