Chemistry and Materials – Australia and Korea are the Perfect Mix By Dr Scott Watkins, KISCO
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Chemistry and Materials – Australia and Korea are the Perfect Mix By Dr Scott Watkins, KISCO

Korea’s world-leading chemical, materials and electronics industries and Australia’s highly developed education and research sectors are ideally matched. This is paving the way for new relationships that can add to the trade and investment opportunities available in both countries.

From its extensive petrochemical processing industry through large-scale engineering to high precision electronics, Korea has a broad manufacturing base that produces high quality products for export around the world. Many of these companies are actively looking to support and commercialise the results of new research and development. This represents an enormous opportunity for Australian technology developers.

Australia has a strong track record of developing new technologies based on chemicals and materials more generally. Examples of Australian-developed technologies include a number of medicines and vaccines, such as penicillin and gardasil; polymer-based technologies, such as plastic banknotes, extended wear contact lenses and spray-on skin; and device-based technologies such as cochlear implants, black-box flight recorders and wifi protocols.

Australia’s strong research and development sector encompasses universities, CSIRO and the growing technology-based start-up community. Australia also has an increasingly tech-friendly investment community that is prepared to back and support the development of new materials, processes and devices. Local entrepreneurs and start-ups can find backing from crowd-funding, private venture capital firms, large institutional investors and public/private partnerships such as CSIRO’s Main Sequence Ventures.

Australia’s diverse social and education offerings are increasingly attracting Koreans to study and work in Australia. Korean students studying in Australia and Korean employees seconded to Australian partners or collaborators, benefit from working in a foreign country that is highly welcoming of them and on a similar time zone, important for maintaining effective social and business connections. Building a large cohort of Koreans with experience working in and with Australians on the development of technologies is providing a stronger bridge for sharing commercialisation opportunities between the two countries.

Australia’s highly multicultural population provides opportunities to rapidly develop and test products for their global applicability. Australian marketing firms, many of which have responsibility for global portfolios, are well positioned to help Korean companies communicate the benefits of their products around the world.

The success of Korean companies in developing truly global products across the chemical and electronics sectors is built on a world-class, large-scale manufacturing industry. This industry has benefited from long-term planning, a highly trained workforce and Korea’s strongly trade-focused economy. Korean industry also complies with the highest social and environmental standards ensuring safe and reliable supply of products. This is particularly important in the chemical industry where a greater focus on environmental sustainability across Asia is having enormous effects on product supply chains.

As the economic and social connections between Australia and Korea continue to increase it is very clear that there are enormous opportunities to build a strongly connected pipeline from invention through development and production between the two countries.

Dr Scott Watkins

Chief Marketing Officer, KISCO