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Korean companies are increasing their presence in SEA

Korean startups increase their presence in Vietnam

In 2019, the Korean Capital Government (SMG) plans to put Seoul in the Top 5 of the world’s leading startup centers. SMG has opened a startup support center in Hochiminh City. This is the strategy to realise this goal. SMG has been implementing a series of activities. These activities help Korean startups enter the Vietnamese market. They support their startups with a full range of innovative technology. They also invest in each stage until the startup expands globally. Seoul Startup Hub in District 11 is expected to increase enthusiasm for Korean entrepreneurs, especially those who want to start a business in Vietnam. This Startup Hub started operating from May 2021. 

Seoul Startup Hub in Hochiminh City

SMG also has a program to support startups abroad. And this is the first place to start that program. Startups in Seoul, Korea want to expand their business in Vietnam. These startups will receive help with office space, commercialisation support, technology exchange, connection of local companies, cooperation with investors, etc. Seoul focuses on Vietnam as the pace of development grows with a large number of startups. Seoul also opens up opportunities to connect local companies and commercialise global technologies.

A few remarkable Korean startups in Vietnam’s markets

By May 2021, there have been 35 Korean startups entering the Vietnamese market. A case in point is Wayne Hills Ventures, Inc. This is an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that converts any text into an animated video. These videos are all complete in content with DRM-free subtitles. Wayne Hills Ventures is conducting cooperation negotiations with Vingroup. This group also just established VinBigData Company in the field of AI research and development. Adding to the list are the food delivery app Baemin, the payment app Toss, etc. Burning Bros also set up a e-commerce subsidiary in Vietnam. 

Toss’ “virtual debit card” offer in Vietnam

VN’s Cho Tot e-commerce owner becomes a unicorn due to STIC’s Investment

Korean VCs such as Nextrans, STIC Investments, Smilegate, etc. are also increasingly actively looking for potential startups in Vietnam and Southeast Asia to add to their investment portfolios. Carousell announced a press release on a $100-million funding round. STIC Investments led this funding round. This round includes Sequoia Capital India, Golden Gate Ventures. South Korean technology company Naver is also involved. This e-commerce group has also received investments from Telenor, Rakuten, Naspers, etc. As a result, Carousell joined the Southeast Asian “unicorn club” with a valuation of $1.1 billion. The investment continues to support Carousell’s commercialisation of secondhand items.

Carousell becomes a new unicorn amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Carousell Group was established in August 2012, headquartered in Singapore. The group owns a large e-commerce platform in eight markets in Southeast Asia with the brands Carousell, Mudah, Cho Tot, and OneKyat. The group is considering the possibility of expanding its product portfolio to include used cars. Representating STIC Investments, CEO Jason Cho will join the Board of Directors of Carousell. He is confident that Carousell will become “the hub of the secondhand economy” in the region. Many consumers have become more and more aware of socio-economic and environmental issues. They are also more interested in product reuse. Carousell also plans to IPO in the US through SPAC. 

Sources of information include Bloomberg and Crunchbase.