Striving to Become the Mega Hub-Port of Northeast Asia
Striving to Become the Mega Hub-Port of Northeast Asia
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  • 승인 2004.09.01 12:01
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Hur Nam-sik
Mayor of Busan Metropolitan City
ITU TELECOM ASIA 2004 will take place in Busan from September 7 through 11. The conference is expected to be an open forum for telecommunication leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to share their vision on the future trend of information and communication technologies. Not only having hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan and the 14th Asian Games, Busan has also been rapidly establishing itself as the IT hub and Mega Hub-port in Northeast region. The Korea IT Times spoke with Mayor Hur Nam-sik of The Busan Metropolitan City concerning the significance of the ITU Telecom Asia 2004 as well as its impact on Busan economy, plus its plans to develop the city as the Mega Hub-port of Northeast Asia.

Q. Could give us an overview of ITU TELECOM ASIA 2004 and your assessment of the impact of hosting of the event in Busan

The event will feature a comprehensive range of telecommunicationsrelated products and services, while the associated forum will focus on the latest telecommunication developments and growth and will provide a platform for telecommunication leaders to discuss smart strategies for the developing as well as industrialized countries.

Despite the growing importance of close cooperation in the IT industry, Asian countries of differing levels of development find it difficult to make a concerted effort in addressing such problems and achieve mutual prosperity in the region. Under the circumstances, the IT Ministers' Summit holds great significance as the meeting will provide IT ministers from countries throughout Asia/Pacific with a valuable opportunity to deal with various important issues such as cultural digitization in the region, joint research and development activities and the digital divide.

Busan will thus get excellent exposure, confirming the city's image as a leading IT center. Furthermore, it will help us to attract foreign capital into the city.

Q. Do you feel it will it trigger a similar impact to hosting APEC 2005 next year

Yes. I'm very positive about that, too. The APEC summit is the biggest international event that Korea will likely host in the next 10 years. The international gathering, slated for Nov. 14th to 21st is expected to attract about 15,000 foreign visitors, including political and business leaders in the region. This will generate an estimated $200 million for the Busan area, as well as place the southeastern port city on the map as a site for future international conferences. We all have high hopes that Busan, as the seventh city in Asia to host the APEC meeting, will follow its predecessors as hosts, including Singapore and Hong Kong, to become a regional business hub.

Q. What plans do you have to develop the city as the mega-hub port of Northeast Asia

In 2000, the city became the world's third-largest container port, so manifesting its international importance. The Busan administration is promoting several projects in an effort to make the city the integrated logistics hub of East Asia. These projects include establishing the Busan Port Authority, constructing Busan New Port and designating a Customs Free Zone around the new port.

The central government is planning to establish two to three world-class innovative clusters in Korea within 15 years and prepare a plan whereby local cities will have selfsustaining infrastructure based on city and provincial-level strategic industries. In accordance with this scheme, Busan will develop into a transport-business hub city, based on the port, transportation, cinema and IT. Busan is thus expected to function as the lynchpin of the southeast economic zone. Our ultimate goal is for Busan to advance further toward becoming a truly international city and global citizen.

Q. Busan's film industry is emerging as one of the city's most important value added activities. How would you appraise the current status of the industry

Since its establishment in 1999, the Busan Film Commission has striven to foster the film industry in this region. The Commission is the first of its kind as a publicprivate partnership. To promoter its intensive development, the commission provides domestic and international filmmakers with one-stop administrative services for filming, plus support for the whole process of film production. Also, the construction of "Cine- Port Busan" is our next strategic development venture since we view the film industry as continuing to be a high-revenue generating source in the 21st century. Cine-Port Busan will consist of a film museum, motion-picture center and an additional film production base. I believe that this cluster will contribute to making the city of Busan as the hub of Asian film industry.

Q. As a native of Busan, born and bred here, you must know every aspect of the city. Does this help you to be a better as a public servant, or hinder you from maintaining an objective stance

Of course my background makes it much easier for me to understand the city administration. The things that happen in Busan make more sense to me than anything else since I've spent most of my life here in this city. I'm trying to make a good use of my strengths to serve my fellow citizens better. I can easily discern their needs and know how to address them in the milieu of civic affairs.

Q. What attractions does Busan have for international business

Busan is located in the center of Korea's Southeast industrial belt that connects Gwangyang-Masan-Changwon-Busan-Ulsan-Pohang. By focusing around the Southeastern industrial belt, the world's largest shipbuilding industries and the world's sixth largest steel industries and lions share of the facilities for the world's fifth largest automobile manufacturing industries as well as auto parts companies are prosperous. With the advantageous industrial surroundings foreign investors can expect to create high synergy effects on its invaluable investments. The location advantages of Busan it could play a major role as a strategic point for investments in Asia.

Q. Would you commert upon the development method of the Busan Port

As regarding the Busan Port's development method, our City will preoccupy its position as a hub port of the Northeast area with more fast infra construction as well as port service improvement than China's competition ports such as Shanghai or Tsingtao by building the Busan New Port in an early period in order to expand the Busan Port;s port infra.

Secondly, the Busan Port will convert from a quantitative growth policy such as material resources volume to a policy that attaches importance to the boost of port added-value. Thirdly, our City will construct a port cluster by connecting a port hinterland and hinterland support function, and industrial complex function each other.

Fourthly, our City will determire methods for a harmonious development between the Busan Port function and the New Port function. And fifthly, we will induce the conversion of policy direction of the central government that allows to invest the government's intensive budgets in the Busan New Port to construct the Busan Port as a logistics center port of the Northeast Asia.

Q. The Busan Chamber of Commerce and Industry seems to be losing its focus as a source of help for business. Do you have any idea to revitalize the Busan economy

I think it is most desirable that the Chamber solves for itself rather than outside intervention regarding the Chamber internal problems.

In the interests of activating the local economy, it is above all urgent to expand our autonomy for the Busan area to be able to secure competitiveness for itself.

Secondly, we should create a good environment to do business that domestic corporations want to stay and external firms wish to come together. Thirdly, when we will launch competitive corporate inducement as well as foreign capital attraction based on such a foundation, I think that local economy activation could be realized.

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