JoongAng Daily. June 19, 2004
By Chang Se-jeong, Wohn Dong-hee
The Korean government is planning to build three Silicon Valleys.
The Presidential Committee on Balanced National Development and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy announced a five-year plan yesterday at the Blue House aimed at equalizing the nation’s development. At a meeting led by President Roh Moo-hyun to discuss future government tasks, the two groups presented a report that was the first of three plans that would start this year and continue until 2018. Commerce minister Lee Hee-beom said that the plan includes establishing two or three industrial complexes of world-class level such as California’s Silicon Valley. It also suggests cultivating four strategic businesses by grouping cities and provinces, and constructing a highway that would link the future administrative capital with other regions so that most areas of the country can be accessed within a two-hour drive. This is possible since the capital will be built somewhere in the Chungcheong provinces, in the center of the country.“This is a win-win solution that will benefit both Seoul and the metropolitan area as well as other regions,” Mr. Lee said. “This plan will enable Seoul to be developed as a major hub of Northeast Asia while assisting other less-developed districts to get up on their own.”The main purpose is to “decentralize” industrial infrastructure that is centered in the Seoul metropolitan area. The government will try to separate industries into “clusters” according to region and business.
To begin with, commercial functions will be added to supplement the current research and development functions of Daedeok
Science Town in Daejeon, which is already a home for scientific research centers, high-tech venture companies, and the Korea Advanced Institute of Technology.
The government also will try to nurture six test clusters in Changwon, Gumi, Ulsan, Gwangju, Wonju cities and Banwol-Sihwa county. Mr. Lee had announced the plan earlier this month in a Blue House briefing, saying that the government will invest 100 billion won ($86 million) a year to upgrade these six industrial parks and to specialize each area for a specific industry such as information technology, machinery, optical fibers and medical instruments.
Also, with 200 public organizations planning to move out of Seoul, the government will integrate these groups with industrial complexes to create 10 to 20 future-oriented cities that fuse administrative and industrial roles.