Two cities flourish in the shadow of metropolises

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Two cities flourish in the shadow of metropolises

With their populations exceeding half a million for two consecutive years, Hwaseong in Gyeonggi and Gimhae in South Gyeongsang have risen to “big city” status.

As they deal with their boom in populations, the cities are luring many companies to the growing cities, and in return the cities are planning to enhance their public transportation systems along with other city expansion projects.

Young Chemical Co., an adhesive bandage manufacturing company, will relocate its headquarters from Yangsan in eastern South Gyeongsang to Juchon industrial complex in the neighboring city of Gimhae, early next year.

Some 20 supervisors and 60 employees will be transferred to Gimhae and another 40 new employees will be selected from Gimhae residents.

The company’s president, Yoon Young-hyun, 71, stated, “The support of the city was great but transportation and location was also good, so we decided to put our headquarters and factory in Gimhae.”

Meanwhile, a 39-year-old office worker, Lee Jin-ho, was very concerned when he first decided to move to the Dongtan Metapolis apartment complex in Hwaseong. At the time, Hwaseong had a bad reputation after a series of murders occurred in the city.

But luckily, Lee’s worries were unfounded, as he found that living in Dongtan he enjoyed the luxury of a high-rise apartment and traffic-free highways; a better alternative to his old home in Bundang.

According to the Ministry of Public Administration and Security on Wednesday, the population of Hwaseong at the end of 2011 was 516,765 and Gimhae was 507,062.

With the boom in population, the improvement in transportation, employment and living conditions attracted people and companies from nearby areas.

The ministry stated that both cities will be able to establish their own administrative districts and enjoy more autonomy.

Gimhae is about half an hour to an hour away from large cities including Busan, Changwon, Ulsan and Daegu. From 3,512 businesses in 2001, the number increased to 6,491 last year. Likewise, there were four industrial complexes in the city in 1990 - now there are 14.


By We Sung-wook, Yoo Gil-yong [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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