The Catalan cluster experience presented at the Korean cluster day 2018

Submitted by Lucia Seel on 01 November 2018

On 23rd October 2018 KICOX (Korea Industrial Complex), the organization in charge of cluster policy in Korea, organised the Korean cluster day in Seoul with 1.000 attendees from their cluster ecosystems all around the country.

Joan Martí ACCIÓ

Korea Industrial Complex Corporation (KICOX), an affiliate of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, is a management and support organization specializing in industrial complexes. KICOX has played a pivotal role in national economic growth for the past 50 years since it was established in 1964 as Korea Export Industrial Corporation. The company currently manages 62 industrial complexes including 31 national complexes and 13 foreign investment zones, and they account for 35.5% of production, 34.9% of exports, and 28.3% of employment in the nation’s manufacturing business.[1]

As introduced on our special page dedicated to South Korea, KICOX (Korea Industrial Complex) is the central contact point for policy dialogue on cluster collaboration in South Korea, being appointed by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) to organize and coordinate the platform for South Korea clusters. In Korea, clusters are known as “Mini Clusters” and they are typically located within industrial complexes or technology parks.[2]

Currently there are 100 mini-clusters with around 10.000 companies involved.

Some issues that were highlighted during the event regarding the cluster challenges in Korea are similar to Europe’s and refer to:

o   how to better connect academia with the industry

o   how to engage start-ups

o   how to perform cluster evaluation

o   how to deal with the 4th industrial revolution

Joan Martí ACCIÓ

Catalonia, represented by Joan Martí Estévez, Deputy Director of Cluster Development at ACCIÓ, The Agency for Business Competitiveness of the Government of Catalonia, was invited as a pioneer in cluster development to contribute with a keynote speech (bringing in the only international experience). Joan delivered a presentation about the main characteristics of the Catalan cluster approach:

o   A pro-government cluster support for 25 years

o   Focus on clusters as a tool to help companies sophisticating their strategy

o   Believe that all clusters, traditional or high-tech, can be successful if they follow the right strategies

o   Use a modern profile for cluster managers, not necessarily looking for industry experts but rather for “T-shaped” talent.

o  Implement robust governance characteristics

o   Create a diverse portfolio of 28 clusters in the Catalonia Clusters Program

o   Support inter-cluster activities as a systematic, not sporadic, way of exploring new business opportunities

o   Address the need of an internationalization strategy and not just international disconnected activities

o   Support the potential cooperation between Catalan clusters and Korean peers.

Such a potential cooperation was first explored in 2016 when ACCIÓ led the first Catalan international mission of cluster managers to Korea representing 14 clusters and this conference is a good follow up of that initiative. Also, using synergies with the EU-KOREA Cluster Matchmaking Event in Vienna on 6th-8th November 2018 within the European Utility Week, the Korean delegation will come to Barcelona on Monday the 5th of November to meet their Catalan peers.

For more information, please contact Joan Martí Estévez at jomarti [at] 


[1] LinkedIn company profile of KICOX…


Third Country
South Korea
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