Shinwoo opens first duty-free shops at Brunei airport; plans to build local factory

The Korean firm eyes further investment into Brunei's retail, tourism and manufacturing sector

Korean conglomerate Shinwoo has incorporated in the Sultanate to open the Brunei International Aiport’s (BIA) first duty-free shops, with a plan to open downtown shops and open a factory to make Bruneian products that can be exported.

The Minister of Communications Yang Berhormat Abdul Mutalib Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yusof, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Apong and Second Minister of Finance Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Paduka Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah jointly officiated the opening of Shinwoo’s four stores at BIA’s satellite area within the departure hall, which carry a range of premium watches, sunglasses, fashion and electronics.

Director of  Shinwoo Brunei Corporation Sdn Bhd (SBC) Sung Weon Woo said that $5 million has been invested into the stores, with 20 Bruneians already hired for operations. SBC is also eyeing further investment into Brunei’s retail, tourism and manufacturing sector.

“The second step (following the opening of the airport shops is a downtown duty-free shop (targeted for next year),” said Sung, with the Empire Hotel & Country Club and the Yayasan Shopping Complex being mooted as potential locations.

“The third step is making Made in Brunei products,” added Sung. “And we are going to open a factory to make these products.”

The four duty-free shops selling branded goods include handbags from Gucci, pens and watches from Mont Blanc as well as a range of electronics including drones.

He explained that preliminary ideas for Bruneian products include Halal-certified cosmetics that could be marketed internationally, and would combine Bruneian and Korean elements and technology.

Shinwoo has a wide industry portfolio in South Korea, including construction, trading, logistics as well as several duty-free shops. Sung said their decision to invest in Brunei is grounded in Brunei’s political stability, clean environment, educated workforce as well as the hospitality of its people.

The President of the Shinwoo Group Choi Sang Kwon said that he hopes that their decision to invest in Brunei will generate interest amongst Korean companies in Brunei, with plans to bring delegations of Korean businessmen to tour Brunei shortly.

YB Dato Hj Ali (C) expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Finance for working together to make the opening of the shops possible, a move expected to boost tourism revenue.