Establishing business in Japan and Korea can be both challenging and rewarding. The following article explains how the European Union financed initiative “EU Gateway to Japan and Korea” helps European companies explore their market potential and build their business.
Japan and Korea are among the European Union’s major trade partners and offer huge opportunities to European companies. The ties between the EU and these two countries are even set to get stronger in the future, particularly in view of the existing and prospective Free-Trade Agreements. The Free-Trade Agreement between Korea and the EU has already boosted European export and green light has now been given to start negotiations for an agreement with Japan.
Despite the promising outlook, companies willing to expand their business to Japan or Korea might find it difficult to exploit their full potential. The challenges they face range from cultural differences and language barriers to regulatory issues. The investment in terms of time and money, necessary to take the first steps on these markets, can strain a company’s capacity – this is where EU Gateway comes in.
The Programme organises up to six business missions per year to Japan and Korea in high-technology sectors (healthcare and medical technologies, environment and energy-related technologies, construction and building technologies) as well as for interior and fashion design. 40 European companies are selected per business mission.
During their one-week stay in Japan or Korea, participants exhibit their products to a hand-picked Japanese audience and discuss with potential business partners in pre-arranged individual meetings. Briefings as well as studies on the local business culture and market opportunities ensure that the participants are well prepared. A study tour and a networking reception complete the busy schedule.
The services offered by EU Gateway includes advice on certification, translation and interpretation, promotion of participants to potential business partners in Japan and Korea, coaching ahead of the mission by professional team in Europe as well as financial support.
The German company Micropelt summarises the benefits of his participation in the environment and energy-related business mission to Japan: “The profile of being selected for an EU business mission was a very helpful marketing tool, with good visibility in the Japanese technical media. In addition, we were able to develop new, high quality contacts with new companies thanks to EU Gateway.”
Also for the Finnish company Optomed, EU Gateway was the key to their success in Japan: Through their participation in the business mission for healthcare and medical technologies to Japan in 2012, they found two distributors. Now that product registrations are clear, they concentrate on working with their distribution partners on the sales – they expect Japan to become one of their main markets in the future.
Micropelt and Optomed are only two of more than 3000 companies who took advantage of the opportunity EU Gateway offers since its start in 1994. Applications are now open for business missions to both Japan and Korea in 2013 and 2014.
EU Gateway to Japan and Korea is an initiative financed by the European Union to help European companies develop their business in Japan and Korea. The Programme organises up to six business missions per year in high-technology and design sectors, offering financial, strategic and logistical support to participating companies.
For more information, please visit the website at www.eu-gateway.eu.