The Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) has topped the national free economic zones (FEZ) in an evaluation overseen by the Ministry of Industry for its performance during 2015.
On the 24th, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) launched the 79th committee for economic free zones and finalized the evaluation of free economic zones for 2015.
According to the MOCIE, the evaluation targeted FEZs in Incheon, Busan/Jinhae, Gwangyang Bay, Daegu, Yellow Sea, Saemangeum/Gunsan, and Chungbuk, Incheon was ranked first, followed by Gwangyang Bay. The Busan/Jianhae FEZ made third.
In the 5 areas of business, organizational management, development projects, investment, and residential environment, the IFEZ received the highest scores. Only in the area of business support did Gwangyang FEZ score highest.
According to the IFEZ, it raised US$1.714 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI), despite unfavorable economic conditions, due to the global economic downturn last year. This investment feat marks an 81.9 percent increase from 2013. The amount also represents 94 percent of total FDI in all FEZs in Korea. In addition, by creating another 136,000 jobs, the IFEZ contributed significantly to boosting the local economy.
In March of last year, as prestigious universities like George Mason University, University of Utah, and Ghent University opened in the IFEZ, it rose to prominence as a global education hub. In fact, the MOCIE previously pointed it out as an exemplary case for attracting investment.
The IFEZ is gaining momentum for more investments and development projects. In March of last year, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism gave the green light to the development of a foreigner-only casino led by the Lippo and Caesar Consortium (LOCZ Korea), a venture between Chinese and American companies. In Nov., construction companies broke ground to build Paradise City. Hong Kong investment group CTF submitted a letter to express its intention to invest.
In Cheongna International City, construction companies started building the Hana Financial Town in Oct. last year. With no bidders to come forward, IFEZ decided to lead the project to build the landmark project, the City Tower.
Difficult issues are also being resolved one after another. Controversies around the construction of a Korean-American town are now resolved. Also, the 6.8 district development project, which had been on the verge of nullification, is now back on track.
Deputy Head Kim Jin-yong said, “IFEZ’s continuous efforts and strong will to construct a world-class residential environment made it possible for IFEZ to rank No. 1 in the evaluation for performance,” adding, “We will continue to work hard until we will join the world's top 3 FEZs.”
The FEZ that is ranked number one in the evaluation is awarded 520 million won (US$443,554).