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Klaipėda FEZ introduced to South Korean businesses

02 May 2023

In mid-April, a Lithuanian economic diplomacy delegation visited South Korea to establish closer contacts in the fields of transport, telecommunications, logistics, ports, renewable energy, manufacturing and investment. Karolis Pilipauskas, the Sales and Marketing Manager of Klaipėda FEZ, took part in the mission and shared his insights upon his return.

South Korea is one of the world leaders in metalworking and metal structures, electronics, the automotive industry, semiconductors, batteries and other areas, many of which are in line with the strategic investment sectors of the Klaipėda FEZ and Lithuania. For Klaipėda residents, South Korea can also be perceived as the maker of FSRU Independence, the Lithuania’s strategic LNG vessel.

In April, a high-ranking Lithuanian political, diplomatic and business delegation, including the Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis and other representatives of the Ministry, the Klaipėda Port Manager Algis Latakas, the Klaipėda ID team, Lithuanian diplomats, as well as representatives of the high-technology group Teltonika, and Mr Pilipauskas, visited Korea.

According to Pilipauskas, the specific business culture of South Korean business giants makes it much easier to open their doors together with high-ranking government representatives. Also, while strategic decisions are not made overnight anywhere, direct and personal contact in South Korea is a great start for further discussions.

“The Klaipėda FEZ can certainly be attractive to Koreans because of the clusters of metal construction and engineering metal products, automotive components, electric vehicles and plastics businesses that are emerging or already successfully operating here. They all have significant experience and expertise in our city. Korean and global investors are also interested in our port as a gateway to global markets, and the planned Lithuanian offshore wind park is a good touchpoint too”, comments K. Pilipauskas.

And so in order to introduce Korean businesses to Lithuanian opportunities and to establish valuable contacts, the Lithuanian delegation met with Posco International, one of the world’s largest steel companies, which is interested in offshore wind farms, amongst other areas of activity. The Lithuanians also visited the Busan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the largest business association in of the second largest Korean city that has possibilities to spread the word about Klaipėda FEZ to its members. The delegation also met with the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), as well as Busan and Incheon Free Economic Zones. Representatives of Korean free zones shared their best practices and provided the opportunity to get explore the smart city and innovation ecosystems they are developing.

During the visit, Lithuanian delegation also met with more Korean entrepreneurs in the fields of electric vehicles, industrial equipment and other areas, as well as with city mayors, representatives of science parks and others. An important Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between the Ports of Klaipėda and Incheon – additional transport links and partnerships with the Lithuanian port city will also increase the attractiveness of the Klaipėda FEZ.

Lithuanian technology manufacturer Teltonika had an impressive meeting during the visit. Together with Minister Skuodis, Teltonika managed to achieve what it had not been able to do for more than a year – to secure the opportunity to supply its equipment to the Korean market.

“In Korea, a personal relationship is very important, so these meetings are the first step towards further cooperation. A good example is one meeting with a local businesswoman who was considering an investment in Hungary before we arrived. Now she is already planning to come to Klaipėda to have a look around. We hope to be able to tell you more about this case in the future”, says Pilipauskas.

Klaipėda FEZ team regularly takes part in events to present the investment opportunities and to build networks. The events are planned both by target markets (Germany, Scandinavia, USA, Asia, etc.) and by target industries – plastics, electronics, metal construction and engineering, automotive components or electric vehicle manufacturing. A strong focus this year is on the renewable energy components and the battery industry. A visit to The Battery Show in Stuttgart, Germany, is planned for May.

Earlier this month, Klaipėda FEZ representatives already attended the annual conference of the Site Selectors Guild, a network of US investment advisors, in San Antonio. According to Pilipauskas, the strategy of selecting a location for foreign direct investment is usually implemented with the help of consultants working in this field, so it is of utmost importance to establish relations with them to make Klaipėda a top of mind location when a project comes up.

“Such contacts are most useful in the long term, but from this event in the US we also managed to bring back several initial enquiries for plots for specific projects”, says Pilipauskas.

Klaipėda FEZ is among the leading Lithuanian free zones spanning more than 400 ha and uniting more than 45 investors from 18 countries around the globe. The free zone offers award-winning quick launch solutions, a strategic location, state of the art infrastructure, a thriving business community and a broad array of incentives – all within the boundaries of Lithuania’s third largest city. The total turnover of Klaipėda FEZ investors exceeded EUR 1,2 billion in 2021.

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