The Australian International Marine Export Group (AIMEX) had a strong presence at the Korean International Boat Show last week. All companies reported a positive experience at the show and interest in Australian-made products and boats was high. AIMEX continues to forge the Australian brand in these emerging markets thus paving the way for future business when markets start to mature.
The Korean International Boat Show, hosted by the Gyeonggi Provence and held from 3-7 June, was the second Korean Boat show attended by AIMEX. The show was held in the Jeongok Harbour in Hwasung City. The Gyeonggi Provence has a clear vision of developing a strong leisure boating industry and has for the past 2 years invested considerable money in an effort to set the ball rolling. It is very evident that they are serious about this strategy given the large subsidies given to attract visitors and exhibitors to the show, the huge investment in infrastructure for the show and the fact that there has been more investment in the development of the harbour and marina facilities.
AIMEX CEO MaryAnne Edwards said: “A key driver for the companies attending was the fact there were very attractive subsidies to attend and therefore a great opportunity to research the Korean market and get the Australian brand known to ensure that when the tide does turn in Korea, Australia is established in the market place.” Australia has already made inroads by being at the show last year.
Edwards stated: “It is also important to understand that the Asia boating culture is different and in reality it is going to take a long time to have any established leisure boating market. There is still very low acceptance of leisure boating in Korea currently but the province is certainly doing their best to educate the children and general public. It was also evident looking at the boats in the marina that there needs to be a lot of education of people regarding how to maintain their boats.
This year there were 438 companies present (not all exhibiting) and they represented 21 countries. AIMEX members who attended advised they were happy with the interest they received and were surprised that the show had attracted visitors from a number of countries around Asia and the Middle East. Edwards said that there was an increase in the number of international brands displaying their product or simply visiting the show.
The conference which was a valuable part of the show was held over 2 days and had a variety of speakers covering topics from the global economy, lean manufacturing, clusters, marina developments, Asia leisure boating market, marine tourism, R&D in the marine sector and composite boat building.
It was suggested the Asian economies will be the first to pull out of the recession and that their government stimulus packages have had much greater affect than western countries.
Charles Dickson from Marine Queensland gave a presentation on marine industry clusters and John Hogan from Superior Jetties gave a presentation on issues relating to the development of marinas.
Seawind Catamarans and Superior Jetties signed MOU's with Korean Companies. Most Australian companies who attended developed some excellent prospects, contacts and also some orders.
AIMEX members who attended the show were: Austral Propellers, VEEM Ltd, GME, MultiPanel, Spear Green Design, Bellingham Marine, Seawind Catamarans, Superior Jetties, National Marine Safety Committee and Marine Queensland.
AIMEX CEO Maryanne Edwards paid tribute to the organisational work undertaken by Tim Coventry and his team from the UK to once again make this event a valuable experience for Australian companies.