Located in the center of the Korean Peninsula, Gyeonggi Province has played the role of locomotive engine for industrial and economic growth in the 21st century, thus holding a strategic stronghold in East Asia. It is also faithfully fulfilling its role as an advanced base for the unification of the divided Korea.
In order to play the role of a growth engine leading Korea to the path of the future in this uncertain era, Gyeonggi Province is exerting its manifold efforts to extend financial assistance to moneystricken businesses, and also to either eliminate or improve restrictive administrative measures. Especially, job opportunities are urgently needed now to save the sagging economy, and they are created by businesses. Therefore, no efforts will be spared in extending help to businesses.
The following is a question and answer session with Kim Moon-soo, governor of Gyeonggi Province, on the highlights of major policy matters of Gyeonggi Province:
Q: Please elaborate on the grand vision of the economy as announced by Gyeonggi Province and how the goal of creating a business-friendly environment is being pushed now
A: The Ubiquitous Age of the 21st century is catching up at a high speed with our social, economic, cultural and educational fields, and it is going to affect every aspect of our social lives. In this age of the global competition for an emerging new society based on a system of instantly sharing knowledge and information, only businesses and nations that are far ahead of others in the race are expected to survive and win the race.Gyeonggi Province seeks to realize an advanced new knowledge-based ubiquitous IT society in the Far East, thus accelerating new U-related businesses that may become new growth engines in the 21st century. It also wishes to harness these new businesses to the specific requirements of Gyeonggi citizens for their improved quality of living standards so that they can take advantage of a new ubiquitous IT society. To this end, Gyeonggi Province sponsored colorful events marking the announcement of an International Business Hub and the Start of Ubiquitous-Related Base-building and also held U-related business forums on November 4, 2008.
In order to promote effective development of U-related businesses, Gyeonggi Province signed agreements with related organizations, groups and businesses of Gyeonggi Province. They pledged their full participation and cooperation in such varied projects as the build-up of U-infrastructure, expansion of fundamental facilities, development of policy matters, legislation of required laws and finally development of improved services.
The detailed realization plans to transfer Gyeonggi Province into a Ubiquitous City break down into the following steps: 1) improvement of living standards of individual citizens, 2) business-friendly Gyeonggi Province, 3) joint cooperation between U-related businesses and academia to raise competent manpower, 4) realization of a Ubiquitous-Safe Device and Contest, and 5) building of a new city known for the best products of U-related articles. Gyeonggi Province is determined to play the role of an advanced base in new knowledge-based U-related businesses competitions, thus trying to build a UCity in the near future, embracing the major developing areas of Gyeonggi Province, which are: Gwanggyo in Suwon, Pangyo in Seungnam, Dongtan in Hwaseung, Heungdeok in Yongin, Gyoha in Paju and Janggi in Gimpo. In this way, the top class U-City of the world will come into being.
Q: What are the activities and results of the Gyeonggi Province business delegation's visit to the United States to attract US investment into Korea
A: The first foreign investment visit to the United States in 2009 was made in the midst of the global economic and financial slowdown. Therefore it was also aimed at surmounting the current economic crisis as well as achieving foreign investment for its future economic vision. Making an allowance for such an economic background, the week-long visit starting from March 9, 2009 was, in a nutshell, quite a successful sales tour, with stops in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The visiting delegation met with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger while conducting business sales talks with potential investment partners, visiting a jobber market among other places.
In light of the fact that overall foreign investment in Korea this year declined by half compared to the corresponding period last year, US$161 million in foreign investment is quite a success for the visiting delegation from five ultra-modern industries such as semi-conductors, printed circuit boards for cellular phones and aircraft manufacturing-related businesses.
Under the grand design that there are no differences between the central and provincial areas in coping with the global monetary crisis, Gyeonggi Province worked out individual strategic investment tactics for potential business partners in cooperation with the Knowledge- Economy Ministry and KOTRA, such as tax reduction and other incentives. Also, by attracting next-generation new technology industries to Gyeonggi Province such as renewable energy, semiconductors, and communications know-how, new job opportunities can be secured for Gyeonggi citizens.
Several companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Air Products Co. indicated increased investment of US$50 million. Imbera Co. indicated increased investment of US$30 million on semiconductors and printed circuit boards for cellular phones. The company also plans to move into its provincial investment plant site in the first half of 2010. Broadcom Co. indicated US$20 million investment in the Pangyo Global Research & Development Center on businesses related to computers, communications networks and processor blueprints for cellular phones. WTA Co. indicated a US$30 million increase in investment in addition to the US$220 million investment signed in 2004 for helicopter manufacturing, spare parts and repair work. Finally, one company indicated US$30 million investment, but has declined to identify its name and business purpose.
