South Korea has been at the forefront of smartphone penetration (the world’s highest at more than 100%) and super-fast long-term evolution (LTE) infrastructure. This basis has enabled the country to rapidly build strong e-commerce and IOT-related industries that are increasingly competing in the global market. The country is also leading the way in developing 5G technologies, which will be key to supporting higher network speeds and the growing number of devices required to fully realize the ‘era of IOT’.

Impact of the EU-Korea FTA

Implemented in July 2011, the EU-Korea FTA will lead to the removal of 97% of all tariffs for UK exporters. The FTA contains provisions on services, public procurement, intellectual property (IP) and sustainable development as well as the liberalization of goods tariffs. The FTA has ushered in enhanced protection for IP rights and improved copyright regulations.

Potential Opportunities

  • South Korea’s super-fast network infrastructure and high smartphone penetration offer opportunities for network infrastructure-related technology solution providers, smartphone app developers, and IOT technology developers and service providers

  • South Korea has the seventh largest e-commerce market in the APAC region, worth some GBP 25bn in 2015

  • Mobile games represented more than 90% of app revenue in South Korea’s Google Play store in 2015

  • Sales of IOT-related products and services reached GBP 2.75bn in 2015, with smart home and healthcare service areas taking up a 31% share

Case Study: Top UK Provider of Call-Blocker Technology

The Brief

A top UK provider of call-blocker technology engaged the BCCK with reaching out to leading mobile handset manufacturers in Korea with the aim of licensing its technology on a global scale.

The Approach

The BCCK team drew up an eight-week initiative to approach key decision-makers in Korea’s leading mobile handset manufacturers. Understanding the difficulties of approaching large conglomerates in Korea, the team setup meetings with decision-makers across several divisions deemed relevant in each company.

The Outcome

We discovered that there was interest in the technology from several departments in the Korean companies and arranged a visit for the UK company to present its proposition to relevant Korean decision-makers in person. Our team’s support during the visit allowed the company to present its value proposition in both Korean and English, and provided a full report after the visit with key next actions and recommendations on tactics and strategy to ensure continued interaction with the manufacturers.

Sector Specialist

Taewon Um

Director, Trade Services

Taewon Um is the Director of the BCCK’s Trade Services team. Taewon has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Prior to joining the BCCK, Taewon worked with a Korean government body to attract FDI and helped sign deals with major international healthcare institutions. Taewon also worked at the World Bank and the Embassy of Korea in Washington DC. Whilst at the BCCK, Taewon has worked with companies across a broad range of sectors including financial services and industrial materials amongst others. His past clients in the ICT space includes Centroid Motion Capture, trueCall, tech21 and Payload Studios.  LinkedIn

Email: taewon.um@bcck.or.kr


“G-Star 2016 was Centroid’s first gaming conference in Korea and has now set the standard for future visits. As well as a great gaming community coming together from all around the globe, what really made our participation such a success was the support of the BCCK. On the business side of the trip, the BCCK arranged everything down to the smallest detail. It genuinely felt that the BCCK team were there for all the visiting British companies, 24/7.”

– Philip Stilgoe, CEO / Producer, Centroid Motion Capture

Some Companies Supported

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