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[Sponsored Report] Incheon rising as a force in NE Asia

Feb 26,2010
Incheon Bridge [YONHAP]
Incheon is well known internationally as the home of Korea’s main airport.

But the city itself is quickly gaining prestige on the global stage as it comes of age alongside Seoul.

Incheon, which will host a meeting for finance officials and central bank deputies tomorrow ahead of the G-20 Summit later this fall, is sprawled out over 1,007 square kilometers and ranks as the third-largest city in Korea.

It has quickly developed into a logistics hub and gateway to the region, home to an international port and an airport that ranks as the largest in Northeast Asia.

At the same time, the Incheon Free Economic Zone development plan - which encompasses the Songdo, Yeongdo and Cheongna districts - will transform the city into a force in the international business world in the 21st century.

The economic zone, also known as IFEZ, aims to become a top business district in Northeast Asia by 2020. It recently completed the first phase of development, which involved constructing base facilities and laying out an overall infrastructure. The IFEZ also has been concentrating on luring foreign investment projects and developing and promoting its brand worldwide.

Media outlets such as CNN in the United States reported on the project and mentioned Songdo as a development model for other areas of the world.

The first phase of development centered on building roads and water and sewage facilities. It also focused on developing an international business district and industrial and bio complexes.

The first phase was a rousing success, as IFEZ netted 56 investments from companies. The construction costs on these projects total $64.3 billion.

The second phase of development starts this year and will continue until 2014 when the Asian Games are held. The vision for this phase involves developing the zone into a key business city in Northeast Asia and developing overall strategies with tenants.

The major focus involves luring investments in several main areas: business and logistics, IT and bio, education, and tourism and culture.

Operation centers will also be built within each business district to oversee large issues such as transportation, disaster prevention, theft prevention and services, among other areas.

A big part of the zone involves encouraging environmentally friendly policies and regulations. Along those lines, the IFEZ is planning to reduce carbon emissions 15 percent by 2014 and 30 percent by 2020 to promote green development.

The zone is expected to further enhance Incheon’s reputation in the international business community.

“In the second phase of development we plan to create new jobs to strengthen national competitiveness,” said Lee Heon-seok, the commissioner of IFEZ authority.

“Also, by fostering foreign education and medical services and attracting tourists, we can promote this development as a model to the world. We expect to see numerous benefits through the internationalization of the Incheon city brand and our work to improve economic cooperations between North and South Korea.”

By Lee Ji-hyun [concordia@joongang.co.kr]


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