Korean food and restaurants going global

2013-03-29 16:33

Korean food and restaurants going global

By Park Si-soo
This is Korea’s next export item: food. A growing number of local food companies are carving out business footprints overseas, seeking to conquer dining tables around the world. The trend is facilitated by homegrown restaurant chains that are increasingly flexing their muscle to conquer what gourmets call “hubs of international cuisine” such as New York, London and Paris. Several companies have already set up sales networks in more than 60 countries and are trying to cement their presence by establishing manufacturing bases there. While their overseas sales have so far generated income from China, Japan, America and Southeast Asian countries that have many Korean immigrants, they are now trying to diversify revenue sources by taking advantage of the boom in Korean pop culture that is sweeping Russia, Europe and Latin American countries. The Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corp. (aT) said the country exported kimchi worth $3.87 million to the U.S. last year, up 38.6 percent from the previous year. Shipments of red pepper paste to the U.S. surged by 24.9 percent during the same period, aT said. Exports of Korean ice cream to Brazil jumped a whopping 102.2 percent last year, it noted, saying its popularity is quickly spreading to surrounding countries. “We have a good start,” a spokesman for the company said. “I believe food products will emerge as a new growth engine for the country along with semiconductors, smartphones and automobiles.”

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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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