My colleague, Dom LaVigne, has deep experience working with Asian governments in the area of foreign direct investment, so as I was getting ready to present to the GyeongGi Province advisors last month, I asked him for a little advice.
Dom doesn't do things half-way though and he put together a remarkably long and helpful list of questions/insights before our online meeting to coach me before the event. While the setting for my presentation to GyeongGi Province wasn't really conducive to a Q&A approach, Dom's notes cover the range of areas a complete conversation would address.
He even had some suggestions at the end about how we could make it a joint presentation. We'll have to do that next time, though, since Dom's still back in the US.
In my future communications with others on the GyeongGi Province advisors board, I plan to keep these in mind so that over time, I can learn and propose in ways that add the most value to my position.
(I took the photo above on March 24, 2010 from the hill where Smith Company of the US Army first engaged North Korean invading forces as they headed south from Seoul. Today, this ground which was covered by dozens of Korean tanks penetrating the US position is the site of massive construction of Dongtan New City, immediately south of Suweon. My meeting with the Gyeonggi Province advisors was held in Suweon.)
Notes from Dom LaVigne
1. Overview of GG Advisory Position and Responsibilities (Steven)
a. How many advisors on the council?
b. Group makeup – i.e., all foreigners, mix, KR govt officials, any AmCham/EuroCham reps?
c. Is your role intended to represent primarily American expat interests, or would you be an advocate for all expat nationalities?
d. How often will the council meet?
e. How long will the meetings be (i.e., one hour, two hours)?
2. Overview of GG FDI Promotional Efforts (Steven)
a. How is the GG govt structured to promote FDI? Who heads its efforts?
b. Are there govt orgs tasked with FDI attraction and helping local SMEs globalize?
c. What industries have been key in GG’s economic growth so far?
d. Which industries is it targeting for the future?
e. Are there any govt arms to look after foreigners/expats’ interests (e.g., akin to Seoul Business Center)?
f. What is GG currently doing re. social media and social networking?
g. Is GG doing any coordinated FDI promotional stuff with KR federal authorities (InvestKorea, KITA) or with other provinces?
h. Does GG have a close relationship and ongoing dialogues with foreign partners (e.g., US Embassy, chambers of commerce)?
i. Does it have formalized mechanisms in place for attracting foreign businesses, addressing investor concerns, to help facilitate easier visa applications, etc. (a “one-stop shop”?
3. Advisory Postion: Case Study / Benchmarking (Dom)
a. Singapore case study
Not completely relevant to Korea, but Dom will share briefly
i. EDB, IE Singapore (iAdvisors Program), Tourism Board, SICC, SBF
b. Malaysia case study
i. How Malaysia appoints and works with expat advisors
1. Key foreign players (AMCHAM, EuroCham, BritCham, GerCham) + locals (MICCI, FMM)
2. Dialogues (Permuda, NEAC, MITI, MDTCA)
3. Specific agencies (MITI, MDeC, MIDA, MDTCA, Home Affairs)
4. State/Municipal Govts (Penang)
5. MDeC/MIDA trade missions
6. Analysis of expat advisors and commitments expected by govt, length and frequencies of meetings
4. Ideas for GG FDI-Promotion Activities (Dom)
a. Council of Advisors who meet with Governor quarterly
b. Centralized FDI-promotion agency – i.e., the EDB of GG
c. Unique branding/marketing – what makes GG different? (Dom can also recommend branding advisor.)
d. Focused sectoral development. Does GG have adequate educational and local supply-chain infrasture to support this? If not, how long to develop?
e. Education: Are GG students employable? What are the advantages/disadv’s to local and foreign companies of GG workers, and where are skills needed to be upgraded (share Penang example)?
f. Does GG have officials targeting key markets (e.g., China, India, SE Asia, US, Europe, South America)?
g. Develop a clear PPT package that outlines InvestGG – stats, current investors, future investors, incentive packages, highlighting top foreign investor names/profiles.
h. Great KBC recommendation on “success stories” for GG’s promotional efforts. I’ve attached one done by US Chamber, used to lobby Congress for passage of US-Singapore FTA.
i. Trade missions – inbound & outbound. If US, important to include DC (Dom to cite MDeC example).
j. Develop foreign contacts – i.e., invite US Amb to visit GG for briefings plus visits to US company facilities (Dom to share KL/SIN examples)
k. GG to be proactive and ask AmCham if they would like to feature Governor at member-wide luncheon, re. briefing on GG
l. Invite chambers’ members for tours out to GG, lunch, mtgs with govt officials (Dom to cite MDeC cooperation in KL).
m. Alert chambers and embassies if GG having visitors from US/other countries (I’ll explain why re. how this happened in MY/SIN).
n. Intended tech parks in GG? Dom to share example of SembCorp Parks Mgt in CN/VN.
o. GG town-hall meetings with foreign biz/govt communities annually.
p. GG visits to EDB, MIDA, TEDA, etc. to benchmark what they are doing?
5. Social Networking / Social Media Ideas (Dom):
a. Review GG web site – easy for investors to navigate? Contact info apparent and useful? List of officials with contact details (e.g., www.sgdi.gov.sg)? Definite advantage if done well – first impression created of GG by potential investors.
b. All relevant GG personnel should get LinkedIn accts and assign particular officials to KR-related groups (e.g., Korea Network, Expats & Koreans, FDI group, Korea Finance) as well as other market-specific ones (e.g., Singapore Global)
c. Relevant GG personnel to get signed up on KBC, introduce themselves, let people know they are there to help with FDI, and perhaps some background on industries they represent, market focus, how people can contact them.
d. GG Governor or other senior personnel to participate in a bi-monthly Skype video roundtable discussion with relevant KBC members.
e. Facebook? I’m not a fan of it for biz networking, but could be a good tool for them to get involved.
f. GG to setup InvestGG forum on LinkedIn.
g. PR/media: Forgot to mention this above, but they must do aggressive, targeted, smart media outreach, including bringing in media to GG (Dom to share SG 2004 example).
6. Your Presentation on Feb 19 (Dom)
a. Bits and bites and highlights from #2-#5 above – depending on your specific role to them (as US liaison or general expat liaison, plus social media expert) can be customized accordingly.
7. What Can I Contribute?
Depending on how GG is setup currently to attract FDI, market themselves overseas, etc., they might need someone quite senior to head up this area, or to work as a liaison to the governor and InvestGG on developing their strategy, determining resources and budgets needed, and building networks with the foreign business and govt communities, as well as planning inbound/outbound missions.
a. By the end of our discussion, likely some light bulbs will be going off in your head.
b. Having an advisory panel is fantastic, but if GG doesn’t have an internal (full-time) resource already who is set to work with the advisors and foreign biz community, it is not practical to expect an advisor to take all this on their shoulders (I’ll cite a M’sia example).
c. If my ideas resound well with GG:
i. Setup Skype videoconf introductions?
ii. Point above and/or if GG could cover my travel expenses and a consulting fee for my time, I’d go and spend a week there to see firsthand the investment, meet with companies, talk with GG govt, have strategy briefings like what we’re doing, and ultimately prepare a report/recommendations/gameplan on what I think they could/should do to attract FDI.
iii. From Point II, hopefully they would see the value of bringing me on-board, and (ideally) either discuss that during my trip to GG, or upon their seeing the final report.