South Korean firm confident in Samoan nonu

South Korean businessman Sark Lee has expressed confidence in his business partner Wilex Samoa and its nonu products making an impact in the South Korean market despite stiff competition.

Talking to Samoa Observer about the partnership between his company Benefarm and Wilex Samoa, he said their business partnership is six-months-old and they currently export about 15 metric tons of nonu products per month.

There is stiff competition in the South Korean market with Mr. Lee revealing that there are 24,000 other noni products selling in South Korea. But he is confident with his investment in the Samoan company, as he says promoting their product through TV commercials and packaging will enable them to break into the market. 

“We try and educate and promote that Samoa noni is the best in the world because there are a lot of competitors in the noni product line in South Korea but this is the only noni product from Samoa.

“Right now we (Benefarm) are below our budget with Wilex Samoa, were not earning money right now because we are investing all our funds and much more than what we buy from Samoa.

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“I’ve experienced with other products that we have to spend more money so [that] in the future, we can get more money. We always have to market our products for a year or more for great results,” he said.

Recently, a TV commercial—which was aired in South Korea for the first time—resulted in the sale of 3.2 metric tons of Samoan nonu in two hours. 

The sales record compelled Mr. Lee to spend US$65,000 to fly a South Korean TV crew to Samoa to shoot a show, which will promote their products.

He said independent tests, which were done in South Korea on the quality of raw Samoan nonu fruit, has also revealed that the Samoan variety is the most nutritious.

“I made Tagaloa Eddie Wilson send 100 kilos of raw nonu fruits by air so we’d get samples and get it tested in Korea. Everything just came out clear and on top of that we found that Samoan noni is the most nutritious noni when we did our research.

“And that’s what we’re really trying to tell the people about Samoa noni by marketing and promoting a lot so that we can also compete with the others,” he added.

South Korea has one of the world’s strictest food security regimes, which Mr. Lee said they will work together with Wilex Samoa to meet its criteria.   

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