Wide Corporation chooses Amsterdam
Established in 1999 in Korea, Wide Corporation operates in the field of professional display systems, specialising in medical, air traffic control, industrial and maritime. They provide reliable products and services to their customers from four worldwide offices. Wide's European base was founded on 1 January 2004, when Steve Kim left Samsung Electronics to become Wide's Managing Director, aiming to develop a new market in Europe for the company.
When it came to selecting the location for the European headquarters, Kim began research in December 2003 while still in Korea. He personally visited a number of European countries' embassies in Seoul to assess each country's potential. At the Netherlands' embassy, he met with the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), which provided him with a wealth of useful, targeted information.
“When I expressed interest in visiting Amsterdam to evaluate it as a potential location, amsterdam inbusiness arranged everything,” he recalls. “They created a three-day agenda where I just had to show up, look and listen, and I could choose an office space, a home and conclude the agreement on the terms and conditions immediately. No other government organisation provided this level of service.” Within those three days Kim had chosen Amsterdam as the future European headquarters for Wide Corporation. “Within a month we had opened our HQ in Europe.”
Kim is enthusiastic about his choice of city. “Amsterdam is the perfect location for Wide Corporation because of its central location in Europe and its proximity to Schiphol Airport and the Port of Rotterdam. We sell hardware, which is massive cargo, so we need to be near these key transportation hubs.” Kim was also particularly impressed by the people of the Netherlands’ largest city: “Amsterdam has a highly intelligent, multilingual workforce and the city itself is on a level with New York or Singapore in regards to multiculturalism and openness to other cultures.”
Wide Corporation has flourished in its Amsterdam location. Despite the economic downturn, the company has grown every year since its inception in 2004. The number of employees – currently at six – will probably grow by one or two more during 2012. Kim wants to expand the company's industrial and maritime product lines in Europe and plans to open a German satellite office, however, the company's HQ will continue to be located in Amsterdam.
Kim and his family live in the Amsterdam area, in the nearby town of Amstelveen. “As a place to live, Amstelveen is too good to be true,” Kim says. “My wife doesn't want to go back. She's just taken her integration exam and feels Dutch now. Two of my children are 'made in Amstelveen', so for us, it feels like home.” There is a growing community of Korean nationals in Amstelveen and it has several Korean restaurants, a Korean church and even a Korean Saturday School.Kim also has an ambition to help other Korean businesses establish themselves in the Netherlands: “It wouldn't have been possible for me to open this office without amsterdam inbusiness's help, and I know other Korean businesses would benefit as well from this unique help.”