World Trade Center Seoul celebrates 30 years

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World Trade Center Seoul celebrates 30 years


Left: The World Trade Center Seoul under construction in 1986. Right: The center as it appears today. [KOREA INTERNATIONAL TRADE ASSOCIATION]

The World Trade Center Seoul, a center for business meetings and conferences run by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) celebrates its 30th anniversary tomorrow.

The center was built on Sept. 7, 1988, just 10 days before the beginning of the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul.

The massive center, built on 190,000 square meters (47 acres) of land in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, contains the COEX Mall and Exhibition Halls, a central venue for meetings, conferences and exhibitions in Korea.

The 55-story Trade Tower, which offers office space for trade companies, is another landmark feature of the center. KITA said the skyscraper was designed to look like a dragon flying into the sky, with hopes that Korean trade would grow like a soaring dragon.

KITA projects Korea’s exports to grow from $60.7 billion in 1988 to $605 billion by the end of this year, a whopping ten-fold growth over 30 years. Imports are expected to grow from $51.8 billion to $531 billion during the same period.

“World Trade Center Seoul has been expanding its facilities in line with the changes in Korea’s export strategies and international meetings held in the country from time to time,” KITA said in statement. “Now it has become a hub not only for global business but also for cultural experiences, tourism and shopping.”

Following the expansion, more and more people were drawn to work at the World Trade Center Seoul. Companies that use office space offered at the Trade Tower as well as the ASEM Tower hire a total of 18,000 employees, and commercial spaces like the COEX Mall also employ about 11,000 in staff. In total, 33,500 employees work inside the trade hub.

Those visiting the center for business and shopping add up to 39.87 million people per year, according to KITA.

The center plans to keep transforming, especially as the fourth industrial revolution has put traditional industries in a fierce battle for digitization.

“To help start-ups go global and fight through the fierce competition, we will build a 250-pyong [8,890-square-foot] center dedicated to start-up support in the second floor of the COEX building by the early half of next year,” said Choi Yong-min, head of the management division at KITA.

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