Incheon Free Economic Zone
The Incheon Free Economic Zone (hereinafter IFEZ) was designated in 2003 by the Korean government as a strategic region for the first time in South Korea, as part of the government-led ‘Northeast Asia Economic Centralization Strategy.’
The IFEZ boasts a wide area covering a total of 169km2, largely comprised of Incheon International Airport, Incheon Port, Songdo, Yeongjeong, and Cheongna areas.
The IFEZ is now in approximately 43% in its overall average development stage, aiming to be completely built by the year 2020. In its three phases of development process, the IFEZ is currently in its second stage where it is on track to massively expand its broad range of infrastructure for education, medical, culture, leisure, and global enterprises & research institutes, etc.
Lee Jong-cheol, Commissioner of the IFEZ, said “With such recent striking infrastructure expansions for our first and second step of development process as the Incheon Bridge, ranked 5th among cable-stayed bridges worldwide, Central Park, Songdo Convensia, Tomorrow City, anchor facilities, Songdo international school, international hospital, IFEZ is pushing ahead with the plan ever stronger to eventually attain our final goal of becoming the world’s third largest FEZ in 2020, at the time when our final third step development process is completed. The focus of our current second step of development process is in creating an ideal atmosphere for foreign residents.”
And through the attraction of 54 foreign enterprises, including GE, Cisco, and IBM, IFEZ is promoting rapid development of business districts and industrial complexes, and increasing the speed of foreign direct investment (FDI).
“The attraction of the GCF (Green Climate Fund) is a most conspicuous achievement for us and is even one of most notable national achievements in recent years, and the international organization is expected to greatly affect the future not only of IFEZ, but of our nation as well,” he commented when asked about the most impressive recent achievements for IFEZ.
The IFEZ has recorded 6th place in comprehensive competitiveness among 153 FEZs of 31 countries as of 2010 based on data jointly researched by Dong-a Ilbo, a major newspaper and a well-known local monitor group. The FEZ has three key strengths for growing into one of the world’s three biggest FEZs. The IFEZ has excellent geographical conditions. IFEZ is located at the center of the Northeast Asia economic bloc, which includes the leading economies of China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Russia, and comprises one-fifth of the global economy.
IFEZ features access to Asia’s dynamic marketplace in 61 cities with populations over one million within only a three-hour plane flight. The IFEZ showcases an impeccable infrastructure. IFEZ is fully equipped with an ideal logistics base which includes an advanced logistics network, number-one international airport service, number two freight transport of Incheon international airport; an annual freight cargo growth rate of 20%, the latest intelligent terminal sea network through Incheon International Airport by 2020, a railroad connected to Eurasia, and a direct transportation system connected to the Korean marketplace.
As another noticeable strong point for itself to become a global top-notch FEZ, the FEZ can make use of top-class human resources anytime which is most eye-catching feature differentiating itself among other global numerous FEZs. Korea has attracted large-scale worldwide investment chiefly through the unmatched strength and competence of its human resources. IFEZ provides convenient access to the leading universities of the Seoul capital city area, offering a ready source of advanced industrial professionals and IT, BT, and NT-related knowledge and experience opportunities.
When he was asked about what kinds of specific policy goals have been set for this year for such long-term goals, he stressed: we will focus our administrative efforts on such strategically important works for this year as building model that can be an advanced base for the service industry, balanced development through activation of Yeongjong & Chungra zones, investment in specialized clusters of each areas and stable finance management & regulation reform.
Uttering a 2020 vision of IFEZ featuring population of 640,000 people, 30 colleges, over 200 global institutes, more than 360 high-tech enterprises, etc., he emphasized strong, continuous, earnest, and intensive support from central government, Incheon citizens is an essential component for the IFEZ to grow into one of the world’s top-three major FEZs in terms of overall competitiveness.
The president brimming with confidence and energy confidently added “We in the IFEZ will do our best, with clear and speedy business processes and a service-oriented attitude, to transform the IFEZ into a global city through attraction of outside business, collection of talented professionals, and vitalization of the tourism industry.”