Busan-Jinhae Free Economic Zone (BJFEZ) was selected as one of the top free economic zones in Asia for 2017 by the influential U.S. magazine specialized in investment attraction, "Site Selection."
"'Site Selection," issued by the U.S. Conway Data, is a bimonthly magazine that introduces major global investment information, including major investment regions and investors' trend, to managers in charge of corporate plants and facilities in the world, including North America.
Site Selection has selected top free economic zones by continent among some 4,000 special economic zones in the world through its survey of about 1,000 business experts and consultants on such criteria as successful cases of investment attraction, easy accessibility to information, and supports for investors.
Site Selection, which selected top two special economic zones in each of the six continents, including the U.S., Europe and Asia, singled out BJFEZ and Shanghai Free Economic Zone as the top special economic zones in Asia.
Related to this, Korea IT Times had an interview with Atsushi Suzuki, CEO of The Nice Korea, one of the most promising foreign companies invested in BJFEZ, on Nov. 24 and looked into the prospects of the zone's development.
In the interview, CEO Suzuki said, "We selected Busan New Port logistics complex as our investment place as it has a charm as the hub of the global combined logistics system. Under the judgment that Busan New Port logistics complex is outstanding in terms of operation function, we invested some 30 billion won to build a pre-cut timber processing plant. The plant completed in September this year will be used as the production base of timber, eco-friendly construction material that attracts keen interest from the world."
The Nice Korea is a Busan-based corporation of the Suteki Nice Group, a Japanese global construction material (timber) producer. Established in 1950, the group has some 2,100 executives and staffs and operates subsidiaries and branches in Japan and seven foreign countries. Its major business are production of construction materials and wooden houses.
Since its establishment in 2013, The Nice Korea has operated a general logistics center on the 10,000-pyeong lot in the Ung-dong hinterland of Busan New Port. It also built the pre-cut timber processing plant on a 7,000-pyeong lot to advance into the domestic wooden housing market and export wooden houses to foreign countries.
"As BJFEZ is excellent in the hub function in terms of logistics, we import timber from Europe and North America, process and manufacture it here, and enhance its added value for sales in the Korean and Japanese markets. We also plan to expand the supply of 'Power Home' houses that were built by using the timber in the limelight as eco-friendly construction material, to the domestic market. In addition, we plan to export the products to Taiwan, Indonesia and China in earnest ," he said.
Asked about the merits of BJFEZ compared with the similar zones in China, Hong Kong and Singapore, the CEO said, "Firstly, it is geographically very near to Japan. Secondly, Korea is a nation of free democracy so that we can engage in international businesses freely, smoothly and stably."
On the role of the Korean government or the BJFEZ Authority, CEO Suzuki said, "Attracting investment from foreign companies is important, but more important one is to extend active supports to invested companies until their operation becomes stable. In line with this, Korean authorities' active legal, administrative and environmental supports are essential. For instance, a prompt notice on changed laws and regulations and simplification of various process procedures are necessary. Through such assistance, BJFEZ can enhance its status of investment place and attract healthy foreign companies' active investment."
Finally, he added, " The Nice Korea is now developing and supplying eco-friendly houses designed to withstand strong earthquake. In the future, we'd like to contribute to improving the quality of wooden houses and relevant technologies in the Korean market."