While agreeing to new trade and technology links with South Korea, President Kersti Kaljulaid officially opened the Police and Border Guard Board's (PPA) first e-Residency Collection Center in Seoul on Wednesday, which will allow Korean businesses to more easily enter the EU market.
If successful, the project can be expanded in future to more locations around the world where there is currently demand for e-Residency, but difficulty reaching an existing digital ID pickup location, Adam Rang, head of Location-Independent Investment, wrote in the official e-Residency blog.
In support of the new opportunity, Kaljulaid also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Estonia and South Korea's Gyeonggi Province, home to Pangyo Techno Valley, for the promotion of interregional cooperation in technology and business.
The MoU includes cooperation in connecting entrepreneurs, developing blockchain technology and providing opportunities for IT personnel from Gyeonggi to work in Estonia.
Kaljulaid also met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday. At their meeting, the two heads of state agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation between Estonia and South Korea in various sectors, including cyber defense and the fostering of startups.
"Our countries have developed a strong friendship based on mutual values, our enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and our love of technology," Kaljulaid said at the opening of Seoul's e-Residency Collection Centre. "We are already world leaders together in innovation, and partners in the D5 group of advanced digital nations, but the world is changing fast and we can still benefit so much more from each other. That's why we are now deepening our friendship and becoming business partners too."
According to the Estonian president, in supporting entrepreneurs, the state must also embrace innovation and adopt an entrepreneurial mindset. "The Estonian Police and Border Guard Board has shown a great example of this by opening their first e-Residency Collection Centre, which will help scale up our country globally by better serving entrepreneurs in Korea and around the world in the digital era," she noted.
Until now, approved e-residents have had to collect their digital ID cards from an Estonian embassy, which for Korean entrepreneurs meant having to travel abroad. Ahead of the opening of the e-Residency Collection Centre in Seoul, however, the number of applications for e-Residency jumped to approximately 300 this year alone, which is more than the total number received in the first three years of the program combined.
Estonia's e-Residency program currently includes nearly 30,000 e-residents in 143 countries worldwide.
Editor: Aili Vahtla