An employee inspects a Flexible Printed Circuit Board panel used for mobile phones using a magnifying glass on the production line at Seil Electronics Co factory in Incheon, South Korea.
Several UAE companies, including startups, are seeking to forge partnerships with Korean tech companies as they prepare to ride the wave of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Yong Suk Kwon, Regional President of Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra), said.
"The six pillars of the Industry 4.0 are artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, quantum computing and nanotechnology. These fields will require cutting-edge technology, and Korea is one of the most innovative nations in the world in automation and advanced manufacturing technologies," said Kwon.
"Due to this fact, many multi-national companies are seeking joint venture opportunities with high-tech Korean companies. I believe Korea would be an ideal place for companies to invest in to become pioneers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as they will have access to high tech companies as well as highly trained workforce," Kwon said on the sidelines of Big Five Exhibition, which featured two Korean pavilions showcasing the country's advanced construction and engineering technologies. He said Kotra is also keen on promoting cross border investments in various sectors. Several companies from the UAE have shown interest in forging partnerships with Korean tech companies at the recent 'Invest Korea' conference, which drew hundreds of investors from across the globe. Korea hit a new record high in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2016, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. In 2016, total FDI into Korea reached $21.3 billion, 1.9 per cent higher than the previous year's figures. For two years in a row now, FDI into Korea has exceeded the $20 billion mark. South Korea is also fast emerging as a key trade and investment partner of the UAE, with the huge potential for future economic partnerships signifying a strategic shift in his country's economic relations with fast growing Asian economies, according to the UAE Minister of Energy and Industry, Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei.
Over the past 10 years, bilateral relationship has become much more strategic. "Korean firms are now important participants in many key projects in the UAE, from nuclear power to other strategic business areas. This growing relationship between the two countries will certainly benefit business in both countries," the minister said.
The trade relationship between the two countries is also booming, according to figures from the South Korean embassy.
In the first half of 2017, South Korea's exports to the UAE were valued at $2.95 billion, a four per cent increase on the same period in 2016, while the UAE's first half exports to South Korea grew 47 per cent to $4.29 billion in 2016.
South Korea has established an unparalleled partnership with the UAE in many spheres such as energy, national defence, security, infrastructure, health, and education, which is unprecedented in its relations with Middle Eastern countries, said Kwon.
In 2009, South Korea and the UAE inked a $20 billion deal to create the world's largest single nuclear project, the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafra region.
The 5,600 megawatt-capacity facility is 96 per cent complete and on track to be opened in 2018.
The UAE is home to roughly 13,000 South Koreans and 170 major South Korean companies. Around half of these are based in Abu Dhabi and half across other emirates. - email@example.com