This article is the first story of G Valley series. From the next issues, Korea IT Times will cover "G Valley Best Technology" in a series.
SEOUL, KOREA – G Valley is a Korean version of the US-based Silicon Valley, which houses more than 12,000 small- and mid-sized firms, 120 manufacturing plants, and IT start-ups. It is noteworthy that 30% of those who are working in G Valley have a master’s or Ph.D. degree, underscoring that the complex has a pool of human resources. Judging from the fact that the word ‘G’ of G Valley stands for ‘Green’, it is of note that the industrial complex located in Guro-dong, Seoul, has been spearheading the efforts of developing and bringing Korea’s green industries abroad.
However, we have seen most of the G Valley-based enterprises boasting of their own advanced technology end up in failure when they try to make inroads into the competitive global market. The reason behind the failure lies in the stark reality that they lack the knowledge of how to promote their business in the first place, and don’t get enough support and resources to attract attention from potential business partners in other countries. That’s why the Seoul Digital Industrial Complex Management Association was formed to help domestic companies successfully make big strides on the global stage. The association has been making its efforts to establish a network among CEOs by holding forums and events on a regular basis. At these events CEOs from existing companies or start-ups come together to introduce their own business and share information about their success stories and know-hows. The crucial business information they can attain at the forums and meetings lays the foundation for their successful business.
In a recent interview, the chairman of Seoul Digital Industrial Complex Management Associaion, Lee Young-jae, made it clear that the G Valley Industrial Complex has been at the forefront of opening up ways for manufacturing firms to integrate their traditional technology into IT as well as transform themselves into global players with the newly-developed skills. Considering that it houses more than 12,000 companies, compared to 4,000 in Silicon Valley, G Valley will be able to grow into its potential as a highly reliable and crucial industrial complex only if the government spares no efforts to invest in its development. G valley enables various industries to keep pace with their counterparts in other countries by learning their state-of-the-art technology and expertise. However, more efforts need to be made to put the technology of G Valley out to the global market, which will give Korea a competitive edge.
The chairman is also the President of Hanilworld, which specializes in developing environmentally-friendly products. The company has successfully made its presence felt in both the domestic and global markets with both new technology development and quality improvement. It produces green products such as 4-step water purifiers which filter 99.9% of bacteria in real time while keeping minerals intact. It garnered lots of attention when it released a breakthrough product called ‘PHILEO’ with a sterilization system.
Since 2000, the green-technology pioneer has also been endeavoring to realize business diversification, enrichment of business structure, and globalization through overseas expansion. “Hanilworld Co., Ltd. will keep trying to make a big stride forward to not only develop the clearest and safest water purification in the world, but also to invent green blue-ocean products as long as I have the privilege of being the president of this extraordinary company,” said Mr. Lee. Hanilworld has maintained its recognition as Excellent Company Brand of Seoul and Korea Service Quality Excellent Company for 7 consecutive years. And the awards it has won show the progress it has made in the green industry.
G Valley sets itself apart from Silicon Valley with its own advanced and noble technology which simultaneously embraces the strengths from Silicon Valley and Korea’s unique traditions. “Small-sized IT groups must come together and reinforce their own skills in order to succeed in the global market. Cooperation and coordination among business groups are the most important factors for successful expansion into the global market. That can allow foreign players to realize that they can attain much-needed technology and expertise when they come to Korea” said the chairman. He also pointed out that G valley appeals to potential business partners with affordable working conditions and excellent technology. One person familiar with the industrial complex explains that its low land value, tax benefits, and excellent geographic conditions make it easy for potential business partners and start-ups to secure human resources and technology thanks to the vicinity of other major cities. They are also able to form a much-needed network which allows them to collect and share key business information.
With more ventures moving over to the industrial complex from Teheran Industrial Complex, Gangnam, which has long been Korea’s incubator for innovation and technology, the number of ventures working in G Valley has skyrocketed to 859 in 2007, from 84 in 2000. And the number of companies operating in G Valley has risen fifteenfold to 11,056 in just one decade, while the number of employees working in G Valley has spiked 11.7% to 140,362, compared with the previous year. That is clear evidence of significant growth in such a short period of time.
G Valley also garnered worldwide recognition when one enterprise signed a memorandum of understanding with TOMRA, Norway’s number one recycling equipment manufacturer, which agreed on a 6-million-dollar investment in the green industries of Korea. This agreement proves that G Valley plays a vital role as the nation’s growth engine of raising national recognition worldwide and boosting economic development.
The Seoul digital industrial complex is the first of its kind in Korea which was designed to boost exports and contribute to economic development in the 1960s. With all kinds of industries such as IT, semiconductors, and digital contents springing up all throughout the region, the industrial complex has become a hub of technological expertise and innovation, spawning new ideas and breakthroughs.
There is good reason why people call the significant development of G Valley the “Miracle of Han-River.” The world was taken by surprise when Korea rose from the ashes of seemingly endless war into the world’s 15th economic power and became the first to come out of the worst economic recession in history. G Valley has shown that similar strength and resilience through its rapid development. The G Valley area has transformed itself from the most undeveloped and impoverished region of Seoul into one of the most active and dynamic regions full of potentials and opportunities. G Valley is a testament to Korea’s globalization and urbanization. Now we can say that G Valley is the embodiment of Korea’s dynamism and strength. G Valley has been and will continue to play a leading role as a growth engine for the bright future of Korea.
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