As the fourth largest economy in Asia and with a population of over 50 million people, South Korea's increasing demand for high-quality goods and services has provided export opportunities across a range of Victoria's market sectors.
Since the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) came into force in 2014, significant trade and export barriers have been removed improving access to the South Korean marketplace .
Opportunities for Victorians looking to do business with South Korea
Food & fibre
Victoria's global reputation as suppliers of premium quality, clean and healthy food – together with advantages in supply chain management – provides substantial export opportunities for Victorian agribusiness to meet South Korea’s increasing demand for high-quality beef and lamb, dairy, horticulture and healthy functional foods.
Melbourne, one of the world’s most liveable cities and Australia’s best student city, is recognised as a welcoming and cosmopolitan city, with Victoria’s world-class educational institutions offering high-quality and innovative programs and training to meet the needs of South Korean students seeking to study in Australia.
There are key opportunities for Victoria in developing academic and research partnerships to help prepare young Koreans for a global and industry-ready workforce. South Korea is often regarded as a relationship-based society, which values ongoing communications with partners and regular in-market branding activities.
In 2019, 55,500 visitors from South Korea spent A$170 million in Victoria.
The global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has deeply affected the tourism landscape in 2020. This unprecedented global crisis will have long lasting impacts on the visitor economy in Victoria. The negative impact of the crises was evident in the March quarter 2020 as visitors from South Korea declined 45.6 per cent compared to the March quarter in 2019.
Medtech, pharma & healthcare
South Korea's ageing population is generating an increased need for services and products in the health and pharma sectors.
Opportunities have emerged for Victoria's pharmaceutical, biotechnology and healthcare businesses specialising in innovative medical technologies, research and development and clinical trials for new drugs
South Korea’s ageing population is also driving changes in South Korea’s financial service industry as South Korean asset managers look to grow and diversify their assets portfolios.
FinTech is another area which is showing strong growth. Victoria’s strengths in both these areas provide opportunities for greater trade and investment.
South Korea’s beauty and personal care industry has been growing since 2013, with an annual growth rate of more than 13 per cent, making it the world’s 8th largest market.1
The increased market popularity of cosmeceutical products with sustainability features offer good opportunities for Victorian companies as do dermacosmetics.
- Korea Cosmetic Association
Demand for innovative software technologies has increased in South Korea as it transitions to a knowledge-based economy.
Victoria's leading digital technology sector is strongly placed to provide South Korea with digital and software solutions such as smart infrastructure, cloud and mobility computing, security, smart grids and smart cities.
- In 2019 South Korea was Victoria's ninth largest two-way merchandise trading partner, with goods valued at AUD3.1 billion.1
- There were over 55,500 South Korean visitors to Victoria in 2019.2
- 5110 international students from South Korea studied in Victoria in 2019.3
- The Republic of Korea is the 12th largest national economy in the world.4
- DFAT Database
- Business Victoria website, Tourism Industry Resources
- Department of Education and Training, 2019
- International Monetary Fund 2020
Discover how your business can export to South Korea
- Our Go Global export-readiness self-assessment tool will identify your business's gaps in capabilities and recommend next steps to bridge those gaps. Whether you're seeking to enter new markets, or expand into existing markets, Go Global will show you how to get there.
- Asialink Business' Republic of Korea Country Starter Pack provides a comprehensive guide to doing business in the Republic of Korea.
- The Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) office located in Seoul provides tailored market intelligence, insights and guidance for your export business. Seoul's VGTI office can also connect you with overseas buyers and industry partners in Korea.
- Austrade's Republic of Korea Market Profile provides further detail and facts about the Korean market.
- The Victorian Government provides support through a range of grants, vouchers and assistance programs.
- The International Chamber House (ICH) in Melbourne's city centre is a business networking hub for international bilateral chambers and business associations. It provides members access to meeting rooms with video-conferencing, flexible workspaces, and a function space for international business development events
- Visit our regional insights page to read seasonal updates from our Regional Specialists.