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Fostering New Growth Engine Industries based on Rich Cultural Properties
North Gyeongsang Province
Fostering New Growth Engine Industries based on Rich Cultural Properties
  • By Lee Song-hoon
  • January 31, 2017, 01:30
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Kim Kwan-yong, the governor of South Korea's North Gyeongsang Province.
Kim Kwan-yong, the governor of South Korea's North Gyeongsang Province.


North Gyeongsang Province occupies 20% of land in South Korea and plays a leading role in Korea's economic growth as a hub of the IT, steel and auto parts industries. In 2016, the province won the Presidential Award for attracting foreign investment and was honored as the best organization in attracting investment from Korean firms by inducing 6 trillion won (US$5.1 billion) worth of investment. The region outweighs other provinces in agricultural production as well. Its major farming products feature apples, oriental melons and strawberries.

In addition, North Gyeongsang Province is drawing attention as the center of tourism where tradition and modernity are well harmonized based on abundant cultural properties which account for 20% of Korea’s cultural properties and outstanding natural beauty. The province brags on advanced scientific infrastructure. Particularly, the province has an accelerator cluster which is internationally rare and includes 3rd- and 4th-generation synchrotron accelerators and proton accelerators. Recently, the provincial government is concentrating on new industries such as carbon, titanium, ICT convergence, vaccines, 3D printing, robots, and accelerator-based new drug development.

3 Million People’s Wish -- Opening of New Provincial Government Building

North Gyeongsang Province closed down the Daegu era last year and relocated its provincial government office to Yecheon, Andong and started the era of its new office there. More than 700,000 people have visited the new building so far. The new office edifice is not only a simple government building but a new place filled with the history, culture and spiritual value of North Gyeongsang Province.

The relocation of the provincial office is expected to serve as a new turning point for the development of the province. It is expected that internally, a new growth engine base will be built in the northern part of North Gyeongsang Province with a development axis to be built around the new city where the new provincial office is located. In addition to the existing Daegu, Gumi and Pohang axes, a new provincial office axis will be newly established.

It is expected that the new provincial office building will be connected with Sejong City, which has the government complex, forming an east-west development axis in the middle of the country. North Gyeongsang Province has a plan to build a strong middle region economy that will contribute to the balanced development of the national territory via the early activation of the new city.

North Gyeongsang Province’s direction for the new city is a multifunctional city with its focus on history, culture, ecology and administration, and aims at securing a population of 100,000. So far, 26 organizations have completed their relocation and 107 organizations hope to follow.

A wide-area transportation network will be newly constructed, and the access will be remarkably facilitated. A four-axis east-west expressway linking Sangju and Yeongdeok opened at the end of last year and is bringing new vitality to the inland and east coast of North Gyeongsang Province.  

This year, a highway connecting Sangju and Yeongcheon will be completed. A freeway connecting Sejong City, which is 108km away from the new city in Yecheon, with the new city is under a feasibility study for setting a route. A railway construction project is underway with the goal of beginning the Jungang Line’s double-track train service in 2018. The Jungbu Inland High-Speed Rail project is under discussion with the central government. The North Gyeongsang Provincial Government is also speeding up the nurture of representative industries to lay the groundwork for self-reliance.

The North Gyeongsang Biotechnology Industrial Complex will be expanded to become a national industrial complex and a vaccine industry cluster will be created along with Hwasoon in South Jeolla Province.

Creation of New Growth Engine Industries to Lead 4th Industrial Revolution Era

North Gyeongsang Province plans to accelerate new growth industries such as carbon, titanium, vaccine and new drug development as future industries not only for the country but also for the province.

In particular, at the end of last year, a carbon cluster project passed a preliminary feasibility study by the government. This project will cost a total 88.1 billion won from 2017 to 2021. The local government will carry out research and technology development for securing source technology for carbon fiber and promoting commercialization, and buy and install equipment for supporting technology development of small and medium-sized enterprises.

North Gyeongsang Province is forecasting that the full-scale start of the carbon industry cluster will accelerate the restructuring of cutting-edge industries and technological advancement aiming to promote the carbon industry’s convergence with local mainstream industries such as steel, IT and automobile parts.  

