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National industrial complexes, a growth engine of the Korean economy, are today being reborn as innovative clusters of industrial complexes, as part of the government's strategy to create an innovation-driven economy. The Korea Industrial Complex Corporation (KICOX) is striving to transform the existing manufacturing-focused industrial complexes, which are responsible for 30 percent of national production and 43 percent of Korea's exports, into clusters of the knowledgebased industry supported by the networks that link industry, academia, R&D, and the government sector.
Reaping First Benefits of Mini-Clusters Since last April, the seven model industrial complexes (Changwon, Gumi, Ulsan, Banwol/ Sihwa, Gwangju, Wonju, and Gunsan) have fully launched the transformation of these complexes into 'innovative clusters of industrial complexes,' by means of promoting the mini-clusters in each model industrial complex. KICOX, the host organization of this project, released details on July 25 with the announcement of the 'Mini-Cluster Activity Performance for the Second Half of 2005.' According to the report, KICOX has completed the establishment of 43 mini-clusters based on the industrial features and innovation capacity of the seven model industrial complexes, identifying 68 cases of bottlenecks in business activities, and selecting 13 cases of support tasks as of the end of June.
More Task Accomplishment Expected in the Second Half
Meanwhile, the Innovative Cluster Implementation Team held as many as 110 meetings among industry, academia, R&D, and the public sector in June alone, in order to identify the tasks and to discuss ways of removing the bottlenecks experienced by companies in the industrial complex. In this regard, KICOX plans to activate the miniclusters in the second half, while giving full support for the accomplishment of tasks. Kim Chil-du, president of KICOX, said, 'The mini-cluster activities, which had started with the launching of the Innovative Cluster Implementation Team of the seven model industrial complexes, have succeeded in gaining favorable responses and willingness to participate in the regional innovative bodies despite such a short period.'
Taking a brief look at the development strategy for the seven model industrial complexes, they have been grouped into 41 mini-clusters based on the detailed industrial categories and technologies. Since the launch of these miniclusters, they have held a variety of forums, seminars, and meetings for the development of technology and removal of bottlenecks in their business activities, also paying attention to the networks among industry, academia, R&D, and public sector. In particular, in March this year, an overall reshuffle of the related organizations has been made in order to successfully push ahead with transforming the existing industrial complexes into innovative clusters, laying the foundation for regional responsible management, and finally being reborn as innovative specialist clusters.
First of all, Gumi will be developed into a specialized electronics industry cluster centering on electronics and information technology. Changwon, the Mecca of heavy industry, will become a high-tech machine cluster. Ulsan, the city of automobiles, will be developed into the global supply base for high-tech automobile parts. Banwol-Sihwa, the center of small and medium-sized business, is to grow into the supply base for high-tech parts and materials. Gwangju will become the optical industry cluster. Gunsan will be fostered as an automobile and machine cluster. And finally Wonju will be developed into a stronghold for the medical equipment industry.
To this end, each model industrial complex will formulate its own detailed implementation strategy, stimulate the networking system between industry, academia, R&D, and the public sector by means of promoting mini-cluster activities, and as a result, create a synergy effect among mutually-supportive organizations.
Meanwhile, all the other industrial complexes, besides these seven model complexes, will also be fostered and developed into innovative clusters on a mid to long-term basis In this regard, 'Inno Cafes' have been established in Seoul, Gyeongin, Changwon, Yeosu, and Gwangju . as well as the network hub in Changwon . to enhance cooperation among industry, academia, and R&D, and also contribute to the removal of corporate bottlenecks.
As mentioned above, until now, the national industrial complexes have traditionally formed the core of the Korean economy, acting as a driving force for improving the national per capita income and job creation. KICOX, which manages 29 national industrial complexes nationwide, is poised to convert these outmoded complexes into innovative clusters with strengthened networks between industry, academia, R&D, and the public sector.
KICOX Reassessing Its Strategies First, KICOX is establishing the systems for innovation in the industrial complexes, promoting a prototypical innovative cluster complex, setting up an integrated information network for industrial clusters, and operating a networking hub and 'Inno Cafe.'
Secondly, it formulates and implements management plans, managing administrative affairs such as land sale by lots, lease and factory registration, operating the industrial complexes for foreign companies, and maintaining and repairing industrial complexes as well as improving the environment.
Thirdly, KICOX provides support services to the companies in the industrial complexes, giving loans based on the various policy funds such as industrial fundamental funds, constructing and operating apartment-type factories for lease, providing logistics service, and implementing the project designed to create the Eco-industrial Park (EIP).
Finally, it provides various kinds of support for factory establishment, operating both a 'factory establishment support center' and a 'factory establishment call center.' In addition, KICOX has set up an ombudsman office to break through the bottlenecks and grievances of companies' in their business activities. To facilitate the transfer of companies to the local area, it is also operating a service center.
Offering Various Support Measures
The following integrated industrial facilities can be supplied: Firstly, it operates seven apartment-type factories in Namdong, Sihwa, and Changwon Industrial Complexes, establishing Gwangju High-tech Center and Daebul Standard Factory. Secondly, it is operating many production assistance facilities. For example, it has built the Banwol and Gumi thermal power plants for collective energy supply, running the stores for products in major industrial complexes, and also managing bonded warehouses.
Thirdly, it gives financial support to the small and mediumsized companies, also providing social welfare facilities for employees and making efforts for the settlement of labormanagement disputes, and sometimes helping the business activities and marketing of resident companies. Fourthly, KICOX provides an agency service for factory establishment, covering all procedures from choosing a factory lot, drawing up business plans, applying for approvals for factory establishment, through to the factory registration. And finally, it is running a call center to assist in factory establishment.