Invest Northern Ireland lined up one-to-one meetings with Korean technology leaders for six local IT companies and R&D centres from Queen’s University and University of Ulster during a recent two-day visit by a delegation to Belfast. This was the most important ever visit from Korea to Northern Ireland.
The delegation included top executives, including several R&D specialists, from Samsung and LG, two of the country’s biggest industrial corporations, as well as Korea Telecoms, the main telecoms provider, and SK Telecom, the leading mobile communications business.
They decided to visit Northern Ireland following approaches by Invest NI and interest shown in meeting them by local technology companies during an initial visit to London organised by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).
The Northern Ireland group included companies specialising in state-of-the-art digital technology for communications and security systems. Also taking part were ECIT (Queen’s University’s £40 million Institute for Electronics, Communications and Information Technologies at the Northern Ireland Science Park in Belfast), the Sonic Arts Centre at Queen’s, the Internet Technologies Research Group at the University of Ulster, Coleraine, and the Centre for Nanostructures.
The Korean delegation was also briefed on investment opportunities in Northern Ireland by Jeremy Fitch, Invest NI’s Managing Director Clients Group and Business International, and also about the region’s R&D expertise.
Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, says: “We work closely with UKTI across a broad range of activities designed to help our companies to expand exports. UKTI had initially invited us to organise a group of Northern Ireland companies to meet the Korean team in London. When they saw the extent of interest shown by our companies, UKTI then asked us to host the Korean team in Belfast. The response from Northern Ireland companies was stronger than from elsewhere in the UK.
“This was a very high profile delegation from Korea with a particular interest in digital communications, an area in which we have a cluster of companies at the leading-edge of this dynamic technology.
“The seminar and one-to-one meetings that we organised gave our companies an opportunity to demonstrate their expertise and knowledge to key decision makers in some of Korea’s most important companies. It also showed the Korean delegation the software and other skills that are readily available in Northern Ireland in particular within our university research institutes.
“Several of the participating companies, especially APT and Aepona, have significant business in Asian markets. In addition, ECIT has a network of research contacts there. We will also be focusing on developing business opportunities across the region at an Asia Matters event in Belfast in March,” he adds.
The Korean delegation, which was in Northern Ireland from 7-9 February included the head of the Samsung Institute of Technology, the President of LG, the Vice President of the Government Research Institute and a senior representative of a task force formed by the Ministry of Information and Communications. Their areas of interest include technology transfer and strategic partnerships in next generation communications, both mobile and landline networks, the internet, telematics and broadcasting systems.