Prime location, end-to-end supply chain and customised facilities are only a few of the many advantages that South Korea's free economic zone provides its growing community of global powerhouse industries. Daegu-Gyeongbuk Free Economic Zone (DGFEZ) is strategically positioned to serve international companies looking to expand into Asia - whether it is for manufacturing, research and development (R&D) or logistics.
The bustling 30-square-kilometre hub encompasses the cities of Daegu, Gumi, Gyeongsan, Yeongcheon and Pohang. It includes 10 key industrial districts, ranging from automotive components to software, health care and alternative power.
"We welcome investors, talents, R&D and educational institutions alike to take advantage of these strengths - and create a big, synergistic global joint venture. All these come with the added benefit of financial incentives and relaxed regulations," says DGFEZ Authority commissioner Choi Byung-rok. "It is our vision to help them succeed, just like how we saw the rise of Samsung, LG Display, Hyundai and POSCO, which share roots in Daegu-Gyeongbuk."
Similar roots run deep in the region, with nearly 13 per cent of South Korea's manufacturers and about 500 multinational companies calling it home even before DGFEZ was established in 2008. With further development of the zone in full gear, the number of global companies is expected to grow by as much as four times by DGFEZ's completion in 2020.
Such transformation will be bolstered by an equally impressive base of supporting industries that includes 153 R&D centres and 400 automotive suppliers. High-quality human resources are guaranteed, with 52 universities and colleges annually producing 70,000 graduates including engineers, medical practitioners and digital content specialists.
These are key to boosting industry districts such as Daegu Technopolis, which is designated as a special R&D zone equipped for automotive, machinery, information technology convergence and green energy. The Technopolis will also enable tenant companies to participate in national projects and receive additional incentives.
Among such projects is the Medivalley, a medical complex that will centralise an international hospital and various medical and pharmaceutical R&D activities aimed at advancing the health care industry. The US$4.5 billion project is slated to open next year.
Interested investors can rely on DGFEZ's one-stop service programmes, which guide resident companies from feasibility study to registration and after-service assistance.
"Daegu-Gyeongbuk will be the next beacon of industrial development," Choi says. "We have a proven success model - founded on stable economic infrastructure and talented manpower - that we are eager to share with the world."
Daegu-Gyeongbuk Free Economic Zone Authority (DGFEZ)