Powwow discusses Gaepo-dong idea

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Powwow discusses Gaepo-dong idea

Some 200 application developers, IT experts and Seoul’s mayor gathered yesterday to float ideas about how to turn the city’s large untapped land in Gaepo-dong into a multi-purpose IT complex and delved into specific functions of the new facility.

The 16,077-square-meter (3.97-acre) area was supposed to be home to an international school. But faced with a shrinking population of foreign students, the city government shifted to building a multipurpose IT complex aimed at helping IT developers, investors and foreign IT companies come together for profitable collaborations.

The city said that the primary mission is to assist local IT start-ups’ efforts to boost their presence abroad by linking developers with foreign venture capitalists.

The center will also be devoted to inviting Korean IT workers in Silicon Valley to let them have interactions with local developers to share their experiences.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government will conduct a feasibility study and come up with a construction plan this year and embark on construction next year with a deadline set for 2016.

One of the presenters yesterday was Lim Jung-wook, managing director of Startup Alliance in Korea, an association of IT companies and investors.

Lim said that Korea lacks such a gathering place for people in the IT sector, though the number of start-ups here has rapidly increased. He added that the venue will be developed into “an oasis-like place” for people in the IT field.

“Silicon Valley developers often meet in garages to discuss their ideas,” Lim said in a statement.

“But for Korean developers, having such a place is almost impossible because rents are prohibitive, especially near the Gangnam neighborhood.”

Park Shin-eui, a business professor at Kyung Hee University, said the complex should incorporate the values of art and culture in order to encourage convergences between different technologies and fields.

Also attending was Yoon Jong-yung, president of the Bay Area K Group, a business network organization for Korean tech professionals working in the San Francisco Bay area.

He said the complex should be a focal point for Korean tech professionals.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon pledged to take seriously the opinions he heard at yesterday’s meeting when directing the building of the center.

“Seoul city will continue to listen to the voices of those in the industry to make the new establishment for their sake, not the city government,” the mayor said.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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