The local government plans to establish a convergence carbon molding component industrial complex in Gumi National Industrial Complex #5 and accelerate the creation of a global carbon industry by partnering with Japan's Toray which pledged to invest 1.3 trillion won (US$1.1 billion).

North Gyeongsang Province is the only region with three accelerators -- one 3rd generation and one 4th generation synchrotron accelerators and one proton accelerator -- in the world. In particular, the 4th generation synchrotron accelerator completed last year is the third one in the world after those in the United States and Japan. The accelerator is the most advanced instrument capable of analyzing cell membrane protein structures and holds the key to new drug development.

In February of last year, the North Gyeongsang Provincial Government announced its accelerator-based drug development project as a strategic industrial item and began its research on a full scale. The global new drug market is worth 1 quadrillion won (US$855 billion) which towers over the combined total value of the automobile, chemical, and semiconductor industries which are Korea's three main ones.

North Gyeongsang Province aims to create the K-Medical Convergence Belt by linking Andong's vaccine, Gumi's medical electronics, and Yeongcheon’s and Gyeongsan's oriental medicine bio industries when an accelerator-based drug development project is completed in Pohang.

Globalization of Saemaul Movement, Global Poverty Elimination Model

North Gyeongsang Province is the place where the Saemaul (New Community) Movement started, sparking off the modernization and industrialization of the Republic of Korea. The international community is highly evaluating Korea’s experience and know-how in making the Saemaul Movement a success. Countries, in particular, Third World countries are requesting transfers of such experience and knowhow from South Korea. The globalization of the Saemaul Movement by North Gyeongsang Provincial Government does not give fish but teaches how to catch fish.

In 2005, North Gyeongsang Province started to spread the Saemaul Movement abroad. Major projects include the training of leaders in overseas countries, the dispatch of voluntary Saemaul leaders and the creation of a demonstration village, the operation of the Overseas Saemaeul Volunteers Corps consisting of college students, and the construction of Korean-style Millennium Village among others.

Since 2009, the North Gyeongsang Provincial Government has created Korean-style Korean Millennium Village with the UN. Since 2010, the local government has dispatched the voluntary Saemaul leader groups to demonstration villages with the Korea International Cooperation Agency by expanding the Saemaul Globalization Project. The volunteers participate in various projects such as village infrastructure improvements, income source development, health and hygiene education and farm operation. In particular, the voluntary groups not only provide economic support for environmental improvement and an increase in income but also educate local leaders so that they can take the initiative in local development. Since 2015, they have opened four regional centers for the localization of the Saemaul Movement in Indonesia, Senegal, Ethiopia and Vietnam.

North Gyeongsang Province will turn the Saemaul Movement into Korea's ODA (Official Development Assistance) model that contributes to eradicating global poverty by seeking to improve the globalization of the movement through selection and concentration in the future.

Ho Chi Minh-Gyeongju World Culture Expo in November 2017

The Ho Chi Minh-Gyeongju World Culture Expo will be held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from November 9 to December 3, 2017 for 25 days. The Gyeongju World Culture Expo, led by North Gyeongsang Province, is Korea's representative global cultural brand. The event is the third international one after Cambodia's Angkor Wat in 2006 and Istanbul in Turkey in 2013.

The Ho Chi Minh City-Gyeongju World Culture Expo will feature various international events such as performances, exhibitions, videos, experience programs, events and symposiums. The North Gyeongsang Provincial Government is expected to attract more than 10,000 participants from 40 countries as well as 3 million or so tourists.

Ho Chi Minh City is the political, cultural and transportation center of the southeastern part of the Indochina Peninsula and is a mega city with a population of 10 million. The city has close economic relationships with more than 2,000 Korean companies.

North Gyeongsang Province plans to publicize the culture and economy of Korea to Vietnamese society and secure a bridgehead to major Southeast Asian cities through the Ho Chi Minh City-Gyeongju World Culture Expo. In particular, the provincial government is preparing the Ho Chi Minh City-Gyeongju World Culture Expo to provide direct support to domestic companies by strengthening trade supports such as import and export fairs and Gyeongbuk Bazaar, a sales outlet for companies in North Gyeongsang Province with a focus on making the event an ‘economic expo through culture.’