Daedeok Innopolis exists because science research and technology creation and utilization have become an important task for Korea's knowledgebased society, and the fountainhead of national competitiveness.
In recent years, latecomer countries have been chasing new industry development by benchmarking Korea. These new countries take advantage of cheap labor power, one of their distinguishing characteristics.
So, Korea came to be in competition with many latecomer countries in the manufacturing field, previously the strongest field for Korea. We began to fall behind others in the manufacturing field. The way for Korea to live in this vortex is self-evident, Director General Ryu Joong-ick, Innopolis Planning Office, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) made clear. He added that if its not cutting edge technology, it should not be.
In a nutshell, the Director general said in an exclusive interview with The Korea IT Times: 'Projects based on new information are needed and in particular, in order to maintain our position as the 11th economically most powerful country in the world, a new spring and new strategies are necessary in which cutting-edge information will play the core role.'
Nurturing like the second Silicon Valley
Director General Ryu sees the future of Daedeok Innopolis positively, explaining that if someone comes to visit, he can immediately see the potential of Korea. Ryu said that Daedeok Innopolis is running number one nationwide in patent applications and is constructing firm IT infrastructure. In the past factory girls had played a pivotal role for industrial development. But now the special talent who accumulates state-of-theart IT experience, that is, the role of doctoral manpower is awfully important, he points out, adding that 10% of them work in Daedeok.
This past July, special laws and policies to nurture Daedeok Innopolis were enacted, according to Ryu.
By means of this law, a five year plan to grow Daedeok Innopolis is being put into action. Daedeok Innopolis' vision is to leap into a leading innovation cluster by 2015, as a second Silicon Valley.
The director general has committed himself to make Daedeok Innopolis play a pivotal role in the Korean economy. Needless to say, the Innopolis Planning Office, MOST, will do its best to allow 3,000 companies there to increase their revenue, he stressed.
In conjunction with MOST's efforts to nurture Daedeok Innopolis, Ryu stresses: 'Our first goal is technology commercialization, and to activate it.'
Furthermore, it is said that MOST has constructed its fund of 80 billion won (US$85.5 million) which can support the production in new corporations as well as other industry functions, according to Ryu.
In relation to tax benefits as well, Ryu introduced that Daedeok Innopolis is 100% exempted from acquisition tax, registration tax, and local tax as a part of governmental support. In the case of national tax and corporate tax, they are exempted 100% over three years, and 50% for the two years after that.
Ryu explains that foreign enterprises receive the full scale of tax benefits for cutting-edge technology corporations once they are designated as such.
Patent applications and IT infrastructure
Regarding a competition race with China in inducing foreign investors, he notes: 'We cannot but cling to the cuttingedge value industry, whose value is high because Korea can't compete with China's low wage market.'
In comparison with China offering low merits, Ryu said that he supposes if wellmatched enterprises can enter Daedeok Innopolis, they will be able to blossom. Actually, the area has superior technology manpower and infrastructure compared with competing areas, according to his opinion.
The Director General spoke about the edge of Daedeok Innopolis by saying: 'It is before everything else technology's edge that Daedeok Innopolis has accumulated over the past 30 years.' It is true that Daedeok Innopolis is still only known in Korea alone. The Director General said that MOST is devoting a lot of time and effort on acquainting foreign countries with Daedeok Innopolis' excellent features to attract substantial and promising foreign investors. It also stepped up investment inducement activities by recently creating an ombudsman institution to aid foreign companies.
He said that MOST can support everything for foreign investors, including R&D and fund investment.
Keeping an eye on the importance of marketing, the MOST Innopolis Planning Office is closely observing foreign venture capital or the people who seek the technology. Ryu explained that if foreign corporations holding fund power commercialize Korea's pure development technology through investment, these can be listed sufficiently in the NASDAQ stock listing of the United States.
Although the Innopolis Planning Office, MOST, is unfolding brisk publicity activities for larger domestic conglomerates as well, he said it is regrettable that larger conglomerates such as Samsung or LG don't invest in Daedeok Innopolis more aggressively.
Providing that the period to compose systems and institutions was one year from this date, he affirmed that from now on the process will show basic outcomes.
The Director General said that at present, 21 superior projects are being dug out, but this will be enlarged up to 120 projects next year. He stresses that any amount of development is possible according to how we do because Daejeon has its development potential and the Central Government also is pushing ahead development.
Ryu epitomized that the role of the Innopolis Planning Office is to link between corporations wanting to invest in the long run and laboratories who are looking for investments. Last but not least, the Director General would like to underline that the head of Daedeok Innopolis is the corporate laboratories there, not MOST, Daejeon Metropolitan City, or the support headquarters.