Yesterday the Korean government opened its seventh innovation center in Korea's second largest city, Busan. President Park Geun-hye attended the opening ceremony of the Busan Center for Creative Economy & Innovation located in Centum Green Tower in Haeundae. The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning as well as Busan City authorities teamed up with Lotte Group, a local retail and entertainment giant, to launch the center.
Lotte, which businesses range from department stores and discount chains to hotels and fast-food restaurants, and even a construction unit and movie theater chain, will account for half of the proposed 230 billion won (US$204 million) fund, while Busan Bank and the Busan City government will contribute 16 billion won (US$14 million) and 4 billion won (US$3.5 million), respectively.
The fund is designed to help startups grow in a wide-range of film industry activities, including investment, distribution, and screening. In conjunction with Busan Metropolitan City and IBK Lotte, Korea’s second largest vertically-integrated movie company will help the dreams of small and medium sized film firms come true, creating synergy from the fund germinated from its multi-decade success in the related businesses. Earlier this month, Lotte Entertainment struck a long-term deal to handle the distribution of Paramount’s studio titles in Korea, the world’s sixth-largest theatrical territory. The company’s film sales unit will also attend next week’s film-art trade show in Hong Kong.
South Korea has been working to establish such centers across the country. The government is associating local startups and venture firms with large companies. In efforts to help revive the economy, Creative Economy & Innovation Centers have the goal to fuse conglomerate capital strength and accumulated business expertise with new enterprises to cooperate with each other to nurture innovative products and help develop industries related to logistics, film production, content creation, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The government chose Busan, the host city of the annual Busan International Film Festival, as the site of the seventh such center, which are being launched across the country in partnership with large conglomerates, including Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, and LG Electronics. Marking the occasion, President Park said that she expects the Busan center to transform the city into a business hub for retail, film, and the IoT as an ecosystem for creative economy. “I believe the Busan Center will bolster the city’s convergence DNA and elevate its global presence,” President Park said in her congratulatory speech. A Busan official said, “Lotte’s leadership in the retail and film industries will play a key role in elevating the city’s creative prowess based on abundant infrastructure for the film industry. The IoT project, which includes the city’s own smart city project, could become a new growth engine for the city.”