[Sponsored Report] International investors flock to high-tech IFEZ

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[Sponsored Report] International investors flock to high-tech IFEZ

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The Songdo Global Campus hosts the opening ceremony for the University of Utah and Ghent University on Sept. 1 in Incheon.Provided by the IFEZ

After 11 years of development, the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) has turned the muddy shores of Songdo into a high-tech town with 81,000 residents, and the infrastructure for global businesses and international residents has also greatly improved. Its charm as a business hub has caught the eyes of many international business organizations.

The FEZ houses conglomerates such as Kolon Water and Energy, Posco Engineering and Construction, and the Kolon Global Corporation, the distribution, trading and construction affiliate of Kolon Group. Daewoo International has also planned to locate its office in the North East Asia Trade Tower.

Investors are also paying attention to Incheon’s growth. Foreign direct investment rose from $1 million in 2004 to $6.6 billion this August thanks to IFEZ’s economic potential. A noteworthy investment record was made in 2012, when $2.1 billion poured into the region. Currently, 72 companies have invested in the FEZ and 1,147 companies have moved their offices into the area.

Songdo is the center of attention for investors because of its potential to become one of the biggest bio-health business cities. Preeminent bio-medical companies such as Samsung BioLogics and Celltrion have already located their offices in Songdo.

The districts of Cheongna and Yeongjong are also leaping forward. Casino resorts in Yeongjong Midan City and Hana Financial Town in Cheongna have created a total of 40,800 jobs in the area. The casino, exclusively for foreigners, is expected to begin operating before the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang to attract international visitors.

The IFEZ is also the seat of 13 international organizations including the Green Climate Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, which are helping to sustain healthy economic conditions.

High-quality education in the area is also a reason to move to IFEZ. Ghent University and the University of Utah celebrated their openings at the Songdo Global Campus of Incheon on Sept. 1. In addition, the State University of New York opened in 2012 and George Mason University opened in March. Each school offers their most competitive department from their main campuses and combines them to form a powerful integrated international school in the FEZ. In addition to providing international families with an adequate environment for their children’s education, these schools will also serve as a labor pool for local employment.

The IFEZ Authority seeks to further grow the area with deregulation. The Authority has proposed to the government to designate the IFEZ as a deregulation test-bed. With 0.2 percent of land portion and 0.4 percent of the nation’s population, the FEZ could serve as an example of an area that reduces the anxiety and negative perspective on government deregulation. The Authority believes that testing deregulation in the area will encourage economic growth not only within the FEZ but the whole nation.

“The IFEZ is an economic engine for the Korean economy and the pride of Incheon,” said Lee Jong-cheol, commissioner of the IFEZ Authority. “With passion and pride, we will strive to lead the service industry to prosper.”

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