On Monday 9th of March CITO representatives Linn Hantoft and Tommy Engqvist visited Höganäs in Seoul, South Korea. They met Frank Song who is the Country Manager of South Korea. Frank has worked for Höganäs for 18 years and started there because he was tempted to work with sales for a foreign company. Höganäs was a good choice because he had a background in Material Science. The company’s major product is iron metal powder, which is used in a wide range of products instead of steel to reduce cost. The metal powder is pressed into a specific shape and then heated up in order to harden. It is commonly used for devices in engines in the automobile industry and for fast welding speed in the shipbuilding industry which both are important industries in South Korea.
Höganäs started their business in South Korea in 1970 through an agent and in 1992 they established their own office. The company has been growing partly because of Hyundai’s development in the car manufacturing industry where Höganäs is one of their suppliers. In 2012 they opened a plant in Busan, in the south part of South Korea, where they mix the metal powder that is produced in Höganäs, Sweden, with other components. They have ten people working in the plant and eight at their office in Seoul. At the moment there is no Swedish employee at the South Korean branch.
According to Frank Song, South Korea is developing quickly and Höganäs has a good opportunity to grow with it. Difficulties are that South Koreans want to make decision fast and have a strict hierarchy that they by tradition stick to. Also a language barrier exists. Interesting to know is that even when the economy is in downturn, Höganäs can grow. This is because companies are then looking for alternatives to reduce costs and it is at that moment the metal powder gets really interesting.
If you want to know more about Höganäs please visit www.hoganas.com