Sanghun Kim, former CEO of Naver; Kelvin Dongho Kim, CEO of Korea Credit Data (KCD); Tony Lyu, Venture Partner at SoftBank Ventures; and Simon Seojoon Kim, CEO of Hashed, participate as angel investors. Attracting investments from Musinsa and CTR.. creating a buzz in the art market. Organizer of the leading art fair in Korea “Art Busan,” launching a new Seoul fair in November 2023.
BUSAN, South Korea, Aug. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — On the 9th of August, Art Busan Inc., the organizer of the leading Korean art fair ‘Art Busan’, announced that they have successfully secured their first investment round. Despite concerns about the ongoing economic downturn, this investment round validates the sustained interest in the art market and the high value and growth potential of the ‘Art Busan’ brand. Prominent unicorn startup founders and renowned investors including Sanghun Kim, former CEO of Naver, Kelvin Dongho Kim, CEO of Korea Credit Data, Simon Seojoon Kim, CEO of Hashed and Tony Lyu, venture partner at SoftBank Ventures Asia are among the list of investors. Korea’s leading fashion platform Musinsa and global mobility group CTR have also joined this initial investment round.
Through this round of investment, Art Busan has successfully secured the optimal strategic partnership base required to expand its existing art fair business to Seoul and the global market. At the same time, it has positioned itself to operate a diverse range of new ventures within the on and offline sectors of the international art markets, which require strategic alliance.
Art Busan was established in 2011 with the ambition to transform the culturally marginalized city of Busan into a city of culture. In pursuit of this goal, they organized their first art fair, ‘Art Show Busan,’ in 2012. By 2022, Art Busan attained Korea’s top art fair brand title, in terms of visitor numbers, total sales volume, and art fair ranking conducted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, establishing itself as an art fair brand that gained not only domestic but also international attention. Through Art Busan, acclaimed international galleries have made their first debut into the Korean market, leading them to open their Korean branches. As such, Art Busan has been a key player in connecting major art institutions, galleries, art patrons and collectors. With its stable organizational culture and agile execution as a private entity, Art Busan has been a driving force behind the revitalization of the domestic art market in the absence of global-level art fairs. Now, with plans to host a new event integrating design and art in this year, and expanding its presence to Seoul, Art Busan aims to strengthen Korea’s brand power and make a leap into the global art market.
Sanghun Kim, former CEO of Naver, who has served as the Chairman of the National Theater Company of Korea, a board member of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, and the President of the National Hangeul Museum Support Committee, responded that “I firmly believe and support that Art Busan, which started in my beloved city of Busan, will grow into a leading brand in Korea’s art and cultural scene and play a significant role in expanding the foundation of Korean art market in the right direction.” Kelvin Dongho Kim, CEO of Korea Credit Data added that “I was strongly attracted by Art Busan’s founding story and how the local fair from Busan has grown into Korea’s leading art fair brand. I am excited to join this investment round as I wanted to contribute to the company’s vision of becoming a global art brand.”
Director Seokho Jeong of Art Busan said, “this investment holds significance as it recognizes the substantial contributions Art Busan has made to the advancement of the Korean art market thus far, and its unique brand value established within the art market.” He added, “moving forward, we aim to grow Art Busan as a global brand and take a leading role in ensuring the nourishing and sustainable development of the Korean art market.”
As a significant step in its full-scale business expansion and global leap, Art Busan will unveil the first edition of the premium design and art fair, ‘DEFINE SEOUL,’ in the Seongsu district of Seoul from November 1st to 5th.