South Korea's state-run trade promotion agency will increase efforts to help local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) enter overseas markets, its chief said Tuesday.
In a meeting with reporters, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) President Hong Suk-woo stressed the country's economic future rested on how well smaller companies performed abroad.
South Korea relies heavily on trade for its growth with large conglomerates such as Samsung Electronics Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. steadily increasing their global market presence.
Despite such gains, there have been steady calls for SMEs to go abroad and carve out market share that can help them become bigger economic players. SMEs are critical for sustainable growth because they hire most of the workforce and provide critical parts and services to big businesses.
"KOTRA wants to provide support so at least 600 SMEs can make inroads into overseas market in 2012, up from around 480 no probat present," he said.
He said each KOTRA employee will be required to provide expert advice and market data to at least five SMEs to ensure they can succeed in overseas markets.
Hong also said that more effort will be made to build up the agency's capabilities in the emerging markets of Latin America, Africa and Central Asia, which promise the most growth for SMEs.
The official said KOTRA plans to help smaller companies form business tie-ups with globally competitive foreign businesses that can provide them with steady contracts.
"KOTRA currently maintains working ties with around 150 large foreign companies that could become partners with South Koreans SMEs, but the number will be doubled by 2013," he said.