[Herald Interview] Saemangeum to be mecca of green industries in Korea

[Herald Interview] Saemangeum to be mecca of green industries in Korea
Yang Choong-mo, administrator of the Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency, speaks in an interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul on Friday. (The Korea Herald)
Saemangeum, located in the west of South Korea, is drawing wide attention under the government’s fresh vision to foster the area, where futuristic, eco-friendly industries as well as tour destinations can coexist.

Saemangeum is a reclaimed area — with the world’s longest seawall — that stretches across parts of Gunsan, Gimje and Buan in North Jeolla Province.

Earlier this year, the government shifted the area’s vision from the initial aims for a regional center of global trade to be a pioneer in the green energy-oriented “Korean New Deal” and keep pace with the global community’s goal to attain carbon neutrality by 2050.

During a recent interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul, Yang Choong-mo, administrator (a vice ministerial post in the nation) of the Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency, said that “based on solar energy generation, industries in the area will be able to use 100 percent renewable energy” without resorting to fossil fuels.

This refers to the “RE100 Industrial Complex” to be built in the area, where the world’s largest-scale factories will produce renewable energy up to a 7-gigawatt scale, and where manufacturing companies will only make the best of the renewable energy.
[Herald Interview] Saemangeum to be mecca of green industries in Korea
The East-West Road linking the seawall of Saemangeum and Gimje, North Jeolla Province, opens in November 2020. (Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency)
Yang said production of CO2-free green hydrogen and eco-friendly automobiles will be among the main industrial items in the complex.

“I believe Saemangeum will take the initiative in Korea’s active participation in the international move for carbon neutrality by 2050,” he said.

Like his remarks, a large portion of tasks for the Korean New Deal have already been planned or underway in Saemangeum.

The development and investment agency has signed a contract with SK Group, which unveiled its willingness to join the RE100 — a new term used on the global stage for the commitment to 100 percent renewable energy — for the first of its case among local enterprises.

“Under the contract, SK is poised to build a global data center via investment worth 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion) at the industrial complex,” Yang said. “This will also vitalize attraction of about 60 information technology-oriented companies at home and abroad.”

He also said that “as the test bed for the Korean New Deal, (the agency) would make full-fledged efforts to attract overseas enterprises for relevant industrial segments.”

Japan-based Toray Advanced Materials and Belgium-based Solvay have been operating assembly lines in the complex since 2014 and 2015, respectively. In addition, several more foreign companies are in the final stages of clinching pacts with the Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency.

Despite a variety of restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency has offered online promotion activities for businesses in North America, Europe, China and Japan in recent weeks.

For international logistics, the agency — in close coordination with the National Assembly — is pushing forward policies to establish an airport, harbor and railroad. Further, a variety of preferential treatments, including corporate tax benefits, are likely to be proposed to businesses, which make inroads into the complex.
[Herald Interview] Saemangeum to be mecca of green industries in Korea
Gogunsan Islands off the Saemangeum reclaimed land (Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency)
Administrator Yang pointed out that Saemangeum is not just an industrial location, commenting on scenic views of the Gogunsan Islands — which are composed of 63 islands and islets in the West Sea — and the Byeonsan Peninsula National Park.

“(US broadcaster) CNN had ranked Seonyu Island, a part of Gogunsan Islands, at No. 15 in its designation of 33 most beautiful islands in Korea,” he said. “Alongside the tourist attractions, cultural facilities will be fostered.”

The cultural facilities will include theme parks to experience augmented reality and virtual reality, museums and maritime tour products.

The width of Saemangeum reaches 409 square kilometers, which is comparable to Sejong, where the nation’s main government complex is located, and is larger than major Gyeonggi Province cities — Goyang, Gimpo, Suwon and Seongnam.

Yang said the promotion of tourism resources will be vitalized on the occasion of the 25th World Scout Jamboree, which is scheduled to be held in a Buan portion of Saemangeum in August 2023, where about 50,000 people from 170 countries are estimated to participate.

“We will establish resort complexes and contrive creative cultural contents and festivals for the Jamboree event,” he said.

This year, “K-pop Festa in Saemangeum” is slated for September, with the event to either be held as scheduled on the back of active vaccinations or postponed according to the coming pandemic situation.

Yang went on to say that the agency is continuously benchmarking successful land reclamation projects in foreign economies. He pointed to the Netherlands’ Almer City, Singapore’s Marina Bay, Virginia’s Loudoun County, Japan’s Naoshima Island and New Zealand’s Auckland City.

Almer City has become a competitive area with a population of 400,000 on the back of about 50 years of reclamation, creating 5,000 jobs per annum.

Marina Bay has developed into a main tourist attraction of Singapore, as its government carried out drastic deregulations that made it possible for private capital to perform creative urban design and development.

Saemangeum is also benchmarking Loudoun County as an IT-focused data center, Naoshima Island on tourism and Auckland City on waterfront towns.

