Qatar is still primed to be an export hub for South Korean high-tech products, particularly light emitting diode (LED), according to an embassy official, who said plans to establish an LED manufacturing facility in the country remains on track.
A South Korean consortium composed of some 11 small and medium companies specialising in LED technology are still in discussion with their Qatari counterparts, including Qatar Development Bank (QDB), according to Jungsik Choi, first secretary at the South Korean embassy in Doha.
Once operational, the LED facility in Qatar will cater to the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) market. But the project, which was expected to be operational by the end of 2017, has faced a series of delays since details of the plan were announced in 2014.
The latest was the economic blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt in June last year. The changes in the manufacturing facility’s target market caused by the blockade prompted the consortium to renew the project’s feasibility study, according to Choi.
“The project’s target market includes the GCC region but after the blockade, the situation in the market has changed drastically,” Choi explained to Gulf Times on Sunday.
He said, “Qatar Development Bank, which provides around 70% of the investments, had asked the South Korean consortium to renew the manufacturing facility’s feasibility study. With a smaller GCC market now, there was a need to determine ways to secure a larger market volume.”
The LED manufacturing facility is part of South Korea’s efforts to diversify from Qatar’s construction sector where it is one of the major players participating in big-ticket infrastructure projects.
In 2014, the South Korean government selected 12 engines for its economic programmes, which include nanotechnology, information technology (IT), battery manufacturing, robotics, special textiles, biomedicine, and special chemicals, among others.
Aside from LED manufacturing, South Korea wants to share with Qatar its expertise and technology in the fields of aquaculture and agriculture, particularly smart farming, according to ambassador Kim Chang-mo.
Choi reiterated that the South Korean consortium “is keen on pursuing this project” with the aim of making Qatar an export hub for their products, specifically LED technologies.
“The South Korean companies participating in the project are currently studying alternative markets that could replace the four blockading countries once operation of the manufacturing facility is online. The project is still on track. In fact, the Qatari government had already identified a location site for the LED manufacturing plant,” said Choi.
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