Additionally, RED Co. signed a US$200 million to US$300 million Letter of Intent of Investment. The company is interested in the development of global shopping centers and participated in the joint investment explanation session in New York. It also consulted with Qualcomm Co. on investment in Korea.
Q: Would you elaborate on IT-related ultramodern industries in Gyeonggi Province and their expected synergy effects
A: Gyeonggi Province is a geopolitically advantageous hub of distribution networks of global merchandise and goods in Northeast Asia, coupled with its large consumer markets in the Seoul and Incheon areas. It is also the center of Korea's ultramodern industries with its ample resources of competent manpower in the fields of Information Techonology (IT), Biotechnology (BT) and Nanotechnology (NT).
To explain in detail about information technology, 37.9% of Korea's IT industries and 43.2% of IT research and development manpower are located in Gyeonggi Province and can be called the mecca of the global semiconductor industry. For example, Samsung Electronics ranks 2nd, accounting for 6.7% of the global semiconductor-related markets, and enjoys first place in DRAM and NAND Flash spare parts. Hynix ranks 9th in global semiconductor-related markets with 2.4% and is placed 2nd in DRAM and 3rd in NAND Flash spare parts.
There are several foreign IT-related investments in Gyeonggi Province. FCI Co. has US$30 million in R&D investment. HOYA Co. has committed US$100 million in investment funds. Avanstrate Co. has US$300 million in investment funds in the area. 3M Co, with US$200 million investment funds, and Ulvac Co. with US$80 million investment funds in LCD semiconductor equipment are also committed to Gyeonggi Province.
Q: Regarding the green growth industry, what is the current status of green growth industry infrastructure in Gyeonggi Province
A: Aside from the Green Gyeonggi Project which Gyeonggi Province is pursuing independently, it is cooperating with greater metropolitan green projects such as environmentally friendly cleaning projects for streams and rivers and the build-up of transfer centers for public transportation. For this purpose, it is preparing for national budget assistance to carry out the joint projects.
As for the Green Gyeonggi Project, Gyeonggi Province is planning new renewable energy industrial complexes in the Ansan, Pyongtaek and Dongbu areas and requested R&D funds for this purpose from the government budget - 199.4 billion won (US$148.6 million) in 2008 and 225.6 billion won (US$168.1 million) in 2009.
Gyeonggi Province is also cooperating with the campaign to save the four big rivers from being contaminated, with the construction of small and medium scale dams and the conservation of green living spaces.
Q: What are the measures that Gyeonggi Province is taking to cope with this global monetary crisis through the invitation of foreign investment
A: First of all, it is the uppermost concern of all citizens to create job opportunities, and therefore the primary duty of the Gyeonggi Governor is to comply with such ardent wishes of the citizens. It is the goal of Gyeonggi Province to create 57,626 jobs with a total of US$2.5 billion inducement of foreign investment for 23 major businesses in Gyeonggi Province.
During the period of my service as the Gyeonggi Governor, a total of US$11.1 billion was induced in 55 cases of foreign investment. In particular, the following foreign companies have made major investments. US$1 billion was invested by ProLogis from the US on the global supply of goods and merchandise, US$180 million by Linde Korea from Germany on industrial gas, US$100 million by TESCO from Britain, US$100 million by HOYA in Japan, US$50 million by Telio Solar in the US, and US$30 million came from FCI in Taiwan for an R&D Center.
The current year's foreign investment target and its goals of Gyeonggi Province are the inducement of US$2.5 billion in foreign investment to create 57,626 jobs for the citizens of Gyeonggi Province. Of the US$2.5 billion foreign investment, US$900 million is for BT, NT and environmental technology (ET) to generate new renewable energy. The remaining US$1.6 billion is for the global supply of goods and merchandise.
To facilitate foreign investment in Gyeonggi Province, we have instituted the following incentive measures. First, we have given tax privileges: a 7 year tax holiday on corporate taxes and 15 year holiday on local taxes. Second, we have given a reduction in rental charges: 50% to 100% reduction in rental charges for government-owned properties. Third, financial subsidies - financial assistance is given for new employment training, educational training and investment in equipment and facilities.
Q: What role does Gyeonggi Province expect to play in coping with the current global monetary crisis
A: To share the global burden of surviving the current worldwide financial struggle, Gyeonggi Province is extending emergency relief funds to acutely money-stricken small and medium scale businesses and is increasing credit funds and expanding special assurance systems for borrowers.
To be more specific, rearing and relief funds for small and medium scale businesses have increased from 1.3 trillion won in 2008 to 1.5 trillion won in 2009. Additionally 70% of the funds, or 1 trillion won, will be expended before the first half of the fiscal year. In addition, 780 billion won will be released in operating funds and 720 billion won will be used to launch new businesses and also to strengthen the competitive capability of businesses. Financial credit funds have also increased from 700 billion won in 2008 to 800 billion won in 2009.