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Emirates News Agency – Two new Korean companies join Abu Dhabi’s innovation ecosystem

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ABU DHABI, 17th January, 2023 (WAM) — The Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO, today welcomed the latest two South Korean companies to join the UAE capital’s innovation ecosystem.

H2O Hospitality (H2O) and the best team of the Korean Smart Farm Alliance (K-BTS alliance formed by Pomit, Nongshim, Agro Solution Korea and MS Group) announce plans to launch in Abu Dhabi during Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol’s State Affairs to UAE access.

H2O, a digital transformation company in the hospitality and leisure industry, and AgTech consortium K-BTS Consortium will grow Korean strawberry varieties from six new smart farms that will benefit from Abu Dhabi’s innovation ecosystem and commitment to transforming industries such as agriculture and hospitality through technology.

Abu Dhabi is a mature growth market for Korean companies, and in 2021 ADIO opened an office in Seoul to develop a new relationship between the two ecosystems.

Backed by ADIO, Bespin Global, a leading cloud technology consulting and management company, recently opened its MEA Headquarters in Abu Dhabi with a Cloud Operations Center and Bespin Global Training Academy. In December, Bespin Global formed a joint venture with UAE-based e& enterprise, part of e& (formerly Etisalat Group), to provide cloud management and professional services in the Middle East, Turkey, Africa and Pakistan (METAP) region.

Abdulla Abdul Aziz AlShamsi, Acting Director-General of ADIO, said: “The cooperation between the UAE and South Korea spans decades and is intertwined in many areas. In recent years, Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem and infrastructure have proven to be innovative in South Korea. An ideal base for companies such as Bespin Global, H2O and K-BTS Consortium looking to establish or expand their regional presence.

“ADIO is delighted to welcome the latest generation of Korean companies to Abu Dhabi and looks forward to them building on our shared history and bringing new ideas and solutions to life.”

H2O automates the front-end and back-end processes of hotel operations by digitally transforming existing manual hotel tasks, enabling paperless and contactless hotel operations, thereby increasing efficiency and profitability. H2O currently manages more than 40,000 rooms in Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia, and will establish its MEA headquarters in Abu Dhabi, including an R&D facility and Academy for Digital Transformation in the Hospitality Industry.

Once operational, the H2O MEA will support Abu Dhabi’s leadership in the digital transformation of smart tourism and hospitality.

John LEE, founder and CEO of H2O Hospitality, said: “H2O leads the digital transformation of hotels in major tourist cities around the world, allowing hotels to strengthen sustainable development without relying on booking agencies. Recently, the tourism industry in the Middle East, such as the Dubai World Expo, GITEX, D33 and the Qatar 2022 World Cup have been in the spotlight globally. Together, we hope to create synergies and support the UAE as a global hub for tourism.”

K-BTS Consortium will leverage Abu Dhabi’s AgTech leadership to operate six smart farms across the UAE capital, producing fresh Korean strawberries year-round. Korean strawberry varieties are known for their size, sweetness and taste.

Korean Best Team for Smart Farm Consortium is a joint venture with local strategic partner Al Marina Holding, consisting of Pomit, Nongshim, Agro Solution Korea and MS Group. The estimated investment in the Abu Dhabi economy is US$ 16 million. The Korean consortium will benefit from Abu Dhabi’s innovative ecosystem to improve the efficiency of sustainable farming and continue to expand the supply of locally grown, high-quality produce.

Sang Hoon YANG, Managing Director of Pomit Middle East and North Africa Office, said: “We chose Abu Dhabi as the first country in the GCC to localize Korean strawberry smart farm technology because strawberry smart farms require the highest-end AgTech-related infrastructure and Market premium and high-end products. We plan to expand to other Middle Eastern countries, Africa and Europe in the near future based on the success of Abu Dhabi. The K-BTS Consortium will work with local partners beyond K-Strawberry to other high-end value crops.”

H2O and K-BTS Consortium were in the UAE to participate in the Korea-UAE Business Forum in Abu Dhabi, which was attended by more than 120 Korean government officials and businesses.

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