Technology Issue: Remote Work Trends (WTC Suwon)

Jiho Song; Manager, World Trade Center Suwon

Communities and governments around the world are struggling to deal with the chaos that COVID-19 has created. Although Korea has been dealing with the outbreak effectively, the trade sector is still going through a difficult time. New trade deals have plummeted, and the cancelation and delay of shipments are occurring frequently, resulting in doubled logistic costs, among others.

Given our affiliation with the Gyeonggi Province, WTC Suwon — which is also known as Gyeonggido Business & Science Accelerator (GBSA) — is leading the largest province in Korea by strengthening SME's trade competitiveness and finding ways to support them. In order to meet the needs of our member companies and achieve our goals for this year, we are working to launch three main initiatives and projects: building up a Digital Trade Lounge, implementing a video conference management system, and using both platforms for trade events.

The first initiative is to set up a Digital Trade Lounge — equipped with 23 video conference system booths in WTC Suwon and our overseas branches — to replace the canceled trade missions in Korea and other countries. SMEs can access these spaces through the application system to book booths and hold meetings.

The second initiative is to build a video conference management system — a one-stop platform that manages everything from the application. It will be incorporated into our overseas branch management system for our business members to use. The SME applicants’ and buyers’ information will be inputted into the system so it can process this data and generate matches, notify each party of the outcome, and schedule meetings based on their schedules, with interpreters included. The meetings’ outcomes will also be used as background information for future buyer matching.

Our third and last initiative is to successfully transfer conventional, in-person trade events to online environments. WTC Suwon has a total of 52 trade events for this year, and some of them will consist of a combination of offline and online programming, depending on the application and implementation of the Digital Trade Lounge and video conference management system. Particularly, one of the biggest events planned for online is G-FAIR KOREA 2020, the largest trade fair for Korean SMEs and overseas buyers, which will be held in October.

WTC Suwon continues to face many obstacles every day to adapt to and develop solutions to operate in the new normal. The way to break through is to know that opportunities are found in times of crisis such as this. The world has been shifting to the digital era and the pandemic is pushing this trend further, and it’s in our best interest to go with the flow, not against it. 

Photo caption: Inside of WTC Suwon’s new Digital Trade Lounge. 

Photo credit: Jiho Song of WTC Suwon (GBSA)