South Korean firms H2O & K-BTS Consortium join Abu Dhabi’s innovation ecosystem

By Arya M Nair, Intern Reporter
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Korean companies join Abu Dhabi innovation ecosystem
Image Courtesy; ADIO

The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) has welcomed two South Korean companies, H2O Hospitality (H2O) and Korean Best Team for Smart Farm Consortium (K-BTS Consortium) to the UAE capital’s innovation ecosystem.

K-BTS Consortium consists of Pomit, Nongshim, Agro Solution Korea and MS Group. The companies plan to set up in Abu Dhabi during South Korean President Mr. Yoon Suk Yeol’s state visit to the UAE.

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

Abdulla Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi_ADIO welcomes 2 Korean firms
Abdulla Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi
Acting Director-General
ADIO

“Collaboration between the UAE and South Korea spans decades and is interwoven across many sectors. In recent years, Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem and infrastructure have proven to be the ideal foundation for innovative South Korean companies like Bespin Global, H2O and K-BTS Consortium looking to establish or expand their regional operations. ADIO is delighted to welcome the latest generation of South Korean companies to Abu Dhabi and looks forward to them building on our shared history to bring new ideas and solutions to life.”

H2O automates the front and back-end process of hotel operation by digitally converting existing manual hotel tasks, enabling paperless and contactless hotel operations that increase greater efficiency and profitability. H2O currently manages over 40,000 rooms in Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia, and will establish its MEA HQ in Abu Dhabi, including an R&D facility and digital transformation academy for the hospitality industry. Once operational, H2O MEA will support Abu Dhabi’s leadership in the smart tourism and hospitality digital transformation spaces.

Mr. John LEE, Founder & CEO of H2O Hospitality, said that “H2O leads Digital Transformation of hotels in major tourist cities around the world, allowing hotels to reinforce sustainability without relying on booking agencies. Recently, the tourism industry in the Middle East, such as Dubai Expo, GITEX, D33 and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, is attracting attention worldwide. We want to create synergies together and support the UAE to become the center of the global tourism industry.”

K-BTS Consortium will leverage Abu Dhabi’s AgTech leadership to operate six smart farms producing fresh Korean strawberries year-round in the UAE capital. 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 and consists of Pomit, Nongshim, Agro Solution Korea and MS Group. The estimated investment into Abu Dhabi’s economy is $16 million. The Korean consortium will benefit from Abu Dhabi’s innovation ecosystem to increase the efficiency of sustainable farming and continue expanding the availability of quality, locally-grown produce.

Mr. Sang Hoon YANG, Managing Director of K-BTS MENA Office, Pomit, said that “First of all, we, K-BTS Consortium, would like to thank Korean Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, KOTRA and ADIO. Without a second thought, we have chosen Abu Dhabi as the first country in GCC to localize Korean Strawberry Smart Farm technologies because the strawberry Smart Farm requires the highest-end AgTech-related infrastructures and markets for premium and high-end products. We plan to expand to other Middle East countries, Africa and Europe based on the success in Abu Dhabi in near future. K-BTS Consortium will go with the local partner beyond K-Strawberry to other high-value crops.”

Related: Doha-based Imperial Holding & Korea’s Kogas Tech collaborate on LNG projects


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