Croatian-Korean Economic Forum: Croatian Masks on Korean Market?

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 6th of December, 2020, although the coronavirus crisis has shaken the global economy, Croatian-Korean economic relations will continue to progress well in the coming period, it was said at the 8th Croatian-Korean Economic Forum, which was held yesterday. It was organised by the Embassies of the Republic of Korea in Zagreb and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

It was pointed out that the quality level of Croatian-Korean cooperation is visible even during the pandemic, and in some cases even because of it, because many tests for coronavirus, as well as a good part of other sophisticated equipment used in the fight against this pandemic, are of Korean origin.

Korean Ambassador Kim Dong-chan emphasised that 2018 was a big step forward in the cooperation between the two countries due to the opening of the Croatian Embassy in Seoul and the first flight taken by Korean Air, which directly connected the two countries and as such aided in boosting Croatian-Korean relations.

Ivan Barbaric, Vice President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for International Affairs, pointed out that the strength of the Croatian economy doesn’t lie in numbers, but in innovation.

“We have unique products and services and a lot of knowledge that we can share in joint projects and compete together internationally,” said Barbaric, adding that some of these innovative products come in the form of the currently highly sought after protective masks. A Croatian company called Splendor is engaged in their production.

Suzana Percic, head of development at Splendor textiles, pointed out that in just a few months, due to the lack of protective masks available on the market, this Croatian company has developed a sophisticated and certified product for protection against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

“In the meantime, we learned a lot about the market, it wasn’t easy, nor was it cheap, but we succeeded. We have a capacity of four million masks per month that have a special three-layer filter that filters 99.9 percent of the virus,” said Percic, adding that although they are generally interested in entering every market, their primary focus lies within Croatia and the immediate region.

Korea is very well known as a high-tech country and technology, primarily artificial intelligence, is widely used in the fight against coronavirus. However, Croatia also has something to say on this issue, and the Koreans were introduced to the Croatian digital assistant Andrija and his “sister” Megi.

Mislav Malenica, director of the company Mindsmiths, which developed Andrija, said that Megi helps treat chronic patients, and is primarily focused on issues surrounding blood pressure.

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