K-pop one of keys to raising profile of service sector

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K-pop one of keys to raising profile of service sector

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance unveiled a set of policies yesterday aimed at fostering the high-value-added service industry as part of its goal to become the world’s 10th-largest exporter of services.

The package includes providing increased financial support for the development and export of K-pop content, eased regulations for medical service providers and tax relief for foreign education institutions.

Korea currently is the 15th-largest exporter of services in a global market worth an estimated $3.7 trillion.

“Although the government has been trying to increase its support for the service industry, service providers aren’t getting as much support as manufacturers,” said Deputy Finance Minister Joo Hyung-hwan.

“It will ramp up its support for the service industry, in terms of both funding and policy, to a level on par with the manufacturing industry.”

The government plans to build a concert hall that can accommodate 15,000 people at an undisclosed location in the Seoul metropolitan area, with the aim of attracting more foreigners to the country.

It will provide 25 billion won ($22 million) of an estimated 200 billion won needed to build the facility. The remainder will be provided by private companies, the ministry expects.

An appropriate location will be selected by the government in October. Construction will begin in 2013 with the aim of being completed by 2016.

In a recent report evaluating the country’s new growth engines, the ministry found that Korea has the potential to become a leading service exporter and switch its mainstay industry away from manufacturing.

The number of foreigners who visit Korea to receive medical services jumped from 60,000 in 2009 to 120,000 in 2011.

Meanwhile, the number of international conferences held in the country also rose from 347 to 469. Exports of cultural content, especially those related to K-pop, skyrocketed 977 percent.

By Song Su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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