Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation (aT) will set up an ASEAN headquarters in Vietnam in July to control its operations in ASEAN countries, including Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.
The company also plans to establish a branch office in Ho Chi Minh City in addition to the existing Hanoi branch, stepping up its foray in Vietnam.
"In order to expand agri-food export and strengthen marketing in ASEAN countries such as Vietnam, which has emerged as a new export market for Korea, we plan to establish an ASEAN headquarters to be headed by a director by July,” said Lee Byung-ho, president of the state-run corporation.
The ASEAN headquarters is expected to be located in Vietnam and is the second regional headquarters after the one set up in China. The director of the ASEAN headquarters will manage the Hanoi branch and the new Ho Chi Minh branch in Vietnam, monitor market situations in neighboring countries such as Thailand, and undertake direct export activities for such markets.
Lee underscored the strategic value of the Southeast Asian region for exports of Korean agri-food products. The ASEAN market is a mega market with the third largest population and the sixth highest GDP in the world. It also has very high growth potential as young people under 40 years of age account for 66% of the population in the region.
"By establishing the ASEAN headquarters, we will station officials in the region and focus on new star products such as strawberries, pears, sweet persimmons, other fresh fruits, chicken, health foods and processed rice products," Lee said.
"We plan to strengthen our network with major retailers in the ASEAN countries and actively support the opening of Korean foodstuff PR centers in local distribution channels such as online and home shopping,” Lee said. “We will also invite MDs from major online shopping malls to Korea and hold one-on-one business meetings with Korean export companies."
aT also announced a plan to aggressively expand export activities for Korean agri-food products targeting major export regions such as Japan and China starting with the K-Food Fair in Hanoi.
"In the Hanoi event, the popular idol group Highlight and Park Hwang-seo, Korean head coach of the Vietnamese National Football Team who has risen as a national hero among the Vietnamese people, joined us to create a K-Food boom in Vietnam,” Lee said. “We will do our best to make Korea's agricultural exports move up another notch through K-Food events."