Representatives of South Korean construction companies and related associations gathered at a forum hosted by KOTRA on Wednesday to discuss how to achieve a rebound in the global market. Among the challenges they discussed were low oil prices and increased competition from Chinese companies.
Over the last five years, Korean companies saw the value of their overseas contracts drop from $65.2 billion in 2013 to $29 billion last year -- mainly the result of a plunge in oil prices and the stronger presence of Chinese companies in the Middle Eastern market, according to the International Contractors Association of Korea.
“The biggest challenge for Korean construction companies is the lack of motivation for a rebound,” said Son Tae-hong, a researcher at the Construction Economy Research Institute of Korea.
Son said the nation should build up its capacity in a strategic manner to improve the competitiveness of its construction companies, considering that global infrastructure investment is expected to reach $94 trillion by 2040.
Kim Yong-koo, director of Dohwa Engineering, said, “There should be active strategies (to encourage) the fostering of professionals, the diversification of overseas markets and the development of new business models.”
Lim Han-kyu, director of the Korea Overseas Infrastructure & Urban Development Corporation, stressed the need for Korean companies to participate in public-private partnerships -- that is, partnerships between government agencies and private-sector companies -- and outlined a few notable successes.
Kwon Pyung-oh, president and CEO of KOTRA, said, “KOTRA will stand with related organizations to help Korean construction companies (achieve a) rebound in the global market.”
By Shin Ji-hye(email@example.com