Shin-Line pushes for innovations from Korean-Kazakh businesses’ cooperation

Says Andrey Shin, president of Shin-Line Group whose business is expanding globally

By Diplomacy Journal Lee Kap-soo


From a Small Family Factory to the Largest Production Facility in the Region: Andrey Shin and His Ice Cream

Andrey Shin is a man who turned a small family business into the largest ice cream production company in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. How did he achieve this?


It All Started with "Bomb"

Shin-Line, a prominent company in Kazakhstan, is a recipient of numerous awards and part of the "Competitiveness Leaders - National Champions" program. The company's primary focus is ice cream production, accounting for 77% of its total output. Shin-Line also produces milk, butter, condensed milk, frozen semi-finished products, and a variety of other goods. Currently, it is the largest ice cream producer in Kazakhstan with a market share of 49%, and in the entire Central Asian region. Its ice cream is exported to China, Mongolia, and post-Soviet states, with plans to expand to the Middle East (for which the Halal standard has been implemented). Andrey Shin's company operates four factories in Almaty and the Almaty region of Kazakhstan, with a fifth factory in Bishkek, the capital of neighboring Kyrgyzstan. The distribution network covers all regions of Kazakhstan and has branches in Russia.

Andrey Shin began his venture in 1995 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where he registered the brand and started ice cream production in a small workshop, producing 2-3 tons of ice cream daily. The first product was the widely known "Bomb" ice cream, which remains popular in Kazakhstan.


Quality and Technology as a Key Principle

The main market focus was Kazakhstan. In 2002, Shin-Line acquired an inactive industrial site in Almaty and repurposed it into an ice cream factory. The main block was renovated, and additional facilities were built, including a waffle workshop, warehouses, a boiler room, and a pumping station. From the beginning, Shin prioritized quality and technology, purchasing modern ice cream production equipment from leading global manufacturers. Production started in April 2004, and now over 160 varieties of ice cream are produced.

In 2004, the company expanded production by attracting funds from second-tier banks through credit lines and financial leasing, initiating the production of aseptic milk. Later, they began producing concentrated milk in portioned packaging.


Korean Exclusivity

During the same period, close cooperation with Korean businesses began. In 2005, Shin-Line signed a franchise agreement with the South Korean company Binggrae, granting Andrey Shin the right to produce unique ice cream developed by Binggrae, which had no analogs in the former USSR. This ice cream possibly spurred the company's development of unique products and entry into export markets.

However, the main focus remained on Kazakhstan. In 2006, Shin-Line invested in its distribution network, starting in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan. By 2008, hubs were established in Astana, Shymkent, Karaganda, and Ust-Kamenogorsk, further expanding the network with the help of bank loans and state support programs like the "Business Roadmap 2020." Today, Shin-Line has 18 branches across Kazakhstan and expanded into Russia in 2012, opening a branch in Novosibirsk.

"Investing in the distribution network required significant funds. We needed centralized low-temperature storage facilities (-25 degrees Celsius), multi-sectional vehicles with a capacity of up to 3.5 tons, and retail freezers (-18 degrees Celsius). This created a 'cold chain' from production to retail. Today, we distribute in 19 regional cities and have 13 branches in Kazakhstan and three in Russia, with over 300 delivery vehicles and more than 30,000 freezers in retail networks," Andrey Shin explained.


Not Just Ice Cream

Since 2009, Shin-Line has become one of the largest dairy processing enterprises in Kazakhstan, launching a frozen semi-finished products workshop for traditional local dishes made of dough and meat. This diversification reduces dependence on seasonal fluctuations.

Now, Andrey Shin's company offers a wide range of frozen semi-finished products: dumplings, vareniki, manti, samsa, puff pastry, chops, tartlets, and more. The strategy remains the same: constantly expanding the product range.

In 2010, the company started producing high-quality butter and condensed milk for its own needs and retail, offering only natural butter in various portioned packaging.

Since 2012, Shin-Line has also been producing instant noodles with two production lines in operation.


Step by Step to New Markets

During this period, Andrey Shin actively expanded market geography. In 2013, a distribution agreement with Nestlé was signed to sell ice cream in Central Asian countries. This agreement allowed Shin-Line to represent the full range of ice cream products from economy to premium segments in the region, achieving over 40% market share in Kazakhstan and neighboring Central Asian countries.