Yang, since being appointed to the post as administrator in August 2020, has been busy in accelerating the development and investment project for the reclaimed land, which had been making relatively slow progress for a decade or more.

He has been making round-trips between Gunsan, where the agency’s headquarters are located, and the National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul, several times a month, as there are many details for legislation and law revision.

Yang said he would spare no efforts to successfully implement the “plan for Green plus Digital New Deal in Saemangeum,” which was officially confirmed as the government’s policy direction earlier this year.

In August 2010, the Saemangeum seawall was acknowledged as the world’s longest artificial barrier with a length of 33.9 kilometers, outstripping the former record held by the Netherlands-based Zuiderzee Works since 1932.

Earlier preparations for Saemangeum — reclaiming the tidal mudflat of Mangyeong River and Dongjin River — started in 1991 through planning procedures in the 1980s.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)

[Profile of Yang Choong-mo]

Aug. 2020 Administrator of Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency

Jan. 2020 Deputy minister for fiscal affairs at Ministry of Economy and Finance

2018 Director general of budget office at Ministry of Economy and Finance

2014 Presidential secretary as senior administrative officer

2013 Director general for planning and coordination at Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency

1990 Passed the 34th Public Administration Examination

1963 Born in Namwon, North Jeolla Province

News Related


Cryptocurrencies are rebounding, should you invest in Bitcoin, Ethereum or Dogecoin right now?

Within hours, the most popular cryptocurrencies were up as much as 20.5%, a rally that has made many reconsider whether it is time to invest in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Dogecoin. Read more »

Looking for an Alternative Investing Opportunity? This Cybersecurity Firm Can be a Compelling Option.

Cybersecurity has become a major concern in the modern digital age and NanoVMs has set out to make a difference. Read more »

How to Protect Your Profits From Inflation During a Global Crisis

Inflation is coming to devalue your corporate treasury. Here's how to protect it. Read more »

Sweden's economy continues to grow

According to seasonally adjusted figures, Sweden’s gross national product (GDP) increased by 0.9% in the second quarter of 2021. According to Statistics Sweden, compared with the same period last year, ... Read more »

Paytm founder to have protective rights after listing

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, chief executive officer of Paytm, will have ‘protective rights’ to appoint one member to its board as long as he owns 2.5% equity in the company he ... Read more »

IIFL Finance Q1 results: Net profit jumps multi-fold to Rs 266 cr

IIFL Finance on Tuesday reported a 735 per cent jump in consolidated net profit at Rs 265.82 crore for the quarter ended June on healthy growth in its loan portfolios. ... Read more »

Digital payments company Cashfree appoints Vikas Guru as CFO

Digital payments and banking technology company Cashfree has brought on board Vikas Guru as its chief financial officer, to fuel the next phase of its growth. Guru will be responsible ... Read more »

IAG wraps new structure around its automation drive

Helps weed out projects that won’t make it into production. Read more »

S. Korea to invest over W5tr in chips, biohealth, next-gen vehicles

Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki attends a meeting on the “Big 3” industries at the government complex in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)South Korea plans invest over 5 ... Read more »

Moody's ups credit outlook for JB Financial's banking units from stable to positive

JB Financial Group’s Seoul office in Yeouido. (JB Financial) Global ratings firm Moody’s has raised its rating outlook for JB Financial Group’s commercial banking units — Jeonbuk Bank and Kwangju ... Read more »

US rate freeze has limited impact on global financial markets: BOK

BOK Gov. Lee Ju-yeol The Bank of Korea said Thursday that a decision by the US Federal Reserve that left its benchmark rate unchanged had little impact on global financial ... Read more »

Wine imports hit record-high in H1 over growing drinking-at-home culture

Shoppers check out the wine aisle at a supermarket in Seoul. (Yonhap)Wine imports to South Korea hit an all-time high in the first half of this year, with a growing ... Read more »

S. Korea vigilant of market volatility from virus, Fed's policy: official

This photo, taken on Thursday, shows electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul that show the trading of Korean stocks and the local currency. (Yonhap)South Korea will ... Read more »

Wine imports hit all-time high in H1 amid pandemic

(Yonhap)South Korea’s wine imports more than doubled to touch a new high in the first half of the year as more people enjoyed drinking at home due to the coronavirus ... Read more »

S. Korea to spend over W5tr in supporting chips, 2 other sectors next year

(Yonhap)South Korea’s top economic policymaker said Thursday the government plans to spend more than 5 trillion won ($4.3 billion) in supporting chips, bio-health and next-generation vehicle sectors next year. Finance ... Read more »

Biz sentiment falls for August amid pandemic: poll

(KERI)South Korea’s business sentiment fell for August due to deteriorating profitability in the restaurant, accommodation and service industries amid the extended coronavirus pandemic, a local think tank said Thursday. The ... Read more »

LG Electronics completes $453.3m stake sale to create JV with Magna

This image, provided by LG Electronics on Dec. 23, 2020, shows a concept for a future vehicle using parts from LG and Magna International. The two sides agreed to set ... Read more »

