As all fairs around the world has been shut down due to the pandemic of COVID-19, the small/medium companies of Korea have lost most of the chances to introduce their products and meet with the buyers. Unlike the larger companies with overseas branches and sales networks, small/medium companies are blocked by the ‘export wall’ built up by COVID-19.
Following announcement covered by Hankyung.com, Seoul and Seoul Business Agency (SBA), the small/medium business supporting agency affiliated to Seoul, are planning to open ‘Trade On,’ the online/offline integrated platform for exporters to relieve the hardships of small/medium exporters and lay a foundation for sustainable support for them. It opened temporarily in the beginning of December and about 100 companies have registered with the ‘Trade On’ platform so far.
‘Trade On (tradeon.kr)’ is a B2B platform that integrates the DB of small/medium companies in Korea and the potential buyers overseas to boost the companies’ active exports abroad. It is currently open for testing and its services and DB will continue to be updated.
When buyers log onto Trade On, they can visit the virtual booths of various companies as if attending a fair. They can check their major products, company profiles, and brochures and even chat with the representatives, start a video conference, or send inquiries. The small/medium businesses on Trade On can also take advantage of the video conference systems at SBA Global Marketing Center in Deungchon-dong, Seoul.
‘Trade On’ is an innovative platform that provides everything small/medium companies need when preparing for and promoting exports, including online booths, online business matching (meetings), advisory services, and export-related seminars. The offline infrastructure for video conferences and advisory services can be booked and scheduled by any small/medium business on the online platform. SBA is planning to continue supporting exports through the platform.
Other export platforms for small/medium businesses provide video conference systems for buyers overseas, whereas ‘Trade On’ allows the local businesses to request video conferences with buyers overseas. They can approach the registered buyers themselves rather than simply waiting for the buyers to visit their websites. Also, their new products registered on the platform are automatically exposed to the interested buyers based on the interested areas selected by buyers and small/medium businesses upon signup. Not only that, buyers are invited to join the platform based on the HS Code and actual importation records of each item provided by 20 customs offices around the world for the local credit rating companies and the same data can also be used to identify the buyers for the local companies to sort out invalid inquiries. The two-way interaction between buyers and exporters is expected to activate inquiries and generate profit.
The products registered with ‘Trade On’ are largely classified into five categories: IT/Electronics, Medical/Bio, foods, beauty, and Lifestyle. The categories have been expanded beyond the everyday commodities for more small/medium exporters to join.
Participating companies include ‘Clair,’ an everyday appliance brand, ‘ABKO,’ the No. 1 gaming gear provider in Korea, ‘SN Fashion Group’ of Sonyunara for the Millennial generation, ‘Kotsam,’ a traditional tea exporter with No. 1 market share for honey Yuzu tea in the world, and ‘GOSHEN Korea’ that launched a beauty brand ‘Quret’ to win the 20 Million Export Tower on the Trade Day last year.
“Many small/medium businesses are having difficulties with exports due to recent re-spread of COVID-19,” said Kim Yong-sang, the head of SBA Marketing Headquarters. “The new ‘Trade On’ is expected to introduce the competitive products of local small/medium exporters and explore the export channels in the ‘non-contact’ manner for the post-COVID-19 era.”