In 2015, the company purchased 75 refrigerated trucks for small wholesale deliveries to retail, enhancing logistical capabilities in all regions, a crucial competitive factor.

In 2017, Shin-Line launched modern production lines for waffle and sugar cones and ice cream using liquid nitrogen. State-of-the-art equipment from the Danish world leader Gram Equipment ensured high product productivity.


World-Class Technologies and a New Mega-Factory

Shin-Line's history is one of setting and achieving goals, marked by hard work, responsibility, and a belief in the founder's vision.

One key to success has been a strict control system. Resource and quality control at all stages ensured the production of superior ice cream, a principle Shin and his team uphold to this day. Over the past 10 years, the team has been meticulously assembled to achieve ambitious goals and market leadership.

The technological re-equipment of all production facilities starting in 2017 propelled the company forward. Modern European production lines enable the creation of complex desserts of world-class architecture and components, unmatched in the region. This competitive edge significantly expanded the export of Kazakh ice cream. Production grew so much that existing facilities could no longer keep up. Shin-Line was prepared, beginning the construction of a new ice cream factory from scratch in the Almaty region. Using modern technologies, the new factory aims to make Shin's company a leader in ice cream production in the CIS and Eastern Europe.
As of early 2024, investments in the new production facility reached 35 billion tenge (79 million USD). The innovative facility houses 22 production lines, with a daily output of 350 tons of ice cream. Additional plans include equipping the facility with seven high-performance lines from leading European manufacturers: Gram, Tetra Pak Hoyer, Big Drum, Steam, Ice Group. Notably, the factory will feature unique Tetra Pak Cone Filling Line and Tetra Pak extrusion wheel, installed only in Kazakhstan and Norway. According to Andrey Shin, these steps aim to further increase production and product quality.


And That's Not All!

Modern technologies have made Shin-Line's products truly exclusive. For instance, the extrusion wheel allows large chunks of add-ins like chocolate-covered wafers, nuts, and jelly to be incorporated into the ice cream mass. Liquid nitrogen enables various coatings from frozen juice or jam to be applied to the ice cream surface. The company's mix preparation complex boasts the world's highest productivity, up to 30 tons per hour, and fully automated processes ensuring the highest product quality and safety.

Recently, a robotized rack warehouse was launched, a fully automated cold storage complex with 22,656 pallet spaces, operating without physical staff presence. Artificial intelligence is used for logistics and process optimization, making it the first warehouse in Kazakhstan with an intelligent management system.

"The central element is the AS/RS (Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems) automated storage systems. These algorithm-controlled cranes quickly, safely, and accurately move goods for storage and retrieval at -25℃. The latest AS/RS cranes allow double-depth pallet placement using telescopic forks," Andrey Shin explained.
Further investments in production capacity are planned to boost export potential.

Andrey Shin's plans extend far into the future. He is now the president of Shin-Line Group, a public figure as a deputy of the Almaty city maslikhat, and the chairman of the Almaty Korean National Center, all while continuing to build business cooperation with South Korea.



The Shin-Line business continues to expand. In March of this year, the first convenience stores of the CU retail network were opened in Almaty. This project was developed in partnership with South Korea's largest operator, BGF Retail. For Almaty and Kazakhstan residents, this store format, well-known in Korea, is unique. Alongside traditional goods, a wide range of fresh ready-to-eat Korean dishes is offered, which are very popular in Kazakhstan. The first CU store in Almaty generated great interest and quickly became popular. A unique "kitchen factory" was established at the Shin-Line production complex to prepare dishes according to traditional culinary standards and with ingredients from Korea. The Almaty market is just the beginning. A recent distribution agreement between Shin-Line and Saengong worth 2.3 million USD will support Korean product sales throughout the CIS, enhancing the competitiveness of Korean goods.

Andrey Shin predicts the new project will attract up to 25 billion tenge (56 million USD) to Almaty's economy by 2030, with 500 modern city-standard retail outlets.

"Innovations from cooperation between businesses in the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Kazakhstan, our joint projects, and collaborations are a stable trend serving the mutual interests of both sides," concludes the founder of Shin-Line.