Small & medium Business Corporation (SBC) is extending tailor-made export support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them actively advance into overseas markets, an executive of the corporation said.
"SBC is offering online and offline export support programs according to export growth stages for SMEs through an 'online export self-diagnosis system' for their active advancement into foreign countries," said Jang Duk-bok, General Manager of the Marketing Assistance Department of the SBC.
Under the new export support program, SBC provides SMEs preparing for exports with assistance for the construction of a homepage in foreign languages and in-depth surveys on overseas markets.
"SMEs at an initial stage of exports can get such support as dispatching their officials to overseas exhibitions, joining of a trade mission, and search engine marketing from SBC," he explained.
Meanwhile, SBC extends support such as an export incubator program and domestic sourcing assistance for global buyers to SMEs. SMEs which have entered an export mature stage, can receive such support as assistance for fostering a global brand and advancement into overseas procurement markets from SBC.
Strengthening of specialized overseas marketing projects
"In 2011, SBC is concentrating its efforts on exploring overseas markets for specialized items, rather than dispatching a general trade mission or participating in overseas exhibitions, as part of its strategy to bolster specialized overseas marketing projects," said Jang.
Among the specialized export items are marine equipment produced in Busan and Ulsan; bio products in Gyeongsangbuk-do and Gangwon-do as well as agricultural and fishery goods in Jeollanam-do and Chungcheongnam-do. The export target markets of domestic machines are in Southeast Asia and East Europe, automobiles in the U.S., China and Germany, and shipbuilding in China and Vietnam.
"In the meantime, SBC with affluent experiences of supporting SMEs and 23 domestic regional offshoots, concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with KOTRA, armed with global networks, to actively support overseas marketing activities of SMEs in July 2010," he said.
"In 2011, the two agencies will hold joint explanatory meetings over the four occasions in Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju and Busan," said Jang.
SBC hopes to organize or participate in a total of 252 export promotion events this year, including 74 overseas exhibitions, 126 dispatch of trade missions, 11 export consultation meetings, and 41 regional specialized marketing events.
"By making the best use of the overseas networks of its subsidiary, Small Business Distribution Center (SBDC), we are also positively supporting SMEs' advancement into overseas distribution networks," he said, adding that SBDC has 50 overseas networks in 16 countries, including QVC and Walmart of the U.S., RTL of Germany, and Honam TV of China.
Global marketing assistance
As part of its efforts to accelerate SMEs' exports, SBC is offering a variety of services suitable for the e-trade environment to SMEs facing difficulties in overseas PR activities and exploration of foreign markets.
"In 2011, SBC plans to help some 2,000 SMEs design their product homepages by processing their production information to their buyers' tastes. It will also offer search engine marketing assistance to 120 SMEs to help their product information get listed at the top of world-famous search engines, including Google and Yahoo," said Jang.
In addition, SBC is supporting roughly 2,000 SMEs this year through PR marketing activities, including a buyers' experience team, registration of global B2B, and social network service (SNS) marketing.
"We are also operating the B2B transaction-centered Gobizkorea site (www.gobizkorea.com) to promote products of domestic SMEs overseas. Related to this, SBC has been carrying out regular online marketing education programs for SMEs," he commented.
To activate the export of domestic goods, SBC is also carrying out domestic sourcing activities for global buyers, including the introduction of domestic SMEs to foreign buyers and export consultation meetings.
"In 2011, we will match 1,200 domestic SMEs to global buyers and provide foreign buyers visiting Korea a chance to meet CEOs of SMEs with such services as traffic, interpretation and other trade-related services. In addition, we will offer some 150 Korean-made products for experience and feedback to global buyers," he said.
It's worth noting that SBC is also actively propelling the HIT 500 project to help SMEs explore export markets by utilizing online marketing between consumers and producers. Jang Duk-bok said, "In line with this, we will extend various support to including the design of a HIT product homepage, suggestions of a method to improve quality of products by a consumer appraisal team, and organization of a HIT product exhibition."
Success stories of SBC's marketing assistance
Gasungpak was established in 1992 as a manufacturer of packing machines. In the initial stage, it focused on trade, but developed and manufactured packing machines later for export.
To attack the overseas market, Gasungpak actively used overseas exhibitions and trade missions, manufactured a multilingual homepage in Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese, and placed its first priority on overseas marketing through an electronic catalog.
"Thanks to such strenuous efforts, Gasungpak enjoyed a 70 percent hike in its exports in 2010 to record US$ 400,000 from US$ 230,000 in 2009. It was a surprising development," Jang said.
Steamjet is the manufacturer of environment-friendly steam car washers, based on its advanced technology power. However, the company faced many difficulties in promoting exports and marketing activities due to the shortage of funds and a strategic approach.
"Thanks to the SBC's search engine marketing support project however, its exports increased at a rapid pace as its products were listed near the top pages of global portal sites and the number of inquiries over the company's product soared 3 times," Jang said. Steamjet is now seeking to diversify its products to steam cleaners for industrial use in a bid to accelerate exports further.