[EDITORIALS]Think locally, act locallyIndustrial complexes built in China by the publically owned Korea Land Corp. and Industrial Complex Management Corp. along with regional governments, have reportedly become a pain in the neck. Originally, the complexes were formed to help domestic companies start businesses in China, but demand forecasts for these complexes was incorrect, and now few Korean companies want to enter the facilities. Ultimately, there is no choice but to sell the complexes to Chinese companies below their prime cost, resulting in a significant waste of taxpayer money. These funds will now only benefit Chinese companies.
According to a report released by the Board of Audit and Inspection on how foreign industrial complexes were established and managed, Incheon Metropolitan City, the Korea Land Corp. and the Industrial Complex Management Corp. spent a total of 47.3 billion won ($48.8 million) to form four industrial complexes in Shenyang, Tianjin, Dandong and Donghan. However, only 21.5 percent of the companies setting up in those zones is Korean. The rest of the space has been sold at dirt-cheap prices or is not sold yet.
The audit board warned the mayor of Incheon city about inefficient use of his budget, and told the commerce minister that foreign industrial complexes should only be built after all the participating companies have been decided, or to build the complex jointly with a private firm. However, rebuking local governments and pressuring public corporations is not going to solve the problem. It was wrong from the very beginning to have public corporations and local governments take the initiative in such projects.
Local governments should do their best to keep domestic companies from leaving the country, and try to attract foreign companies to their regions. However, under the pretense of supporting domestic companies, they became directly involved in the construction of foreign industrial complexes. Not only were they thinking backwards, but went to extremes in doing so.
The Korea Land Corp. and Industrial Complex Management Corp. were established to build industrial complexes in Korea. We cannot understand what they were thinking when they abandoned local projects to work overseas, forgetting their original duties. It is natural that such projects did not turn out well.
Companies should advance into foreign markets on their own, and local governments or public corporations should not meddle in the process.