Cosmetics, web giants get creative in Jeju initiative
At the Jeju center, which will consist of two locations, the IT and cosmetics companies hope to create a Korean version of Silicon Beach, an IT business hub near Los Angeles where nearly 370,000 start-ups and IT giants Google, Facebook and Microsoft are located.
DaumKakao, which has its headquarters in Jeju, and AmorePacific, which has green tea and related culture and tourism businesses there, hope to create a similar environment in Jeju together, where software, beauty and tourism industries coexist and create synergy by cooperation.
DaumKakao invested 157 billion won ($140.6 million) and AmorePacific 100 billion won to open innovation centers and establish a fund to finance start-ups and small businesses.
President Park Geun-hye and some 150 people, including DaumKakao Chairman Kim Bum-soo, AmorePacific CEO Seo Kyung-bae and Jeju Gov. Won Hee-ryong, attended the opening ceremony of Jeju Creative Economy Innovation Center on Friday.
“Nowadays, Jeju is not just a tourist place, but a place for creation and innovation for entrepreneurs and artist migrants,” said Park, “as many software and IT companies are moving their headquarters here.”
Park mentioned that Jeju welcomed 12.3 million tourists last year, more than popular vacation destinations like Hawaii and Bali, but Jeju businessmen have seen profits decline due to excessive competition because of a flood of new businesses. She added that enhancing quality for tourism is essential.
AmorePacific will operate a separate innovation center in Seogwipo, southern Jeju, scheduled to open in September with a focus on cosmetics and green tea tourism industries. The company will assist with research for start-up businesses related to cosmetics and tea, and jointly launch tourism programs with them.
DaumKakao offers its global IT and content creator networks as well as start-up assistance groups, including Tencent of China, Global Brain of Japan and Appota of Vietnam, via joint business projects and human resource exchange programs.
Also, the company promotes Jeju-based start-ups through its DaumKakao News Funding service, an online crowdfunding platform.
Through such initiatives, the Jeju Creative Economy Innovation Center will be a control tower for integrated business projects, such as utilizing beacons - transmitters that interact with smartphones via Bluetooth and provide information services - at major tourist spots and allowing start-ups to develop mobile tourism information apps that interact with the beacons.
The Jeju center also will arrange temporary accommodations, provide work stations and open an offline store.
Start-up incubators in residence will provide mentoring services.
BY KIM JI-YOON [email@example.com]
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