The World City Expo 2009 (www.incheonexpo2009.org) to be held in Incheon from August 7 to October 25, 2009 will enhance the brand value of Incheon in the international stage, a top official of the Incheon World City Expo Organizing Committee said.
In general, the Expo has the specific subjects of water, environment and life. However, Incheon World City Expo is the one that Incheon Metropolitan City will hold with City as its theme for the first time in the world, Kang Dong-suk, chairman of the Expo organizing committee said.
The World City Expo Organizing Committee was founded on February 1 in 2007 with the purpose of introducing Incheon to the world by hosting a world-class exposition, the World City Expo 2009.
Noting that competition between cities is becoming fiercer than that between countries, Kang said: "City competitiveness is national competitiveness. As a result, we plan to enhance the nation's competitive power by successfully hosting the World City Expo 2009 in Incheon."
In an interview with the Korea IT Times, Kang said that the majority of the world's population will live in cities, making city issues the key issues for mankind.
"Under this circumstance, cooperation and exchange among the world's cities are becoming increasingly important. With the goal of solving the challenges cities face through collaboration, we conceive the World City Expo as an opportunity to bring light and share city issues," he said.
World City Expo 2009 will be a stage showcasing various elements of the world's cities including their history, culture, business, environment, tourism, and development plans. The Expo will also be a festival of world cities and will create opportunities for the participants to build professional friendship as well as business exchange between investors, companies and the various administrations of many leading cities.
He said that 200 cities and 200 companies from around the world are expected to participate in the Expo and that the number of expected visitors will be 10 million during the 80 days. In this Expo, we will provide promotional opportunities for various local governments and international organizations to present city development plans and to discuss their marketing efforts and achievement to improve the lives of their citizens.
"In addition, Incheon will provide fairground and facilities for global companies where they may exchange information and engage in business as well as promotional opportunities," said Kang. The main contents of the Expo will be the attraction of major international conferences such as the world city forum and the world city development general meeting, investment forums, and city-related academic societies.
"In particular, we will present a UCity based on such information technologies as USN and RFID and other core technologies of future-oriented basic facilities to participants in the World City Expo 2009, offering the places for education, experience and benchmarking," he said. "Besides, we will hold a total of 100 events during the 80-day Expo period to provide visitors with great pleasure, emotion and necessary information," said Kang.
Importance of World City Expo 2009
The Expo is one of the world's big three festivals along with Olympics and the World Cup. The Olympics is a twoweek long sports-centered event, whereas the Expo is a global event being held for three to six months. In particular, the World City Expo 2009 is very important from strategic and imperative viewpoints.
Strategically, the competitiveness of a country largely depends on the competition results of major cities, core growth engines in the 21st century. For instance, the brilliant development of Shanghai and Dubai is considered to be the result of the strategy of China and the United Arab Emirates to intensively develop stronghold cities. Stronghold cities are utilizing international events as a good chance to actively develop themselves.
From this point of view, the World City Expo 2009 is Incheon's strategic means, said Kang. Incheon is now dreaming of becoming a hub city in Northeast Asia and the most dynamic city propelling development of the nation's first and biggest economic free zone. Under its ambitious vision of becoming one of the world's top 10 cities before 2020, Incheon has attracted the 2014 Asian Games and is preparing the World City Expo 2009.
"From an imperative viewpoint, we can say that Incheon, which is actively pushing for the economic free zone to become a hub in Northeast Asia in the 21st century, is the core driving force of national development. Accordingly, Incheon's success is the future of Korea," said Kang.
However, we need to pay keen attention to neighboring environments, he said. For instance, Beijing and Shanghai are running toward a global hub city through the Olympics and the Expo, respectively.
Meanwhile, Dubai and other newly emerging cities are joining the competition to become Asia's hub city now being pursued by Singapore and Hong Kong.
Since 2003, Incheon has been going all-out to attract foreign investment to free economic zones in Songdo, Yeongjong and Cheongra to make the city a business, logistics and financial hub of Northeast Asia. However, it needs more time to produce tangible results.
It is almost certain for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2010 Shanghai Expo to attract keen interest from people around the world. It is a crisis for us but it can also become a chance if we make efforts to herald Incheon to the world through such international events, he said.
Incheon boasts of its excellent logistics infrastructure that connects 51 cities with population of over 1 million within 3.5 hours. In addition, it has a neighboring market in the metropolitan area with a population of 23 million and affluent IT manpower. Nevertheless, the shortage of awareness of Incheon is its Achilles' heel. The Incheon World City Expo to be held in 2009 will offer an epoch-making chance to herald the competitiveness of Incheon pursuing a hub of Northeast Asia to the world, he said.
Ways to increase synergy effects
Amid rapid growth of China and borderless competition with other cities, Incheon has been propelling its development strategy to become the center of international logistics and business.
In keeping with the city's designation as a free economic zone in 2003, it has also strongly pushed for balanced city projects.
The World City Expo 2009 is expected to make Incheon a global city that people from around the world wish to visit, live in and do business, enhancing its brand value in the global society, Kang said.
In particular, the Expo will suggest problems of the present city and the future image of the city in the 21st century alike, attracting keen interest from global investors. It will also introduce history, culture and tourism of Incheon and Korea to the world, offering chances to make investment in the free economic zone for foreign investors.