Reading Time : 7 Minutes
First & foremost thank you to CNE Global & team for the 2nd opportunity to visit Korea! Never knew I would visit & experience Korean business culture so soon again. This trip was exhausting from the travelling, but nevertheless rewarding.
Delayed flights with long waiting hours never do stop my excitement of travelling to another country. Random searches from google beforehand revealed a slew of dark grey days ahead in Korea. Upon arrival, the meeting of other Malaysian businesses made me felt finally less alone. The previous trip with Wesley was one of many firsts, with this trip having a more familiar ring to it. Meeting Jenny & Jon was great, as the three J’s (including this J over here) set out to embark on our expected meetings to come.
The bus next day was brutal, having to climb up to it at 5.30AM in the morning. The GTI expo was held at the far East of South Korea, in a province called Dong Hae which is famous for the beaches there.
Upon arrival to Dong Hae & GTI Expo Grounds, I was greeted by a super familiar face, Debbie! My previous interpreter from my 1st trip. She was also very shocked when she found out that we were paired up again, and the participants this round weren’t little either!
The Expo halls was huge, with the location being in the middle of a stadium. GTI Expo had a good mix of various industries here, some being snacks, health herbs, lots of ginseng or root looking medicine, pets, constructions, and lastly beauty & skincare. Scouting new items for Chericheri.co has always been daunting, as it seems that there are always a sea of unlimited brands popping up in Korea, just like how their idol system works!
A few interesting brands was apparent here, but the usuals are still aplenty.
In business, it is always very crucial to attempt and standout among the competitors, with the usual 4P’s being highly relevant even to this modern day. A Product that is too common will be hard to stand out; a price that is unattractive will cut down interests from buyers; a wrong focused location or platform to sell the product will have the wrong target audience on them; and having the wrong promotions will all together make the whole package look unattractive and dull.
Met with Newland All Nature & Co that manufactures a variety of unique products with certain standout characteristics in them. Hope to see some of their products in the local shores soon!
It was the usual stroll with Debbie and me in the halls when it happened. Debbie, my interpreter, went over to a popular Korean snack stall, and just decided to take a buckwheat spiral cracker just like that. She then took a business card from the store owner and left with his bank account written on it. This being a highly peculiar thing sparked my curiosity with the conversation as follows.
Jason: “Wow what was that Debbie? You just took the snack without paying?
Debbie: “Yeahp, because I did not bring cash and the seller did not have a credit card terminal around. So, I will just bank in the money later when I have more time.”
Jason: “Was he a friend?”
Debbie: “Nope, a stranger.”
Jason: “Wouldn’t he be afraid you would just steal the crackers and not pay back?
Debbie: “I don’t think he needs to be afraid. He said he trusts me.”
Jason: “Huh? But Why?”
Debbie: “Because we Koreans are just like that.”
I totally had NO comeback for that! When someone tells you, that things are just the way it is, how else could you rebut such a statement? It sounded so natural, that things were expected to be understood just the way it is.
There’s this universal currency called Trust, has anyone invested? Highly speculative yet the value never fluctuates.
This awesome quote coming from Heislyc came at just the right time as my mind still had to comprehend what just happened right before my eyes.
One thing I have learned during my travels is that trust is a culture. You either have a whole country filled with people that just trust each other, or a country full of uncertainties that make you question everything that happens there.
Countries like Singapore & Korea have a lot of trust among their people. The legendary “put your bag to book a place” happens everywhere & anywhere across the country. Whereas certain countries that I have been to have questionable safety and trust issues among the citizens there.
In Korea, it is so strong and apparent that people even conduct businesses or trade purely based on trust which I highly commend.
I wish to trust people a lot. I wish to believe that many people out there have their own goals to achieve, and not agendas to scheme. Being in business for the past few years, I can say I am blessed to not face any unscrupulous deals or businessmen yet. However so, I myself maintain a high alert whenever I get into meetings, or into deals I am not certain of the outcome. It is sad to say, reality still differs a lot than the ideal environment all of us wish to live in.
From here, I believe that trust is a culture that has to be cultivated and practiced not only to other businessmen, but to our own people first. Trusting my partners for their choices and decisions; trusting my team to do their best; and also to trust in myself to achieve the goals I have set in my life. A very bold and strong word indeed, and one I believe many often take for granted.