South Korea

Clusters in South Korea have emerged recently, under the influence of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and take place in the shape of mini-clusters, located within industrial complexes. The EU and South Korea have developed a stable economic relationship over time, which has naturally given rise to a bilateral cooperation on cluster development. Such bilateral cooperation on cluster development has been formalised thanks to the signature of an MoU between the European Commission and MOTIE, in 2018.

Economic and political context and framework

South Korea is considered to have a very stable macroeconomic and political environment, with an innovative economy. South Korea has well managed to combine economic growth and poverty reduction. Between 1962 and 1994, Korea’s GDP grew on average by 10 % annually. Such growth is the result of a strongly export-oriented economy.


The sectoral strengths of Korea are the agrofood industry, the medical sector, the chemical industry, and the machinery and automotive industry. South Korea’s sectoral strength on the rise is the green technology, a booming sector, well structured and heavily supported by public policies.

Cluster community in the country

KICOX (Korea Industrial Complex) is the central contact point for policy dialogue on cluster collaboration in South Korea. KICOX is appointed by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE). The platform for South Korea clusters is organized by KICOX. In Korea, clusters are known as “Mini Clusters”, and they are typically located within industrial complexes or technology parks. Korea currently counts 62 industrial complexes nationwide, covering a large variety of industrial sectors and being spread over all Korean regions.

Cluster policies encouraging the development and internationalisation of clusters

KICOX (Korea Industrial Complex) is responsible for the development of international programs for the development of clusters in South Korea.

Cluster to cluster cooperation opportunities and potential interest from European clusters and SMEs

A number of EU clusters and SMEs have already collaborated with Korean counterparts. An exchange was notably supported through the EU project KORANET that organised a "KOREA-EU Cluster Cooperation Workshop” in 2011.


A number of exchanges have also taken place in 2015 and 2016 between EU clusters and different Korean actors. There are interesting examples of formal agreements signed directly between European clusters and South Korean organisations, such as an MoU between the Belgium competitive cluster WAGRALIM with KFRI, the Korea Food Research Institute.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the DG GROWTH of the European Commission and Motie and Kicox in 2018, to foster cluster collaboration. Read less.




Date Name Target Type
Wednesday, 6 May, 2020 - 11:00 The EU-Korea Cluster Matchmaking Event and World IT Show, 6-8 May 2020, Seoul Cluster managers, Cluster Policy Makers Matchmaking
Monday, 21 September, 2020 - 09:00 Environment & Water Technologies: EU Gateway | Business Avenues mission to the Republic of Korea in 2020 SME Matchmaking
Monday, 25 May, 2020 - 09:00 Business opportunity for European design companies in Korea SME Matchmaking
Monday, 25 May, 2020 - 09:00 Business opportunity for European design companies in Korea SME Matchmaking
Monday, 16 March, 2020 - 09:00 EU Gateway | Business Avenues opens doors to the Korean healthcare market SME Matchmaking
Monday, 3 February, 2020 - 09:00 Time is ripe for European green energy companies to expand to Korea SME Matchmaking
Monday, 18 November, 2019 - 09:00 Tap into opportunities within Korea’s organic food and beverage market SME Matchmaking
Monday, 23 September, 2019 - 09:00 Environment & Water Technologies to Korea in 2019 SME Matchmaking
Tuesday, 6 November, 2018 - 09:00 EU-Korea Cluster Matchmaking Event Cluster managers, Project coordinators Matchmaking
Monday, 11 March, 2019 - 09:00 EU-funded opportunity in 2019 for Healthcare & Medical Technologies to Korea: plan ahead, apply now SME Matchmaking



ESCP-4i News


ESCP-4is targetting this country

Acronym Name Sector(s) Targeted third countries No. of SME involved No. of Partners
ALLIANCE Alliance for international business development of advanced materials and connectivity for defence and security markets Aerospace Vehicles and Defence

OTHER INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIESOther Industrial TechnologiesTextiles TechnologyWoven technical textiles for industrial applications
Japan, Republic of Korea (South Korea), United States 0 7
bioXclusters plus ESCP on Personalised Healthcare Biopharmaceuticals

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCESMedicine, Human HealthPharmaceutical Products / Drugs
Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Republic of Korea (South Korea), United States 880 4
ELBE Europe Leading Blue Energy Electric Power Generation and Transmission

ENERGYEnergy production, transmission and conversionGenerators, electric engines and power converters
Canada, China, Japan, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Taiwan, United States 467 5
FoodNet Food In Eco Network Transportation and Logistics

Algeria, Canada, China, India, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Turkmenistan, United States, Uzbekistan 362 5
LASER-GO GLOBAL European Cluster Partnership in Photonics for Health Lighting and Electrical Equipment

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCESMedicine, Human HealthMedical Technology / Biomedical Engineering
Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Singapore, United States 240 6
New Frontier in Food New Frontiers for Emerging Industries in Food Food Processing and Manufacturing

AGROFOOD INDUSTRYTechnologies for the food industryFood Technology
Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Taiwan, Thailand, United States 514 4