Korea isn’t just a place for business—
it’s a place for strong collaboration and innovation
ounded in Darmstadt, Germany
in 1668 by Friedrich Jacob
Merck, Merck is the world's oldest
science and technology company
specializing in the fields of healthcare,
life science and performance materials.
Around 50,000 employees work in 66
different countries to further develop
technologies that improve and enhance
life. These technologies include cuttingedge
systems for scientific research and
production and liquid crystals for smartphones
and LCD televisions. It’s no surprise
then that the company has set up
shop in Korea to expand its life science
and performance material sector. Most
recently, Merck established the M-Lab
Collaboration Center in Songdo, Incheon
to provide biopharmaceutical manufacturers
with an ideal environment to solve
their toughest challenges and accelerate
development and production of new therapies.
Dr. Michael Grund, Managing Director of Merck Korea talks to KOTRA Express on what makes Korea a well-cultivated landscape for its technological development.
Korea’s economy is characterized by a small number of companies (conglomerates), which represents the lion’s share of the Korean economy. These conglomerates have a global footprint and occupy
top rankings in their respective businesses. Merck came to Korea more than 20 years ago and supported the tremendous growth of the Korean economy by close collaboration with these players from the very beginning. The joint success story of the Korean display industry and Merck, the global market leader in display materials, is just one prominent example. Consequently Merck did not only invest into the supply chain and production of its parts, but also in the R&D and application/ training centers to mutually benefit both partners. Merck appreciates the continuous support from the Korean government, the country’s stable economic environment and the people’s can-do spirit. Korea shaped the markets with its unique set-up in the past and will do so in the future. In this sense, the country can be regarded as the “lab of the future”.
We appreciate a stable, predictable business environment, including issues dealing with regulation or taxation
because we are thinking of making longterm investments. As a local Merck-subsidiary, we compete with other Merck subsidiaries for resources; continuous support from the government is very much appreciated so that our headquarters can continue to stay committed and do business in the country.
The majority of our business is with global Korean companies. We are only successful because we seamlessly collaborate from the earliest R&D stage, which is based on mutual trust and cooperation. This is the major pillar of our success.
Merck is where our customers are; our business in the Asia Pacific region today already outperforms our business in Europe. We are prepared and willing to
invest into future growth engines. In Korea, for example, we are focusing on technologies in electronics and display, biotechnology and other promising future drivers of growth. Our most recent examples commitment include opening our OLED application center last year, establishing M-Lab in Songdo this year and signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ).
Songdo in Incheon is one of the world’s biotech hotspots, as it hosts R&D and is the operation site of global Korean players in this field. Merck does everything to support these companies to be successful; that’s why
we moved our MLab to Songdo. In our M-Lab, our customers can explore our products and services, get training that is classroom based and hands-on, develop their processes by easily optimizing them in our fully equipped, non-GMP environment and speed up their overall time-to-market. Together with the continuous support from Incheon city and IFEZ, we can create a more complete bio ecosystem.
Korea has a proven track record and is ranked at the top in a number of industries. But the global economy is changing and the recipe of the past might not work in the future any more. To master the challenges of the future, global cross-collaboration between companies and organizations is mandatory. This needs to be the common long-term benefit of both partners, and relationships must be founded on mutual respect and trust. I strongly recommend building this relationship first to establish a prosperous business.
Organized by KOTRA and Seoul Business Agency, the K-Hightech Forum will take place in California on
December 5-10. The forum, to take place in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, seeks to spur investment in Korea’s promising companies and expand networks with American companies. The event will particularly focus on industries dealing with IoT, autonomous vehicles, VR, AR, IT, games and clean energy. 11 promising high-tech companies based in Seoul and Daejeon will participate in the event while 50 local venture capitals, accelerators and angel investors will attend. The event will also include networking meetings and presentation pitches for investors.
The Korean Expo 2016, organized by KOTRA and hosted by MOTIE, will take place in Mumbai, India from Dec. 19 to 20. Held at Bombay Exhibition Center (Hall 5), approximately 100 Korean companies will attend to showcase their consumer goods, electronics, cosmetics and fashion products to 500 buyers from India and the Southwest Asia region. The Korea-India Cooperation Forum and Consumer Goods Showcase are also scheduled to take place on the sideline.