Health Tourism Platform Corporation, KMK, Established by Kazakhstan International Students and a Korean Student
Excellent precedent for the result of Hanyang University’s start-up assistance
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In a globalized world where active interaction among countries is taking place, the trend of participating in the exchange student program is also flourishing. Thanks to the program, students can now learn and directly experience various cultures while studying in different countries. Nonetheless, when it comes to getting a job, since not as many opportunities are open to foreign people as they are to local people, they struggle through hardships. Despite such harsh reality, Taldybayev Zhanadil (School of Business, Master’s Program), an international student from Kazakhstan, successfully launched a corporation called KMK, which provides a platform for medical tourism in South Korea.
Taldybayev first came to South Korea for a year as an exchange student when he was an undergraduate student. He was majoring in Oriental studies in his country and selected the South Korea track, allowing him to learn Korean history and culture. As his interest in Korea grew considerably throughout the journey of his undergraduate life, he decided to broaden his knowledge and perspective regarding Korea, thereby, enrolling in a graduate program at Hanyang University.
Taldybayev wanted to start a business in Korea in relation to Kazakhstan with a friend named Kakim Danabayev (Media and Communication, Doctorate Program), because by the time he came to Korea a year and a half ago, South Korea and Kazakhstan had became strategic partners, and many Korean industries entered their partner country. Under such circumstances, he predicted a profitable vision if he started a business, and fortunately, Taldybayev came across a start-up assistance program at Hanyang University.
When he was looking for an outstanding item for starting a business, his mother came to Korea to receive medical care, since Korea has one of the highest quality medical service industries in the world. After his mother received successful medical treatment, his friends’ parents also wanted to take advantage of such advanced treatment. “I realized that health tourism between Korea and Kazakhstan possess great potential as a business item. With this brilliant idea, I started preparing for the start-up in April of 2018 and submitted the business plan to the Hanyang Start-up Lounge,” said Taldybayev. As a result, his business passed the standard, and he was able to establish his own corporation, KMK, in October 2018.
What KMK does is promote Korean medical services and provide information to Kazakhstani customers. The service includes not only translation, escort to the hospitals, and consultations, but also offers Seoul or Incheon city tours if desired. There are three co-representatives of KMK: Taldybayev, Kakim, and Kim Seul-ah (School of Business, Healthcare Management Track, Doctorate Program). For Kakim, he specializes in marketing, as he is a renowned journalist and blogger in Kazakhstan. He wrote numerous articles regarding Korea before he even started this business. Talybayev said, “I first met him at a job fair at COEX. Because of Kakim’s popularity, I could recognize him at first glance. I approached Kakim and felt a sense of comradeship since we are from the same country.” Coincidently, Kakim also was a Hanyang University student and they became friendly in a short amount of time. Taldybayev suggested starting a business with Kakim, and he accepted the proposal. However, as both Kazakhstani students were foreigners, they thought they needed a Korean person to be part of their plan; thus, Taldybayev scouted his fellow lab friend Kim to participate, and she instantly agreed.
Kakim is in charge of the marketing department, and Kim takes care of administrative duties related to Korea. With the vast network Kakim has, they tried to cast celebrities through social media like his individual blog and Instagram accounts, the result of which was remarkable. A Kazakhstani member of the National Assembly and a top-ten successful businessman in Kazakhstan, Kairat Kudaibergen, who has over 1.2 million followers on Instagram, promoted both KMK and Korean medical services. Instead of paying him, KMK covered his fee by providing him with medical care for free. Taldybayev recalled, “I stayed in Korea for two days with Kairat. With the high-quality medical service and tour, he was extremely satisfied with the trip.” Such high satisfaction consecutively led to networking with other Kazakhstani celebrities, allowing the business to flourish.
Taldybayev currently lives in the dorm provided by the Hanyang Start-up Lounge, which is difficult to get into, at no charge. With a requirement of a number of interviews and the submission of start-up reports, only thirty candidates are permitted. In addition, the residents should submit weekly reports that include the overall plans for business activity. Taldybayev insisted, “Although the procedure is quite tough, I received plenty of help from the people living there, as we shared ideas, gave feedback on each other’s business plans, and gave advice on how to overcome hardships.” The Hanyang Start-up Lounge offers concrete and detailed assistance to these residents to help them actualize their plans.
The current trend of Kazakhstani people visiting South Korea is increasing annually. 15,000 people come for medical purposes and 25,000 for tours. Over the past three years, the number of visitors has increased by about 90 percent, and it is expected to increase even further. With the growing number of visitors, Taldybayev hopes to draw more clients to help his business grow. Eventually, Taldybayev wants his business to expand not only throughout Kazakhstan, but also to all former Soviet countries.
Kim Min-jae email@example.com
Photos by Lee Hyeon-seon
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