LA Times Asia Journal is a private economic ambassador who promotes start-ups and technology-savvy Korean companies to the global market

Korea’s total exports in 2019 amounted to $542.41 billion. In terms of global trade volume, it has maintained ninth place for seven consecutive years since 2013. Among the 20 major export items in Korea, 12 items including ships (18.0%), semiconductors (7.9%), agricultural and fisheries (6.2%), robots (6.0%), automobiles (5.1%), cosmetics (4.8%), secondary batteries (3.0%), petroleum chemicals (2.0%), plastic products (1.5%), home appliances (1.1%), and precision chemical raw materials (0.9%).


Despite the decline in exports last year, small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) are showing strong performance. The portion of exports to small and medium-sized enterprises stood at 18.8 percent as of the end of October 2019, up 1.4 percentage points from a year earlier. The number of SMEs which exported their products during the same period also increased by 1,301 to 89,596 during the same period.


As the heavy reliance on large companies for Korean exports has been pointed out as a problem, the diversification of export items and strong exports of SMEs can be said to be a positive sign of the Korean economy. The diversification of export items for SMEs is somewhat derived from the government-led support for start-ups and SMEs.


In fact, the leading role of Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), a government public agency that supports the export of Korean goods overseas, has been unrivaled. However, as the global market is becoming more and more divided by region, gender and age, KOTRA, a large dinosaur-like organization, cannot be the only answer anymore. This is why the NKP (Network of K-Product), which is LA Times Asia Journal’s newly launched project, needs to play a role as a goodwill ambassador for the private economy.


LA Times Asia Journal will further solidify its global matching partnership among companies based on the know-how accumulated by having served as a goodwill ambassador for Korean SMEs for global markets over the past decade. Furthermore, by cementing ties with partner companies, LA Times Asia Journal will strengthen its publicity efforts for companies which are small but highly skilled companies.


To that end, LA Times Asia Journal has launched a corporate promotion through collaboration with the Center for Creative Economy and Innovation (CCEI), which was established by the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Startups (MSS). The CCEI was established in 2014 and currently operated by 19 centers in metropolitan cities and provinces across the country, supporting the settlement of regional-based start-ups, success, and export strategies of small and medium-sized companies overseas. Currently, the Center for Creative Economy & Innovation provides services to start-ups such as attracting investment and supporting them to enter the global market through consultation and mentoring and linkage with related agency programs.


The LA Times Asia Journal supported the promotion of seven promising startups and SMEs recommended by the Chungbuk Center for Creative Economy and Innovation Center, Gyeonggi Center, and Seoul Center as a series of articles from August to October to strengthen the promotion of Korean startups and SMEs for the global market. (see below)


▶Introduction of the Chungbuk Center for Creative Economy Innovation in August 2020

▶Introduction of the Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy & Innovation September 2020

▶Introduction of the Seoul Center for Creative Economy & Innovation in October 2020


Corporate officials who want to know more about the activities of the Network of K-Product (NKP), a private economic ambassador who has long been prepared and promoted by the LA Times Asia Journal, can contact e-mail or telephone at any time. Of course, anyone can subscribe to the e-newsletter.


▶ Network of K-Product (NKP) e news letter

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We live in a time when the business environment is not as easy as ever due to the Coronavirus. However, there are certainly start-ups and companies that are growing using the crisis as an opportunity. If public institutions play the role of institutions and private-level effects are done on their own, a new paradigm will come when crises become opportunities.


Kayla Hong

Asia Journal

(Los Angeles Times Advertising Supplement)