The Ulsan Creative Economy Innovation Center is opening as a base to revive the shipbuilding and marine plant industry and promote the medical service industry in Ulsan.
Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and the Ulsan Metropolitan Government held an opening ceremony of the Ulsan Creative Economy and Innovation Center at the University of Ulsan campus on July 15, attended by about 150 people, including President Park Geun-hye, Ulsan Mayor Kim Gi-hyeon, HHI Chairman Choi Kil-seon, and HHI CEO Kwon Oh-gap.
Combining Ulsan’s strength as the nation’s capital in the shipbuilding and offshore plant and the manufacturing industries and HHI’s capability as the world’s largest shipbuilder, the Ulsan Creative Economy Innovation Center will support the marine plant and shipbuilding industry while fostering promising industries such as automated medical services and 3-D printing, and connecting the platform between private business incubator centers and the innovation center.
Funds worth a total of 160 billion won (US$139.8 million), including shipbuilding and offshore plant shared growth funds, 3D industry funds, and youth startup funds for specialized heavy industries, will be raised. Also, policy funds worth 100 billion won (US$87.37 million), including a fund of funds and angel investor funds, will be supported. Also, Ulsan City and HHI will invest 60 billion won (US$52.42 million) into the center.
The Ulsan Center consists of two separate branch locations, “Creation Madang (Floor)” inside the University of Ulsan and “Convergence Madang” in the city’s start-up assistance center building. The Creation Madang located in the University of Ulsan is built on 1,221 square meters of land, and will help share knowledge and information about startups, develop products, and produce test products. The Convergence Madang, located in Ulsan Venture Building on 607 square meters of land near the University of Ulsan, will provide mentoring programs, financial services and legal consultation to help people create ideas and start their own businesses.
The center’s establishment comes at a time when the domestic shipbuilding industry has hit a snag, due to a slump in the industry and fierce competition from lower-priced Chinese shipbuilders. Through industry and academic cooperation, including the nation’s top three shipbuilders and small and medium-sized companies in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, the center will support the development of next-generation environmentally-friendly, high efficiency vessels such as the “Eco Ship” and “Smart Ship”, and create a collaboration ecosystem for equipment and materials localization. In particular, it plans to share 2,500 patents owned by the top three shipbuilders with smaller shipyards and smaller equipment and materials companies by operating an “Eco Ship Coexistent Cooperation Network” in order to raise eco ship competitiveness in the shipbuilding industry.
The Smart Ship is a next-generation vessel system to improve its sailing efficiency and safety using ICT, and cooperation between shipyards and small and medium-sized and venture companies, which have creative technology and ideas, in the ICT sector is needed for the success of the system.
Also, the center will establish an ecosystem to domestically produce equipment and materials in a bid to strengthen its cost competitiveness since the domestic offshore plant industry is currently paying more than 50 percent of contracted prices to foreign materials manufacturers. It will connect the localization demand of large companies with technologies of small and mid-sized companies at the Ulsan Center and carry out technical support pilot projects so that small and medium-sized equipment and material producers can participate in the development of products.
The Ulsan Center will construct a “Smart Yard” based on ICT and the Internet of Things (IoT) that helps small and mid-size shipbuilders innovate their production processes. It will also build a “process analysis platform” at the center to improve productivity by analyzing a manufacturing process and offering process analysis, employee training programs, and consulting services to small and medium-sized companies.
The Ulsan Center will also develop 3-D printing devices and materials technologies, which are specialized to the city’s industrial structure, such as heavy industry and automobiles, innovating the manufacturing industry in Ulsan. In order to do so, it will run a “3-D Printing Library” at the center to accumulate information about patents, equipment, material properties, professional manpower, and research institutions, and open a “3-D Tech-Shop” to make use of it to develop shipbuilding and auto parts.