Bilans d’évènement  •  Rencontre & Echange Energies renouvelables - Développement durable - Environnement  •  Industrie

FKCCI Welcomes Hauts-de-France VP, Mr. François Decoster to Shed Light on Korea's Business Environment and Vision

FKCCI Welcomes Hauts-de-France VP, Mr. François Decoster to Shed Light on Korea's Business Environment and Vision

On April 12, the French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), along with the French Embassy in South Korea and the CCE (French Foreign Trade Advisors), welcomed in its offices Mr. François Decoster, Vice-president of the Hauts-de-France region. FKCCI board members, as well as leading companies in Korea originating from the Hauts-de-France region, including FKCCI's members Decathlon and Exotec, were invited to share their insights and testimonials on doing business in South Korea.

The business breakfast started with an opening remark from Mrs. Adeline-Lise Khov, Head of the Economic Department at the French Embassy in Korea, introducing today's esteemed guest, Mr. François Decoster, Vice-President of the Hauts-de-France region. Mr. Decoster's visit to South Korea aims to better understand the Korean business landscape and explore strategies for attracting Korean investments and companies to his region. Reflecting on the Hauts-de-France region's strengths, strategically positioned in France and Europe, which has navigated industrial transformations from mining to becoming "the European Battery Valley," and has pioneered the development of four giga-factories, along with significant investments in hydrogen and culture, Mr. Decoster highlighted that the region already hosts four subsidiaries of Korean companies and aims to attract many more in the coming years.

Mr. F. Decoster said "We are currently facing a paradox. Despite our wealth creation, job opportunities, and added value, only four Korean company subsidiaries are established in the region, whereas there are 80 Japanese companies present, generating around 10,000 jobs. I am here today to share with you the commitment of our region to increase visibility with the Korean government and businesses."

This was followed by enlightening speeches from Mr. David-Pierre Jalicon, CEO of DPJ & Partners and Chairman of FKCCI, and Mr. Pascal Robin, General Manager & Representative Director of Sanofi and President of the CCE Korea Committee. They shared insights into their organizations' missions and support for projects that strengthen economic ties between France and Korea. After acknowledging Mr. Decoster's region's transformation and adaptation over the past decades, Mr. Jalicon underscored the significance of fostering partnerships with French and local entities to enhance attractiveness.

"We have just signed a partnership with Business France and the CCE, called Team France Korea, to join efforts and work extensively on promoting the attractiveness of our regions. [...] We designate leaders of Korean companies investing in France as FKCCI’s 'Honorary Members' to foster a sense of belonging within our community and to support them in creating a community that sets an example." 

Mr. Jalicon elaborated on the French presence and business influence in South Korea, highlighting bilateral trade between the two countries, which amounted to $15.9 billion in 2023, nearly reaching the level of trade between Korea and Japan. He also offered specific advice to the audience, emphasizing the importance of originality and innovation to capture the interest of Korean companies, the necessity of establishing a local presence, and provided cultural insights to better understand Korean work culture.

FKCCI offered to its members the opportunity to share personal testimonials and advice to Mr. Decoster during a lively exchange sessionMr. Stéphane Deblaise, CEO of Renault Koreatook the mic to emphasize Renault's strong historical and industrial ties with the Hauts-de-France region. He suggested fostering connections with Korean electric battery experts to encourage investments. Mr. Sylvain Torrent, OP Mobility's (formerly Plastic Omnium) Asia Sales & Program Director, advised exploring Korea's hydrogen plan, initiated in 2019, to gain insights and try building bridges with the Hauts-de-France region. Lastly, Mr. Gérald Massenet, Senior Country Officer at Crédit Agricole CIB, highlighted Korean prejudices regarding country's industrial expertise. He emphasized that having other manufacturers in the region's sector would demonstrate France's industrial prowess to Koreans and attract them accordingly.

Subsequently, three representatives from prominent companies in Korea originating from the Hauts-de-France region, Ms. Jay Jungyeon Koo, CEO of Decathlon Korea, Mr. Jay Han, Korea Distribution Channel Manager and Koji Oshino, Japan & Korea Sales Manager aLesaffre, and Mr. Jisuk Oh, VP Sales Director of Exotec, showcased their growth, achievements in South Korea, and future prospects on the peninsula. These three companies, headquartered in Lille in the Hauts-de-France region, serve as exemplary models for any company originating from the region, whether they are large corporations, SMEs, or startups, seeking to expand internationally, especially into the Korean market.

The event concluded with a closing speech from Mr. Decoster, expressing heartfelt gratitude to all attendees for their invaluable insights and personal advice regarding the challenges of attracting investment to his region and the opportunities for partnerships. With renewed determination and a wealth of new ideas, the gathering concluded on a note of optimism, highlighting the shared commitment to strengthening economic ties between France and Korea.

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