Gwangju to be center of air purifier industry

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Gwangju to be center of air purifier industry

As Korea continues its battle to improve air quality, the government is planning to bolster the air purifier industry in the southwestern city of Gwangju and revive the depressed regional economy.

On Monday at Gwangju Techno Park, the Gwangju Metropolitan Government, the industrial park and LG Electronics signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate in research and development, training professionals and developing manufacturing in the air purifier industry.

The city is hoping to become a hub in the budding market that has seen explosive growth after worsening levels of air pollution in recent years. According to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Energy, the local air purifier market size grew from 1 trillion won ($883.5 million) in 2016 to 2.5 trillion won last year.

“By cooperating with LG Electronics, we will support companies in the industry to release products with the latest technology such as artificial intelligence,” said Gwangju Mayor Lee Yong-seop at the signing ceremony. “We will do our best to foster an environment that allows for a cycle of good in the air purifier industry.”

The cooperation will look to respond to demand for air purifiers in settings other than households such as hospitals, schools and underground commercial buildings. LG Electronics said it will conduct joint research with the city to develop air purifier filters and sensors specializing in different environments.

The Trade Ministry said the plan will be helpful to the regional job market.

“The MOU signed today holds great significance in that it creates cooperation through a recovery of a regional economy that is suffering from de-industrialization and the establishment of a partnership between research and development and job creation,” said Trade Minister Sung Yun-mo, who attended the signing ceremony.

The Trade Ministry expressed support for the collaboration by outlining the creation of an industrial cluster for air purifier technology, developing infrastructure for companies and research centers and supplying more public institutions with air purifiers to pave market development. It added that it will also help small and mid-sized companies in the industry to expand to markets abroad.

The new announcement to improve the air purifier industry comes as the government looks for more civilian participation in determining the most pertinent budgetary issues, including measures to combat fine dust. The Ministry of Economy and Finance is currently taking in proposals from the public for next year’s budget until April 15. Currently, 20 out of 110 proposals are related to combating fine dust, according to the Finance Ministry’s online budget proposal page.


BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]

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