First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
South Korea, where our main office is located, was one of the countries, after China, where the Coronavirus broke out, in February 2020. Since then, the staff has maintained social distance and other necessary measures to ensure infection avoidance and continued service to our customers.
Although in South Korea there was never a lockdown or binding regulations, the office staff was free to work from home or adjust working conditions according to the situation at the time. Accordingly, we have also made necessary adjustments for safe work with our customers and business partners.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded KOISRA?
I have started my professional career as a business lawyer specializing in corporate law, commercial law, and intellectual property, but my first business was actually in a completely different field from legal practice or what I do these days. In early 2006 I set up a number of internet projects, one of which included a social network and a dating site, which was pretty new at the time. I then founded a company that provides web development and server hosting services.
I sold the above company and in 2009 I moved to South Korea, where I founded KOISRA, a company that provides consulting, business development, marketing, and HR outsourcing services to foreign companies and government agencies in the Korean market.
How does your company innovate?
As a consulting and business development firm one of our main tasks is to ask our clients the right questions and accordingly provide the appropriate service. What we have learned over the years is that through the right questions we can better understand the client’s needs and accordingly innovate and develop solutions we have not previously provided.
One example is the e-commerce support in Korea for foreign companies and foreign sellers. The Korean e-commerce market is the fifth largest in the world, but still, a company like Amazon has not been able to penetrate this market. Foreign companies interested in selling in the Korean marketplaces are facing difficulties and entry barriers. The local Korean marketplaces don’t offer direct services like fulfillment to foreign companies. In addition, only local companies can sell on the local marketplaces.
One of our clients who sell his products directly to customers only on marketplaces like Amazon contacted us for the purpose of finding and validating distributors in South Korea for his products. After understanding in depth the customer’s activity, we asked why he was not trying to sell on a parallel platform in the Korean e-commerce market – and this was the trigger for the development of our e-commerce services.
Has the Coronavirus pandemic affected your business?
Quite surprisingly, the impact of the Coronavirus on our business has actually been good. Perhaps because South Korea knew how to manage the pandemic in a balanced way so that business worked almost as usual. Even foreign companies that wanted to do business in Korea were not blocked. South Korea Airport has always remained open to business people from all over the world, including granting exemption from quarantine upon arrival.
In my opinion, the Coronavirus pandemic has strengthened South Korea’s image as a developed country with an advanced market and a strong consumer culture. Since most of our customers are foreign companies and the Korean market continued to operate, as usual, we enjoyed business growth.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Luckily we did not have to make any difficult choices. Although there are fewer visits and fewer business delegations to Korea, we receive many inquiries from foreign companies and foreign government bodies that are interested in the Korean market and want to learn about current business opportunities. Recently we also won a number of tenders to conduct market research and analysis in the Korean market in a number of sectors.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
We are heavy users of Google Workspace and all the services coming with it such as Gmail, Calendar, and Google Meet for video conference calls which these days are in use on a daily basis. Recently we have noticed growing demand by clients, special from China, to communicate by messaging apps, but as of today we mainly communicate by phone, email, or conference call with our overseas clients.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Our main competitors are local consulting and research firms. There are not many of them that focus on foreign clients, as we do, and even less is run by non-Korean. We see this as a significant advantage, as we know how to identify the difficulties and needs of foreign companies in the Korean market. This allows us to offer the services that local consulting firms do not know how to offer. We have the same point of view, but at the same time our team is made up of Korean professionals, so we know how to interpret and adapt the solution to the problem.
Your Final Thoughts
Since I founded KOISRA in 2009, South Korea has changed a lot. Doing business in South Korea is becoming more accessible than ever before, but there are still business barriers. Our focus at KOISRA is to assist foreign companies in entering the Korean market only where we have the best added value. I believe 2022 will be a better year for everyone. A year in which most of the world will overcome the crisis caused by the Coronavirus.
- Spokesperson: Eyal Victor Mamou
- Company: KOISRA
- Website link: https://www.koisra.co.kr