By Lee Jong-hwan
Seoul, June 15 (World Korean News)= Going up to the second floor, there were two offices. One was President Hyun-gyeom Kim's business office, and the other was the reception room of the Dallas Korean Chamber of Commerce.
"There is one official office for the Korea Chamber of Commerce. But I made this office to work what's urgent." Kim, president of the Dallas Korean Chamber of Commerce, said.
Five frames were hung on the wall of the reception room with three posters. "The one in the middle is the promotional poster for this year's K-Brand Expo. These are magazine covers that have been published online by the Dallas Korean Chamber of Commerce."
The poster titled 'K-Brand Expo 2021' said "Cosmetics, Life & Health." On the left and right, there was a scholarship event held by the Dallas Korean Chamber of Commerce and a promotional poster of a local institution to prevent COVID-19.
The Dallas Korean Chamber of Commerce held the K-Brand Expo 2021 from July 26 to 30 last year. The event was held with the Korean Chamber of Commerce in Washington, Santa Clara, Orange County, and Atlanta. The themes of last year's event are Korean cosmetics, health and household goods. He said that the expo was not held offline due to COVID-19, but held online.
The expo is a 'business platform' that connects excellent small and medium-sized enterprises in Korea with U.S. buyers.
The Dallas Korean Chamber of Commerce held a 'Smart Business Expo' based on IT technology in 2019. In 2000, it was held online under the theme of "non-face-to-face business" due to COVID-19.
"There are many products from small and medium-sized enterprises in Korea that have excellent technology and quality. However, the reality is that it is not easy to enter overseas market and secure a sales network. We started the expo with the idea of creating a bridgehead for these products to enter the U.S. market. We've created a new platform called 'non-face-to-face business.'"
The two expos have been exclusive events of the Dallas Korean Chamber of Commerce. However, last year's 'K-Brand Expo 2021' was joined by several chambers of commerce. It was held jointly with other Korean Chamber of Commerce to expand the U.S. market of the K-beauty industry. President Kim further expanded his online platform through such collaboration.
The K-Brand Expo is not limited to exhibitions that invited U.S. buyers. Various seminars and meetings are held. In order for Korean cosmetics to enter the U.S. market, theu must get FDA permission. To this end, many seminars were also held in which the head of the U.S. agency in charge of FDA registration attended.
The expo also invited marketing directors of large discount stores such as Walgreens, where Korean products can be purchased. He also introduced how to register as a band company in a large supermarket and what to pay attention to to register as a band company.
"We've held more than 10 of these seminars at the Expo. However, there are much more events held while preparing for the expo. Korean companies and several chambers of commerce held online meetings. Before making direct contact with U.S. buyers, small and medium-sized Korean companies first met with buyers from the Korean Chamber of Commerce. We had exactly 139 meetings."
It was a meeting to check what Korean SMEs should prepare when meeting buyers in the U.S. market. They were meetings to make up for deficiencies by checking them online in advance. Thirty small and medium-sized Korean companies participated in these meetings. They had as many online meetings to meet them with U.S. market buyers. It was a really big expo.
"We also held a job fair at the 2020 Expo. We opened a job fair for Korean students and local Koreans to get a job."
President Kim explained that many students got their jobs at this job fair.
"We're planning to make the Expo event bigger this year. I've gained a lot of experience by holding expo three times. I informed the materials to be prepared by small and medium-sized companies through the pre-meeting and conducted a business matching program."
He added, "Expo alone is something that we have to do all year round." With last year's result, an unmanned store company has already begun building an assembly plant in Dallas, and chain stores and home shopping companies are preparing to enter, he said. With such diverse results, Changwon City, which participated in 10 companies last year, was promised to involve more companies this year, he said.
President Hyun-kyum Kim came to USA 19 years ago. Having majored in chemistry at a university in Korea, he became independent after working for the Korea National Oil Corporation and managed a long-term distributor of Oriental chemicals in Korea.
"I was running a Korean company until recently, even though I entered the U.S. and did business. But the Korean company just cleared for focusing on the U.S. market."
Introducing him like this, he laughed, saying, "It is very recent that I have become a Korean overseas."
Kim distributes cleaning supplies in the United States. l met him at his office, which also serves as a distribution warehouse for cleaning supplies. His distribution warehouse, the size of a soccer field, was stacked with various chemicals and equipment used by hospitals, cleaning companies, and large distributors.
"l have my own companies in Dallas and Austin. The logistics warehouse in Austin is bigger than here. There were more employees."
Kim explained, "Based on my personal experience in pioneering the U.S. market, I will help korean SMEs enter the U.S. market."
"The Dallas Korean Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024. It boasts a long history. More than 4,000 Korean companies in Dallas are networking with the idea that they are all members. I am helping them and Korean SMEs to coexist."
President Kim introduced that online magazines published by the Dallas Korean Chamber of Commerce play an important role in that regard.
"The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry is pushing for the K-town project. There are many Koreans in this area, but it hasn't been designated as Korea Town yet. So we're working with the city government on a project to designate the area as a K-town."
He said he was working closely with local governments, police and officials from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Last June, Dallas Korean Chamber of Commerec also hosted an event that invited 160 local police officers.
"Texas has a good business environment. It's a state that doesn't have corporate taxes. Because of this, large Korean companies such as Samsung are also actively entering the market. Korean SMEs can also try to enter the U.S. centered on this region. The Dallas Korean Chamber of Commerce will actively help them enter the U.S. market."
President Hyun-kyum Kim introduced the ambitious plan. "We will hold a bigger expo in the future," he said, adding, "In the future, we will be with not only the five Korean Chamber of Commerce in the United States, but also the Korean American Chamber of Commerce in USA."
** (This translation was sponsored by Dokko Youngsik, the president of the Midwest Korean American Association.)