Indiana accelerates electric vehicle, mobility ambitions with new South Korea office

The office, run by Narai Kim and Max Kim, will concentrate on attracting new foreign direct investment in advanced sectors like energy, mobility, hard tech, advanced manufacturing and life sciences.

Narai Kim and Max Kim

Indiana has launched an office in Seoul, South Korea, announced Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers.

This initiative, led by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), aims to facilitate engagement with Korean companies and capture the momentum in industries such as energy, electric vehicles and semiconductors.

The IEDC’s Seoul office, which officially opened on July 1, is the second such expansion this year, and the eighth international office in the state’s portfolio. The development comes as the result of South Korean companies and their joint venture partners pledging over $6 billion in recent capital investment in Indiana.

“Indiana’s new Seoul office underscores the importance of the state’s deepening relationships with Korean companies and their increased interest in a dynamic Hoosier workforce and economy,” said Chambers. “With more than $6 billion of recently announced capital investment from Korean companies and their JV partners, an IEDC office in Korea is a further commitment to building high-tech, future-focused investments and job opportunities to the Hoosier state. After visiting with government and industry leaders in Seoul twice over the past year, I’m confident that Indiana and South Korea share similar visions for our futures and that investing in our growing partnership will deliver mutually beneficial results in industry and innovation.”

The office, run by Narai Kim and Max Kim, will concentrate on attracting new foreign direct investment in advanced sectors like energy, mobility, hard tech, advanced manufacturing and life sciences. Narai Kim, with a career spanning 15 years in international B2B, B2G and G2G projects in the advanced manufacturing sector, will take the helm as director. Max Kim, who has a background in the manufacturing and energy sector with expertise in market research and project management, will assist as the office’s manager.

This expansion represents another step forward in Indiana’s growing economic relationship with South Korea, as evidenced by two state-led economic development trips to Korea within the last year. In August 2022, Gov. Eric Holcomb and Chambers made a trip to Seoul to explore investment opportunities in energy and electric vehicles. In March 2023, a delegation headed by Secretary Chambers participated in the InterBattery Conference, Korea’s leading battery exhibition, reflecting Indiana’s presence in global technological frontiers.

With 14 South Korean companies setting up operations in Indiana, the state’s international business footprint continues to expand. Recent investments include those from Jaewon Industrial, Soulbrain MI, and Samsung SDI. Jaewon Industrial is setting up its first U.S. facility in Kokomo to support chemical recycling for lithium-ion battery manufacturers. Soulbrain MI, a top-tier supplier for the electric vehicle industry, is investing $76.5 million to establish operations in Kokomo. Samsung SDI is investing in two significant joint ventures to construct new EV battery manufacturing facilities with Stellantis in Kokomo and with General Motors in New Carlisle. In addition, six Indiana-based companies have operations in South Korea, further strengthening this intercontinental synergy.

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