Busan Seizes Chance to Raise Global Visibility
With the Busan ITU Telecom Asia event two months away, we interviewed city officials and organizing committee personnel about what they are doing and what can be achieved through the event.
by Paul Paik, Reporter/ firstname.lastname@example.org
500 Exhibitors and 50,000 Visitors Expected $160 Million for Local Economy Opportunity for IT Industry to Turn Corner
ITU Telecom Asia 2004 will be held in Busan from September 7 to 10. The event, first held in 1985, is a world famous IT exhibition and convention held every two years in Asia. The upcoming event will be held at Busan Exhibition & Convention Center, or BEXCO, with co-sponsorship by the Ministry of Information and Communication, The City of Busan, and The Busan ITU Telecom Asia 2004 Organizing Committee. The organizing committee leased the whole space of the convention center (53,767 m2) for the event.
The Busan ITU is expected to host 500 exhibitors and 50,000 visitors, more than any other previous events including the last Hong Kong event in 2002, which welcomed 319 exhibitors and 21,341 visitors. The event will feature a state-ofthe-art IT environment inside the exhibition hall.
"All Set to Go"
So far, preparations are going well. The event includes exhibitions, user forums, and telecom development symposiums. The opening reception features images of Korea's IT industry development with an analogy from four seasons. Guests will be able to enjoy to the fullest the closing ceremony on the 10th.
The organizing committee and the city officials have been visiting nations for event promotions since last April and have sent out direct mail and taken out ads in major newspapers and trade magazines. In particular, they made sure to encourage Chinese government officials and corporate leaders to come to Busan, for it is the country that will send the most exhibitors and visitors.
The Organizing Committee and the city are trying to minimize glitches during the event by working with the police, fire-safety agencies, parking authorities, and the lodging industry. In addition, they designated the first Thursday of the month as the "Day of Global Citizens" to educate Busan's citizens in proper manners for overseas visitors.
City officials reckon the ITU Telecom Asia event will garner up to \185 billion ($160 million), including spending by exhibitors, visitors, dignitaries, and reporters.
This event will be a good opportunity for local IT companies to participate in a world-class trade show and a springboard for them to jump onto the world stage.
Applications Pouring In
The biggest benefit the city can expect from the occasion is the revitalization of the local IT industry. In the Busan joint pavilion, it is reported, there were 35 booths allocated for companies from Busan and South Gyeongsang Province. Applications have poured in since June 18, making the Organizing Committee people very happy. This is unusual considering the sluggish pace of the IT business in the Busan area.
The City of Busan and the Busan Information Industry Promotion Committee are committed to realizing tangible results for local companies by holding overseas buyer information sessions and investor relation sessions.
A Shot in the Arm for Busan IT
The Busan IT industry expects much from ITU Telecom Asia 2004. For the last three years since 2001, the local industry recorded a paltry annual growth of 2 percent, not on par with its nominal status as the second biggest city in Korea. Worse yet, the city has not found any next-generation industry for its engine of growth.
Recently, the city government announced a blueprint for economic development in the following four areas and set aside 1 trillion for the next five years: Logistics (port and e-business), components and materials (machinery, automobile, and shipbuilding); visual content (film, CT, digital content); and life science technologies (gerontological, environmental, ocean biological, and biotech drug development). The city also wants to take on the difficulties of recruiting high-caliber human resources.
Although the city produces \10,000 IT workers a year, it can accommodate only 10 percent of them. Under these circumstances, the upcoming event will provide an impetus to break out of the doldrums and generate high-paying jobs.
Busan City Hall's Director of Economic Development Lee Kyeong-hoon said, "Our hosting of ITU Telecom Asia is our chance to leap forward. After this event we will do everything to discover next-generation industries while being aggressive in supporting those companies wanting to explore overseas markets."
This event will be a watershed for local IT concerns to recognize the importance of the global market. Besides, many high-performing companies from overseas and other areas within the country that will be present at the event will provide the spur needed for them to get world class - fast.
The Busan ITU Telecom Asia 2004 will rewrite the history of Busan's IT industry. From this point on, the industry will be part of the global IT-telecom business. What makes this event more promising is that China's IT companies are expected to come in droves in preparation of ITU World 2006.