Hangover drink maker seeks W596.9b IPO as Korean PEs eye exit

A promotional image of health functional drinks under the “Condition” brand owned by HK Inno.N. (HK Inno.N)HK inno.N, South Korean pharmaceutical firm and maker of popular hangover drink Condition, is ... Read more »

Trade terms fall for 3rd month in June

(Yonhap)South Korea’s terms of trade fell for the third consecutive month in June due to a rise in prices of imported goods, central bank data showed Wednesday. The nation’s net ... Read more »

(Yonhap Interview) Bancow attracts young generation with Korean beef investment platform

By Kim Eun-jung SEOUL, July 28 (Yonhap) — Many think of Korean beef as a luxury gift item or a special dish, but a new breed of young investors are ... Read more »

Population mobility falls for 6th month in June

This undated file photo provided by the Seoul Institute shows apartment complexes in the capital. (Seoul Institute)The number of South Koreans who moved to different residences in the country fell ... Read more »

S. Korea expands open banking ecosystem, invites fintech firms

(123rf)South Korea’s financial authority said Wednesday it plans to expand the ecosystem of the so-called open banking platform by inviting users of fintech services, allowing more people to enjoy simpler ... Read more »

Housing market may face sharper-than-expected price correction: minister

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki speaks at a real estate meeting of related ministers held at the government complex in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)South Korea’s fiscal policy chief said Wednesday that ... Read more »

S. Korea maintaining stable supply of livestock products amid summer heat

A herd of cattle rest under fans at a farm in Gimhae, 449 kilometers south of Seoul, on July 14, 2021. (Yonhap)South Korea’s agricultural ministry said Wednesday the recent scorching ... Read more »

IMM in final stage of W1.1tr deal to buy stake in SK Lubricants

A promotional image of SK Lubricants’ lubricant oil product “SK Zinc Zero” (SK Lubricants)IMM Credit Solution, a wholly owned arm of South Korean private equity firm IMM Private Equity, is ... Read more »

What Types of Workflow Automation are Worth Investing in for Small Businesses?

It can seem as though there’s no end to the number of workflow software solutions available for the small business owner. Given the dizzying array of... Read more »

Korn Ferry Goes On Break-Out Alert

The fiscal Q4 results from Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY) prove the health of the labor market even if the data doesn't. Not to say the data doesn't show stro... Read more »

Is Synchronoss Technologies a Good Software Stock to Buy?

Investors reacted positively to software company Synchronoss Technologies’ (SNCR) $100 million stock offering on June 25. It plans to use the offering... Read more »

Foreign FIs halt plans to set up investment firms within IFSCs

Several foreign financial institutions looking to set up investment entities in Indian International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) have hit the pause button pending negotiations of India’s terminated bilateral trade agreements ... Read more »

CBA adds branch-based staff to its contact centre operations

Changes opening hours at 90 regional branches. Read more »

Finance chief warns of housing bubble as interest rate hike looms

Apartment buildings in southern Seoul are seen in this file photo taken July 8, 2021. (Yonhap)South Korea’s top economic policymaker on Wednesday warned of a housing bubble amid a looming ... Read more »

Consumer sentiment drops in July over spike in COVID-19 infections

This undated file photo shows apartment complexes in Seoul. (Yonhap)South Korea’s consumer sentiment dropped in July over a recent spike in COVID-19 infections, marking the first decline since December last ... Read more »

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank to re-platform its internet banking

Plans Google Cloud migration after success at neobank Up. Read more »

3 Ways You Can Help Save Your Favorite Small Business

One in four small businesses could fold in the next six months. Individuals can help – at little personal cost. Read more »

IMF raises Korea's growth forecast to 4.3% in 2021

IMF headquarters in Washington, DC (123rf)The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday projected the South Korean economy to grow 4.3 percent this year, presenting a more sanguine outlook than the government ... Read more »

SSB: The number of IT employees in Norway increased by 21.1% from 2015 to 2020

While the total number of employees increased by 4% from 2015 to 2020, the increase in IT occupations was as much as 21.1%, according to Statistics Norway (SSB). According to ... Read more »

Loan rejection, broken dream: foreigners in South Korea struggle to buy house

An aerial view of apartment complexes in Seoul (Yonhap)For Lonnie, a 45-year old Canadian working as a professional English instructor in Seoul, buying his own house in the city has ... Read more »

S. Korea's tax chief in Russia, Uzbekistan for talks

South Korea’s National Tax Service Commissioner Kim Dae-ji (right) and Uzbekistan’s State Tax Committee Chairman Sherzod Kudbiev pose for a photo during their meeting in Tashkent on Monday. (NTS)South Korea’s ... Read more »

M&M Finance Q1 results: Co reports loss of Rs 1573 cr as bad loans, slowdown bite

Mumbai: Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Services (M&M Finance) slumped to a loss in the first quarter ended June 2021 reflecting the severe impact of the second wave of the Covid ... Read more »