[Sponsored Report] Incheon outlines future potential of economic zone

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[Sponsored Report] Incheon outlines future potential of economic zone


The state-of-the-art Songdo Convensia is located within the Incheon Free Economic Zone.

International conglomerates are settling down in the Incheon Free Economic Zone, and Songdo International Business District’s UN Green Climate Fund (GCF) has triggered an influx of high-tech companies pursuing an eco-friendly future. Foreign firms and joint ventures with Korean companies are part of the main growth engine. The GCF will move in soon, and its fellow UN affiliate, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Unescap), already arrived at the end of May.

Aiming even higher, the city introduces its vision for future investors this morning in Seoul. Some 300 executives of private firms, investment groups and economic organizations are coming from inside and outside Korea to hear the goals. There will be one-on-one investment consultations to promote Incheon’s geographic advantage, which include its proximity to the international airport and marine distribution hubs. The city expects to sign MOUs worth 300 billion won ($265 million) for projects such as an international ginseng retail center and Hallyu culture complex.

The event will not just focus on the IFEZ but will also showcase the growth potential of investment strongholds located in old downtown for more balanced city development. Thanks to various booming industries, Incheon has also ranked No. 1 in terms of employment rate among metropolitan cities for last year. About 150,000 jobs have been created in the city since 2010, and there will likely be another 50,000 jobs by next year.

With Samsung Biologics in 2011, biopharmaceuticals have become a signature industry of the district. Its facility will take charge of production for biosimilar and biopharmaceutical products all the way from research and development to production. Full-scale operations should begin shortly.

Dong-A Pharmaceuticals is constructing research and production facilities for similar products in cooperation with Japan’s Meiji Seika Pharma. Ajinomoto-Genexine, another joint venture between Korea and Japan, is also on its way to locally producing materials for the biotech industry. In particular, the venture will focus on the development and production of its patented serum-free cell culture medium.

Amkor Technology, an American semiconductor giant, will start building its Songdo production plant tomorrow, and an LG Electronics auto parts factory for electric cars, which will start operating in early July, will help Songdo lead in yet another pioneering specialty. More domestic companies will join the cutting-edge cluster soon. Lotte and E-land will bring premium outlets and duty-free stores to the district that aims to draw 40 million tourists each year. The city expects that the new investments will again revitalize the district, which first won the GCF secretariat back in 2010 and began attracting foreign money.

Asia’s first BMW driving center will open next summer on Yeongjong Island. As big as 33 football fields, the center aims to welcome 100,000 visitors every year. The island, also home to Incheon International Airport, is transforming into an aviation mecca. The so-called “Yeongjong Sky City” will include Boeing’s aviation training center and an engine maintenance center belonging to a joint venture between Korean Air and U.S. engine maker Pratt and Whitney.

In the meantime, Shinsegae plans to open a shopping mall in Cheongna District to accommodate the new businesses and growing population, while Hana Financial Group is planning to build a financial town in collaboration with LH Corporation and the Incheon Metropolitan Government.

Last year, the city attracted 3.4 trillion won in foreign direct investment, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Incheon Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

By Kim Ji-yoon [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]
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