Global Project Plaza 2017 provides a timely boost for
Korea’s reputation as a construction powerhouse
What do Marina Bay Sands,
Keangnam Hanoi Land-
mark Tower and Telekom
Malaysia have in com-
mon? Aside from being the most iconic
landmarks in Asia, these famous buildings were all constructed by South
Korean companies. As such, Korean
companies have long been known for
their building prowess, but with orders for
overseas construction projects having
plunged by 58 percent during the past two
years in Korea, the government is setting
out to help related companies develop
new export markets.
The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) is also doing its part to support Korean companies clinch deals this year, kicking off Global Project Plaza (GPP) 2017 on April 18. Held in Lotte Hotel World in Seoul, the three-day event was hosted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and organized by KOTRA. Since its launch in 2008, GPP has helped 3,700 Korean companies build close partnerships with over 1000 foreign project owners and government officials. This year’s plaza introduced projects worth KRW 111 trillion (USD 96.8 billion) and was comprised of forums, project seminars and one-on-one project consultations. The event helped solve some of the questions Korean companies had about overseas projects, and increased the chances for achieving tangible results.
“Up until recently, we focused
heavily on doing business in the Middle East and
Asia, but we’re diversifying our export
markets by partnering up with companies
in South America and Africa as well,”
said KOTRA’s Vice President Seog Ki
Sun during his welcoming remarks.
“Events like GPP provide opportunities
for us to strengthen cooperation, especially as Korea is home to the world’s most
advanced construction technology.”
To help both foreign and Korean companies get a better understanding of the world economy, KOTRA invited Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific Chief Economist of IHS Markit, a global consulting firm. According to Biswas, the global growth is expected to pick up from 2.5 percent in 2016 to 2.9 percent in 2017 and 3.1 percent in 2018, led by the United States and commodity-exporting regions. In regards to the Asia-Pacific region, he emphasized the emerging Asian
will be the key
global growth engine. His
presentation also took a closer look at
Korea’s smart cities with Songdo being a
key example. Songdo, built from scratch
on reclaimed land in Incheon, is being
hailed as the world’s first smart city.
Biswas predicts that innovative cities like
Songdo will serve as a major model for
other regions that want to become just as
eco-friendly and sustainable.
Unlike previous GPP events, major U.S. and European EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) companies participated in two roundtable discussions this year. In particular, leading construction companies from Spain participated in the Korea-Spain roundtable discussion and partnering meetings, talking with Korean companies on how they might together enter markets in the Middle East and Central and South America.
One company that was able to strengthen cooperation with a number
Korean businesses through one-on-one meetings was Saudi Arabia's Saline Water
Conversion Corporation (SWCC). SWCC
is responsible for the desalination of seawater producing electric power and
supplying various regions in the Kingdom
with desalinated water. "Korean companies have a competitive price advantage,"
said SWCC Manager Ali Al Shuqair.
"Korean companies generally offer lower
prices than European companies and have
great technological skills."
Meanwhile, to help plant equipment SMEs expand their overseas export market, large EPC firms have stepped forward. At a meeting organized by the Korea Plant Industries Association
(KOPIA), Daelim Industrial, Daewoo
Engineering & Construction, Doosan
Heavy Industries & Construction and SK
Engineering & Construction offered consulting services for Korean plant equipment SMEs.
As mentioned by many GPP presenters and participants, technology is increasingly making its way onto the agendas of construction companies and city-planners as they realize that innovative and ecofriendly technology is as much a part of a city’s appeal as its flashy buildings. Deputy Prime Minister Inho Lee echoed this sentiment, saying, “Korea’s design, procurement and construction companies
have excellent technologies in the fields of smart city, water treatment and renewable energy. We will seek to strengthen strategic partnerships on an international level through more events like GPP.”
Thanks to GPP, Korean businesses were able to strike major construction deals overseas. Here's just one of many GPP's success stories.