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Seoul seeks partnership with Indonesia in auto business

The South Korean government on Friday held the first Korea-Indonesia Automotive Dialogue, in line with the administration’s New South Policy initiative, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The event, held at Lotte Hotel Seoul, took place as a follow-up to President Moon Jae-in’s state visit to the Southeast Asian state in November last year. After signing a memorandum of understanding on bilateral industrial cooperation, top officials of both states have sought to expand partnership, especially in the auto industry.

During the event, trade officials underlined that Seoul -- the world’s sixth-largest car manufacturing state -- not only has access to high-quality auto parts but is known for its advanced technologies in lucrative new business sectors, such as electric cars, hydrogen vehicles and autonomous vehicles.

(Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy)
(Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy)

Indonesia accounts for about one-third of ASEAN’s auto market, with a sales volume of 1 million units as of the end of last year. The figure is expected to climb to 1.45 million units by 2025, according to ministry officials.

The Indonesian car market, however, has so far been dominated by Japanese brands, which hold a 97 percent majority while Korean brands stood at 0.2 percent.

“(The latest event) will provide significant momentum for bilateral industrial cooperation and the expansion of (Korean) carmakers in Indonesia in the forthcoming years,” said an official.

Closer industrial ties with Seoul will also help Indonesia gain renewed attention in the auto business and consequently help it advance into a regional hub, according to Seoul’s ministry.

By Bae Hyun-jung (