The Busan-Jinhae Free Economic Zone Authority (commissioner Ha Myeng-keun) signed a three-party MOU on March 12 with Superconductor Co., Ltd of Korea and Huzhou Fengtai Stainless Steel Pipes of China. The purpose is to build a 33,000m2 plant in the Hwajeon Industrial Park of the BJFEZ. According to the agreement, a total of US$69 million will be invested in the facility, with US$32 million of this being in the form of foreign capital investment.
The Chinese stainless steel pipe manufacturer, whose gross sales reached 280 billion won in 2011, has its headquarters in Huzhou City and boasts seven branches in nearby regions.
This investment agreement gives rise to a new joint venture, KTMT Nuclear. The venture is scheduled to manufacture NbTi superconducting wire for MRI devices, Inconel and Incoloy alloy tubes used in nuclear power station steam generators, and precious and rare metals, etc. These are expected to be exported in quantity to emerging markets such as China and India, contributing to the revitalization of the regional economy and creating at least 200 new jobs.
The joint investment with Fengtai marks the first case of a large-scale investment from China in the BJFEZ. The authority is anticipating that an increasing number of Chinese companies will seek investment opportunities in the zone in the future.
Since its inception in March 2004, the BJFEZ Authority has spearheaded the development of the economic zone, attracting US$1.307 billion of investment from 58 leading foreign enterprises in industries including high-tech and port logistics. In particular, the amount added up to US$234 million in 2011 alone, implying that the BJFEZ’s growth potential and investment value are not eclipsed by the current global economic recession.
The Busan Science and Industrial Park in the area is home to the Busan Campus of Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), a prestigious German college renowned for its advanced chemical and biotechnological research. In the Ungdong District, a US$20 million MOU is setting the groundwork for the Changwon International School. Slated to be opened in 2014, the institution will provide an educational environment commensurate with a leading international city to K-12 students.
With the BJFEZ’s development projects scheduled to be wrapped up across the board by 2020, the authority is planning to further speed up its investment attraction efforts this year. In this context, it is aiming to draw US$240 million of foreign direct investment, along with 260 billion won from domestic companies.
This year’s key projects include construction of the Myeongji International City and Ungdong Leisure & Resort Complex. A comprehensive master plan for the new town is now on the anvil, covering sub-projects for the establishment of a global campus and medical town. Regarding the housing of first-class hotels, golf courses and so forth, the authority is striving to come up with some visible investment attraction results before the year’s end. Furthermore, it will offer various incentives and a business-friendly environment to foreign-invested and Korean companies in districts such as Hwajeon, Mieum, Nammun and Namyang, so that they can become distinguished industrial estates optimized for high added-value and new growth industries.
Development projects are underway in 21 unit areas. Six of them -- Busan Science and Industrial Park, Shinho Industrial Park, West Busan Logistics Park and Hwajeon, Namyang and Munhwa Districts -- finished last year, with three others scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, including the Northern New Port Hinterland.
Furthermore, 5 of 15 road network construction plans have been completed. The remaining plants are scheduled to be finished in or before 2015, equipping the BJFEZ with an improved business infrastructure, in which ports, Geoga and Eulsukdo Grand Bridges, Gimhae International Airport and railways and highways are linked organically with one another. The BJFEZ is then expected to become the economic and commercial capital of Northeast Asia and a global industrial linchpin.