The 21st World Korean Business Convention (WKBC), the largest networking event for South Korean-owned businesses and business leaders, kicked off on Wednesday (local time) at the Anaheim Convention Center in Orange County, California, U.S., with the attendance of more than 6,000 Korean businessmen from more than 30 countries.
This year’s theme was set as “A New Beginning for Korean Businesses, Together with the Korea-U.S. Business Alliance,” in line with the 70th anniversary of the Korea-U.S. alliance and the 120th anniversary of the Korean immigration to the Americas.
At the opening ceremony, Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol gave a congratulatory message that was read out by Lee Key-cheol, head of the Overseas Korean Agency.
“While the global network of Korean businessmen has been centered on trade and commerce, we must now further expand into fields such as finance, culture, and digital,” he said. “The government will work together with our companies and startups challenging the world’s largest market, the U.S.”
Maekyung Media Group Chairman Chang Dae-whan said in his welcoming remarks that he believes Technium Alliance is very important.
“I hope the good minds of the Korean people will be put to work on the Technium Alliance between Korea and the U.S.”
Technium Alliance is more than just a technology alliance ? it is a coalition of individual countries and companies based on overwhelming technological superiority, which can be expanded to include economic and value alliances based on technology.
“We prepared the largest-ever business exhibition, including one-on-one business meetings and a venture capital (VC) investment forum,” said Lee of the Overseas Korean Agency. “The main objective of this convention is to provide mutual business matching for participating companies and to help Korean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) enter the U.S. and understand the U.S. market.”
Hwang Byung-gu, head of the organizing committee for the convention, said, “With large-scale investments by Korean conglomerates and the Korean wave sparked by K-pop and K-dramas, raising the profile of Koreans and Korean products in the U.S., now is the perfect time for Korean SMEs to enter the U.S. market.” Hwang urged participants to “actively utilize the network of over 70 Korean-American chambers of commerce in various U.S. regions and their 55,000 members.”
Kim Ki-mun, chairman of the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business (KBIZ), who served as honorary chairman of the convention, also emphasized, “The Korean business network should be a bridgehead for Korean SMEs to expand overseas, just like the Jewish and Chinese networks.”
By Hwang In-hyuk, Chung Seung-hwan, Lee Duk-joo, and Yoon Yeon-hae
Photo sourced by Anaheim special coverage team