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Silent Sensors goes to Korea with SMMT
Day Six

July 6th
KIA, ICAT Networking Session and back to Seoul

The last day of the mission.  After checking out of the Holiday Inn we clambered into our local bus, this one the twin to the one that brought us to GwangJu but with a pastel blue interior.  Pity, the fuschsia one was so much fun visually.


We headed off to the main KIA manufacturing plant in GwangJu – actually two of them, side by side.  Here KIA make their world class Sportage and Soul models, nearly all destined for export.  In fact the Kia Sportage is the biggest selling of all Korean models in the UK.  We each made a short presentation of SMMT and the seven companies to the two deputy plant managers, this time at a slower pace as translation was not simultaneous. Just as in Hyundai, a guide presented us with ear pieces in preparation for a walk through Plant One.  Unlike Hyundai, we went through the complete assembly process of one model, from the platform to finishing the interior.  Also unlike Hyundai, we could not take and photos or video.  There was the ritual photoshoot on the steps of the building of course – I’m waiting to get my copy.

Matt Smith of SMMT meets with local dignitaries
Matt Smith of SMMT meets with local dignitaries

ICAT Networking Session

From KIA we returned to the Green Car Korea Exhibition and a lunchtime networking meeting organised by ICAT with quite a lot of local companies who wanted to talk to us, once we had all given our stand-up presentation.

After lunch we headed back to our respective stands for a few moments, to make sure the Embassy staff who were to take over from us would have some presentation material and cards to hand out should anyone enquire.

The SMMT stand in Green Car Korea, showcasing each of the seven members participating in the trade mission.
The SMMT stand in Green Car Korea, showcasing each of the seven members participating in the trade mission.

Quite to my surprise, in these very last moments of the mission, three companies came up to speak with me briefly about ther interest in Silent Sensors products.  What began on a high note in the Embassy finished on a high note in the Exhibition.

Back to Seoul

The trip back to Seoul was long, uneventful and comfortable.  In other words it was the KTX.  Hannah had slipped a bottle of local black rasberry wine called bokbunja into my bag, so we all celebrated with a small cup of this intensely flavoured drink as we sped through the rolling hills of Korea.

Statue to Admiral Yi Sun Sin in Seoul

Soon we were all back at the Plaza Hotel.  I had already made a booking for a lodging nearby on Jong-Ro, so I left everyone there and walked up the broad avenue that passes the British Embassy and turned right by a statue to Korea’s famous Admiral Yi Sun Sin.

A few blocks along and one block in, I found myself in a maze of smaller streets and alleys, lined with eateries, bars, small shops selling all sorted of things, and the simple place where I was to stay, backpacker style for the night.

I was a tourist once more.

Read what happens in Day Seven here!