Younhee Kim, Luxembourg Trade & Investment Office in Seoul: “Many Korean companies planning to open a European office automatically think of France, Germany or the UK. While these countries certainly offer interesting business opportunities, I encourage those wishing to access the whole European market to think again.
When you want to do truly European business, Luxembourg is the place to be.
The companies that choose Luxembourg opt for the geographical centre of Europe, from where it is easy to travel and network with customers across the continent. The EU consists of 27 countries with 24 official languages, and providing services to clients in their own language is crucial for sales. I have myself worked in Luxembourg and seen that you can easily set up multilingual teams with this capacity and attract excellent staff from Germany and France. When you want to do truly European business, Luxembourg is the place to be.”
What support did you provide to help them in their exploration and decision process?
“We assisted them in meeting the right people in Luxembourg. We also provided information on various issues such as the healthtech and mobility sectors, the investment environment, taxation, corporate legal structure and incorporation procedures. In addition, we advised on topics including the cost of living and education.
I always try to find business opportunities in Luxembourg for the companies we are in contact with.
I always try to find business opportunities in Luxembourg for the companies we are in contact with and share the additional advantages that the country can offer with them. Our continuous support and heartfelt care make them think again about the location of their European office.”
In your opinion, what can Korean companies add to the Luxembourg economy?
“After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Korea became the world’s 9th biggest economy in 2020. Its high-tech companies in fields such as artificial intelligence, data management, smart mobility, 5G, robotics and online application software are attracting international attention. In addition, the Korean government has announced a “Korean New Deal” which includes heavy investments in green and digital technology. I think that Korea will be world-leading in these areas in the coming years. Luxembourg should be the number one centre of Korean high-tech companies targeting the European market.”
You also facilitated the agreement between the Luxembourg and Korean governments to set up a Smart Green Business Centre in Luxembourg. Why was this European location chosen?
“LTIO Seoul has an excellent relationship with the governmental organisation ASEM Eco-Innovation Centre (ASEIC), which supports cleantech companies in their expansion to Europe and other Asian countries. When ASEIC mentioned the need for a Smart Green Business Centre in Europe, the LTIO and Luxinnovation actively promoted Luxembourg as an ideal location for smart and green business. We made our best efforts to offer a timely and speedy cooperation.
What finally convinced ASIEC was the fact that ‘when you come to Luxembourg, you are in Europe’.
In order to create more Luxembourg-Korea business links in the field, we worked with ASEIC to facilitate the participation of Korean companies in several major events in Luxembourg: 2017 Circular Economy Hotspot, 2019 ICT Spring and 2021 Cleantech Forum Europe. Luxinnovation also helped ASEIC to host a working group meeting in Luxembourg in 2018.
What finally convinced ASIEC was the fact that ‘when you come to Luxembourg, you are in Europe’. The country is a gateway to France, Germany, Belgium and other European nations. I also believe that the trust developed through the never-ending support from Luxembourg was key to attract the Smart Green Business Centre.”
You have not been able to visit Luxembourg during the last year. Is there anything in particular that you miss?
“I love the green nature in Luxembourg, and walking in the Petrusse valley and the beautiful parks in the city centre. When I first visited Luxembourg in 1999, I thought: this is paradise!”