[THE INVESTOR] The Gyeonggi government announced last month that it has chosen Ilsan as the site for a large-scale advanced tech cluster focusing on visual reality and IT health care services.
The Ilsan techno valley will be “the second Pangyo,” it said.
“We highly expect that Ilsan Techno Valley will make great accomplishments in job creations, just like Pangyo,” Gyeonggi Province Gov. Nam Kyung-pil said at a press briefing.
A bird’s eye view of Ilsan Lake Park.
The northern part of Gyeonggi really did not have sufficient key industries to spur its regional economy. Its minor textile factories and furniture complex created jobs, but not enough to meet its highly-skilled labor force’s needs.
Ilsan was built to decentralize Seoul’s heavy population and economy. However, unlike its original plan, Ilsan just became a “bedroom suburb” where a majority of residents commuted to Seoul for work.
The local government offered a positive outlook that the newly built tech complex will provide 18,000 jobs in the region.
But there are some doubts over the prospects of Ilsan as the tech hub, given the regions distance from Seoul.
“Pangyo was a great success because it was close to Gangnam in southern Seoul, where it has many highly-skilled workers,” said Yang Seung-woo, a professor at the University of Seoul.
“Major companies such as SK Planet in Pangyo also attracted minor companies to move into the region.”
Lim Tae-yeol, chief operating officer of a local VR start-up, Venta VR, pointed out the need for continuous investment to attract companies to the region.
“Unless the local government promises sustainable investments that outweigh the merits of Seoul, no company would risk stepping away from the center of business,” Lim said.
Ilsan Techno Valley will begin construction in the first half of 2018. Companies will be able to set up there from the beginning of 2020.
By Song Ji-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)