In order to promote the exports of Korean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which have been sluggish for some time due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, KOTRA is strengthening its online marketing efforts by focusing on contactless channels. As a government agency, KOTRA has always held economy-themed events involving overseas trips and official visits of high-ranking government officials ‒ but since 2020, it has established and is operating the “Korea Business Partnership Online Expo,” instead of the economic diplomacy programs that were suspended or delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Business Partnership Online Expo is an online virtual exhibition hall where foreign buyers can browse and trade products registered by Korean sellers. The channel is provided through “Buy Korea,” an online B2B platform provided by KOTRA. Korean companies may post comprehensive product information such as product photos, videos, product descriptions, catalogs, certifications, and patent information on the online exhibition hall; and potential buyers may send purchase offers and request video meetings. The Buy Korea platform supports a one-stop transaction process, so if a buyer wants to purchase any product displayed thereon, it can make the payment at the exhibition hall right away and receive the product.
Currently, a total of 1,132 products of 270 companies that participated in KOTRA’s economic events involving trips and visits are registered on the Business Partnership Online Expo; and their categories range widely from beauty and personal care, to health and medical services, and to machinery and heavy equipment. KOTRA plans to expand its support and promotion so that more companies can easily utilize the Business Partnership Online Expo.
The online exhibition hall program is one of the representative contactless marketing programs of KOTRA that can be employed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are other online exhibition hall programs currently in service besides the Business Partnership Online Expo, including the Consumer Goods and the Anti COVID-19 Products.
The participating companies are expected to benefit from the “Team Korea” brand, including increased credibility and awareness, thanks to the Korea brand power that has been recently strengthened by the Korean government’s successful efforts to counter the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, including through “K-Prevention.” It is hoped that that the online exhibition hall programs will help both foreign and domestic companies find successful business opportunities and eventually overcome the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
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