KOTA KINABALU: Leveraging on the popularity of the Korean wave, the Korean Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries has set up K•FISH trade support centre in Kuala Lumpur in June 2018 to establish collaborations with local distributors to import and promote quality Korean seafood products to Malaysia.
Managing director of K•FISH in Malaysia, Lee Dong Jun, said the centre is currently collaborating with more than 10 companies to bring a taste of Korea to Malaysians.
As a government organization, K•FISH trade support centre provides financial support to the distributors for their marketing, promotion and advertising for Korean seafood products, as well as connects distributors to the right partners and products.
Since the inception of centre, the export volume and value of Korean seafood to Malaysia has grown significantly from USD8.6 million (1,656 tons) in 2018, USD7.7 million (1,649 tons) in 2019, to USD9.9 million (4,173 tons) in 2020.
As of September this year, Malaysia has imported 7,741 tons of seafood worth USD12 million from Korea.
With the growing popularity of Korean products and collaborations with local distributors, Lee believes that the export volume of Korean seafood to Malaysia will reach greater heights.
He said the K•FISH trade support centre is ready to facilitate Malaysian distributors in choosing the right Korean seafood suppliers, as well as to support the marketing and promotion of the products to local consumers.
In East Malaysia, K•FISH collaborates with Sabah-based Siew Ha Trading Sdn Bhd to bring in seafood products, and soon, live seafood from Korea to the local market.
“Siew Ha is the fastest growing company K•FISH works with. The company is now the leading distributor of K•FISH in Malaysia,” Lee said.
Siew Ha Trading Sdn Bhd was founded in 2015 by Percy Siew as a distributor of Korean products, ranging from fruits, vegetables, foodstuff, frozen food and beverages. The company also operates a retail store at Jesselton Mall, which doubles as a studio for live sale of new products in collaboration with K•Fish on Soil & Seeds – Live Facebook page.
In 2018, K•FISH reached out to Siew Ha and expressed its intention to introduce the company to Korean seafood products.
“We tasted the samples and they were delicious. K•FISH is good at selecting the products because the items they recommended to us are widely accepted by local consumers.
“With the assistance from K•FISH, we are able to offer to customers a broad variety of Korean seafood products,” Siew said.
Among the bestselling Korean seafood products are fish meat corn dog, fish sausage, seaweed, shrimp nugget and seaweed noodle.
Aside from recommending products, she said K•FISH also supports the marketing efforts of the company by providing photography and poster design services for Korean seafood products.
“When we are doing live sales, K•FISH helps to take photographs of the products and design posters for us to post on our Facebook page.
“K•FISH also provides links to our company on its own Facebook posts to direct clients to us.”
Furthermore, she said the trade support centre provides consultancy on how Siew Ha could further improve on its live Facebook sales.
Thanks to K•FISH, Siew said local consumers are more aware of Korean seafood products and this is reflected in the growing demand for such products in the market.
“We are grateful for the tremendous support and assistance K•FISH has given us.”
Moving forward, she said the company will be importing ready-to-eat packed frozen sliced flounder sashimi from Korea.
With the help from K•FISH, the company plans to import live seafood such as oysters, abalone, octopuses, spoon worms and sea squirts from Korea, which will soon be available at local supermarkets and Korean restaurants.
“We believe that Korean live seafood will be well received here because customers like variety in their food.
“The live seafood will be popular among Korean tourists as well, when they return to Sabah.”
Those who are interested in importing seafood products from South Korea to Malaysia, feel free to contact K•FISH Trade Support Centre in Malaysia at 03-27328411 or visit K•FISH Malaysia Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KFISHKLMY