Shin Young-su, CEO of Dongwon Home Food, a food processing and catering affiliate under one of Korea’s top five food conglomerates Dongwon Group, is in the middle of expanding the company’s Chinese business while he studies for the CKGSB EMBA on China Business: A program for Korean Leaders (or CKGSB Korean EMBA), he said at a recent interview with the school’s official Korean blog. Shin said he learned that growing consumer demand on safe and reliable food ingredients will be the way Dongwon should proceed in China.
Shin introduces Dongwon Home Food’s China business at a
CKGSB Korean EMBA module in Shanghai
Shin is one of the first students of the CKGSB’s Korean EMBA, a joint program run with the Seoul School of Integrated Sciences and Technologies (aSSIST) since December 2015, which consists of CEOs and young entrepreneurs from Korean companies with great interest in doing business with Chinese companies or entering China.
Shin, who spent his entire career at the Korean food retail giant Dongwon, was named CEO of the group’s catering affiliate Dongwon Home Food in 2012. In line with the group’s ambition to explore China – a market nearly 18 times larger than Korea’s own food market – Dongwon Home Food started off the initiative by opening a production line in Weihai, a port city located on China’s east coast, in 2013 under Shin’s leadership.
The company has grown its influence by collaborating with Korean food franchises that entered China and being recognized for food safety and product quality. However, grasping quickly-changing Chinese consumer and market trends hasn’t been easy as a foreign company, he said.
Shin decided to study at the Korean EMBA program last year to better understand the Chinese market and successfully localize the business there. It has been tough juggling the business and studying, traveling between China and Korea, but he has been one of the most diligent students in the class.
Localization is Dongwon Home Food’s core strategy to foster the company as China’s top Korean food retailer, by expanding local recruitments at its Chinese office across departments, ranging from R&D and production to product design.
Shin posed with Professor Cho Dong-sung and his colleagues
at the CKGSB Korean EMBA
In-depth analyses about the market and objective insiders’ view about Chinese society offered at the classroom, as well as hands-on knowledge about Chinese business environment available through corporate visits, are among the biggest strengths he gained from the Korean EMBA program, he added.
“At a marketing module, the professor offered very in-depth market analyses not only by region and income level, but also by social culture and conscious awareness. It was quite different from information I used to gain at my own office via books or news articles,” said Shin at the interview with the CKGSB Korean blog. “Corporate visits, another important pillar of the Korean EMBA program, helped me learn the successful strategies of Chinese companies and enhance our own business.”
The following contains edited excerpts of the interview:
Q. To whom would you recommend the CKGSB Korean EMBA program?
Shin: I would like to suggest CKGSB to those business people who are seeking new opportunities in China or expanding business there, which now has become a Group of Two (G2) country along with the US.
Having a good understanding of different aspects of the business management is a significant factor, but gaining an insight to read about the overall market is even more crucial than that. Thus, business people should consistently learn and accept challenges. CKGSB’s diverse program curricula and professional faculty members provide not only hands-on learning experience based on the latest business case studies, but also the fundamentals of corporate management.
I would especially like to encourage young entrepreneurs to join the Korean EMBA program. Our program consists of students across a broad age range, and it is one of its major strengths. Business people working in different areas and from different generations do not hesitate to share ideas for a better future by creating synergy. Young entrepreneurs learn business skills from experienced executives, while the older generation gets inspired with by the latest trends by communicating with the young. The unrivaled business network of CKGSB’s alumni pool is also a plus.
To read the full interview with Dongwon Home Food CEO Shin Young-su, please click here.