Soon Loo, CEO of Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) and Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Rosli Bin Sabtu, Brunei Darussalam Ambassador to Korea visited Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy and Innovation (GCCEI), a public accelerator on April 11.
The Bruneian delegation met with related persons in GCCEI, KTB Solution and Paycok, sharing information on the Korean startup landscape at the building of GCCEI in Pangyo, Gyeongi Province on the same day.
Brunei Darussalam has been doing business collaboration with KTB Solution and Paycock. The two Korean fintech companies, which are under acceleration by GCCEI, have been involved in establishing US$30 million worth fintech matching fund between Korea and Brunei Darussalam, while trying to set up a fintech innovation center in the South Eastern country.
At the meeting, Soon Loo said that they hope to expand the collaboration even further. He also explained the benefits of doing business in Brunei Darussalam which is one of the four countries which can issue Halal certificates through strict inspections. Halal, which means “permissible,” is applied not only to food but also to other consumer products like cosmetics, as it is considered suitable to Islamic law. Soon emphasized that the Muslims’ demand for safer, more eco-friendly and more hygienic products is a lot bigger than many non-Muslims may think.
Korean companies would be able to penetrate other Islamic markets through Brunei Halal, since Brunei National Halal certification has a great reputation for its stringent inspection processes, Soon said. In addition, he argued that the small 4.2million population of Brunei Darussalam may not seem very attractive, but due to the very reason, Brunei market is a perfect test bed to enter into any other Islamic markets, for instance, Indonesia, Malaysia, and countries in the Middle East.
After visiting GCCEI and Pangyo Technovalley, a Korean Silicon Valley, Soon Loo said "It's very impressive to see Technovalley and GCCEI. Brunei Darussalam is a small country but we have a strong economy with US$31,555 GDP per capita, not having experienced even once natural disasters with its stable pristine natural environment. Brunei Darussalam has already been collaborating with GCCEI, and we would like to go as far as we can go with other related organizations also. We want to build “Smart Nation” by working together with high-tech country Korea."
“Brunei Darussalam is such a good business environment with US$13.2 billion GDP coming from oil & gas (56%), government services (17%), and private sector (27%),” Soon said, adding, “Three languages are spoken - Malay, English and Chinese. The climate is quite tropical, with temperature ranging from 23~32 degrees Celsius. No taxes on personal income, payroll, goods and services, and capital gains.”
David Sehyeon Baek, director of global cooperation at GCCEI, said, “GCCEI will continue to try to find innovative companies in Korea and connect them to Brunei Darussalam,” adding, "The global Halal industry is worth US$3.6 trillion. Korean companies could have profitable business opportunities in Islamic countries through Brunei strict Halal certification.”