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A growth engine of advanced Korea As a growth engine of advanced Korea, the development direction of the Daedeok R&D special zone is to grow into a super first-rate innovation cluster in the world within 10 years through research & development, commercialization and reinvestment. The Presidential Committee on Balanced National Development proposed at an international symposium commemorating the launching of the Daedeok R&D special zone held on July 29 in Daedeok Valley that the Committee would help nurture 1,500 technology startups by 2015 by means of a venture ecosystem of an international level supported by omnidirectional marketing, cutting-edge technology, venture finance and special manpower etc. As a priority, for the activation of venture finance, ideas to utilize science technology promotion funding as well as overseas funding are being discussed. Mr. Yong-moon Kim, director-general of the Presidential Committee on Balanced National Development, said that it would be possible to provide about 200 advanced technology firms with investment funding of 200-300 billion won by 2012, with the emphasis on indirect investment through special investment institutions. The director-general explained that the Committee would invest in companies in the initial stage of their founding, giving precedence to laboratory firms. Focusing on technology with commercialization potential within five years, the formation of special technology clusters will be promoted. With a view to facilitating the establishment of laboratory companies, tax reduction and exemptions such as on income tax, an acquisition tax, and property tax and funding support such as the Daedeok special zone investment fund as well as technology mortgage lending could be appropriate ideas, Kim explained As part of omnidirectional marketing support, Kim said it is desirable to offer promising item identification and marketing strategy establishment etc. with one-stop service by designating KOTRA and overseas special institutions as having exclusive responsibility for special zone marketing. As for the construction of a global habitat for foreign companies, a complex for their exclusive use would be developed on a scale of 50,000 pyeong (approx. 165,125 m2) in Daedeok Techno-Valley. To improve the living environment for foreigners, a foreign school would be established after 2009 and in terms of medical treatment and residential accommodation, two to three general hospitals in Daejeon would be designated as hospitals for medical treatment of foreigners, while residential facilities covering 20,000 pyeong (approx. 66,050m2) would be developed in Daedeok Techno-Valley. Nurturing 1,500 technology startups by 2015 The background as well as the necessity to nurture a cluster like the Daedeok R&D special zone is to overcome the limitations of the element input growth model. Kim pointed out that Korea is stagnating on a GDP per capita rate of US$10,000 and experiencing problems such as the industry's hollowing-out due to the overseas transfer of domestic manufacturers., due particularly to China's rapid growth, conflict between labor and management, the evasion of science and engineering study, and the increase of unemployed young people. Thus, conversion from an element input model economic growth model to an innovation initiative model economy is necessary, he stressed. Kim elaborated further by saying that in order for the economy to overcome such boundaries and to ensure continuous growth, Korea has to pursue conversion into an innovation initiative model growth strategy and the so-called innovation cluster lies at the core of such innovation initiative model economic growth. As the source of local and national competitiveness improvement, such an innovation cluster has to be characterized by a multi-faceted policy in which science technology, industrial nurturing and local development are combined organically. The government's innovation cluster strategy is to nurture two or three global innovation clusters within 15 years, as stated clearly in the First National Balanced Development Five Year Plan [2004-2008]. Mapping out a strategy to lure corporate laboratories! The present status of the government's strategy to promote key innovation clusters is outlined in general terms as follows: Firstly, with some form of government support, there is the Daedeok R&D special zone, industry complex innovation cluster; the Osong Life Science Complex, local culture cluster, cutting-edge IT complex, and local agriculture cluster etc. Secondly, with private sector initiative there is the cutting-edge material cluster by POSTECH, the semiconductor/digital valley by Samsung Electronics, and LCD cluster by LG Philips etc. The Daedeok R&D special zone is striving for success through innovation cluster infrastructure construction by 2008, innovation self-reliance growth infrastructure establishment by 2013 and super firstrate cluster establishment by 2018. Despite this rosy vision of global clusters, Daedeok special zone's goal of luring overseas R&D laboratories appears to be progressing at a snail's pace to date. Accordingly, special zone associated institutions need the wisdom to cooperate with each other and make concessions where necessary for the sake of mutual benefit rather than be over-ambitious and competitive, according to the persons concerned. In a panel discussion at an international symposium regarding ideas for speeding up development of Daedeok R&D Special Zone, participants came up with diverse opinions. In particular, two divergent opinions emerged . firstly that Daedeok has to lay a foundation for growth on the basis of government support; and secondly that Daedeok has to adopt a private initiative model to be reborn as a super first-rate global innovation cluster. Cho Young-hwa, president of Daedeok Science Town Association, who supports the first approach, maintained that the Daedeok R&D special zone has to develop under the guidance and control of the government, adding that Daedeok should select a compromise model in which private sector companies can take part. In contrast, Dr. William F. Miller, professor of. Stanford University, USA, pointed out that in order for a cluster to succeed eventually, it has to change through private initiative, explaining that in the case of Japan's Scuba, it was a government initiative model cluster, but this was not of help to economic growth, whereas Silicon Valley proved to be a great success by launching itself wholly with a private initiative. Kim Chang-hwan, director of the Economic Affairs Division, DJMC and Kim Yong-moon, director-general of the Presidential Committee on Balanced National Development, were of the same opinion as president Cho, presenting their opinion that Daedeok still needs governmental support. However, overseas cluster experts were inclined to agree with the view that Daedeok can succeed only when the Valley goes along with private sector initiative. President Sung Chang-mo of Inje University, advised that securing private sector investment was the secret of success for special zones, while. Yon Won-seok, president of the Korea Technology Transfer Center, said private enterprises need to take part actively from the development stage of R&D tasks.