The Korean boating industry is growing through increased exports, shown by a larger presence at METSTRADE this year, together with a developing domestic boating market.

There was a significant expansion of Korean representation at the METSTRADE Show in Amsterdam, with 14 companies from the leisure marine industry in Korea exhibiting, a 150% increase in the number of participating companies compared to 2016. Korea has participated in the show for the past five years, when the first Korean Pavilion in 2013 had just five companies represented.

According to Kihyun Daria Kim, who manages the Korean Pavilion at METSTRADE and is also part of the Korea International Boat Show (KIBS) team: “The Korean Pavilion is getting bigger every year and we are expecting that the Korean Pavilion will grow again in 2018 considering the growing number of marine leisure companies in Korea who are developing their global competitiveness and are interested in METSTRADE to increase their international presence.

“Some of the companies in the Korean Pavilion also exhibited at IBEX in Tampa, Florida USA in September with the first Korean Pavilion in the USA market. We find that international buyers have good impressions about Korean marine leisure companies because they are equipped with high technology, offer good warranty and supply cost-effective products compared with our competitors in Japan and China.”

The Korean industry has been able to grow rapidly over the past 10 years due to the investment policy of the Korean government, assisting companies with R&D capabilities and also developing the domestic market by a plan to increase the number of marina facilities and the introduction of a technician training program. The strong economy in Korea, and a growing middle class with an expanding disposable income generated by a GDP of over US$30, 000 per head, has resulted in a strong interest in new leisure pursuits.

The strong economy, together with a long coastline of 12,607km, has been the driver behind the government plan to develop over 58 marinas by 2019 to accommodate the sharply increasing number of boat users and registered boats. The total number of boat driving licenses issued as of 2016 was 185,129 and the annual growth rate of the number of registered leisure boats over the last five years is averaging at 22.7% per year, the highest rate of growth  in the number of leisure boats in the Asian region.

Companies that exhibited in the Korean Pavilion this year include Pretech Marine, DJ Pump, BaekSan Propeller, Seafirst Engineering, Vision Marine, S.A.M. Tech, Hyundai SeasAll, Triton Marine, Total Technology, HLB, Xinnos, Heagang Marine, Wonpoong, and Korea R&D.