"If you are interested in making inroads into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market with a population of 580 million, please pay attention to Abu Dhabi, the gateway to the Middle East,” said Jang Ho-geun, the head of the Abu Dhabi Chamber Korea Office, in his inaugural speech on January 21st. Dubai has been well known in Korea for a long time, but in fact, Abu Dhabi accounts for over 60 percent of United Arab Emirates' GDP, 33 percent of the population and 87 percent of the territory. In particular, Abu Dhabi is the heart of the UAE, as the country produces 92 percent of the crude oil in UAE, which holds the world's eighth-largest crude oil reserve. Abu Dhabi's GDP per capita exceeds 70,000 dollars.
Abu Dhabi announced 'Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030' in 2007 and has been implementing policies to reduce reliance on the oil sector and diversify industries. The sectors that the country is focusing to foster such as IT, medical, bio, pharmaceutical, renewable energy, water treatment, petrochemical, aerospace defense, logistics, manufacturing, tourism, education, media, F&B, finance and construction real estate are mostly in line with Korea's new growth engine industries. Therefore, there is a great possibility of mutual cooperation. Mr. Jang selected the geographical advantage as the hub connecting the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, business-friendly environment with no corporate tax and income tax, free economic system, world-class infrastructure, more than 10 free zones including Khalifa Industrial Complex, and social stability and transparency as Abu Dhabi's strengths.
For those reasons, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abu Dhabi's largest economic organization, opened the Korea office in 2015, and has been working to support Korean companies entering into Abu Dhabi and promote Abu Dhabi's business environment. More than 80 Korean companies are registered as the members of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, which boasts 100,000 members. Many of them are construction and plant-related companies. Recently, the members are coming from more various sectors, including nuclear power, medical, and consumer goods.
Mr. Jang Ho-geun is an overseas marketing expert who has served as Executive Managing Director of COEX with the prior work experiences as the director of International Marketing Group and the head of International Affairs Group of the Korea International Trade Association. He plans to play a leading role in Korean companies' advancement into Abu Dhabi by conducting joint businesses with the Korea International Trade Association, COEX as well as major economic groups of each industry and local governments. In particular, he plans to make special efforts for startups that are becoming more active in recent years to expand into the Middle East. Mr. Jang said, “Abu Dhabi has been interested in nurturing ICT-based startups such as artificial intelligence, smart cities, and smart farms from early on, so it is highly likely to cooperate with Korean companies.”
Abu Dhabi is actively hosting various industrial exhibitions, including the world's largest international oil fair, SIAL ME, the Middle East's largest food exhibition, security equipment exhibition, and franchise exhibition. Therefore, Mr. Jang will endeavor to support Korean companies to participate in the local exhibitions, while also strengthening cooperation with Korea’s major exhibition organizations such as COEX. Mr. Jang added that he highly recommends Abu Dhabi as a winter tourist spot for Koreans as the country has abundant tourist resources such as the Grand Mosque, Louvre Museum, Ferrari Theme Park, and Golf Club and the weather is pleasant and mild from December to February.
* The Abu Dhabi Chamber Korea Office
Address: 3607, Trade Tower, 511 Yeongdong-daero, Samseong 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea