Saemangeum transforms into attractive industrial complex

Doosan Fuel Cell's solid oxide fuel cell plant at Saemangeum National Industrial Complex in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province, Wednesday / Yonhap

GUNSAN, North Jeolla Province — Saemangeum is shaping itself as the country’s key industrial hub, taking advantage of its vast 397 million square meter-large landfilled region next to the West Sea to attract companies, harness renewable energies and build a new residential town for workers and families, according to Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency (SDIA), Thursday.The national industrial complex in the northern part of Saemangeum — a landfilled region two-thirds the size of Seoul on the country’s west coast with jurisdiction across North Jeolla Province’s Gunsan and Buan County — has finished allotting 90 percent of its entire lots to 49 companies. Twenty-eight of them have already begun running their factories, while the rest are currently building plants there.Since President Yoon Suk Yeol’s inauguration in May 2022, the industrial complex has attracted investments worth 10.1 trillion won ($7.4 billion). Prior to the Yoon administration, since the agency’s establishment in 2013, the complex had received investments totaling just 1.5 trillion won.In 2023 alone, a group of secondary battery companies and material-part-equipment developers announced they will invest 6.6 trillion won in the complex. LG Chem and SK on plan to invest 1.2 trillion won with their Chinese partners, while LS Group said it plans to invest 1.8 trillion won. Ronbay Korea New Energy Materials also said it will invest 1.2 trillion won.

The SDIA is still busy reclaiming land from the sea in the region. Companies that have an urgent need to move in are demanding the agency expedite the process, according to SDIA Administrator and Vice Minister Kim Kyung-ahn.”We’ve never expected Saemangeum would see such a rush of companies wanting to move in,” Kim said. Saemangeum will house companies in the rechargeable battery, car, food and MICE (meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions) industries.Doosan Fuel Cell, which completed a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) plant with a 50-megawatt capacity at the complex last July, is now producing SOFC samples using the plant’s fully automated, 250-meter-long assembly line until the scheduled start of mass production next April.”We looked at five national industrial complexes in the country, including those in Changwon, Yongin and Iksan, before deciding to build our latest SOFC plant in Saemangeum,” the company’s Global Chief Manufacturing Officer Bang Won-jo said. “We found Saemangeum most company-friendly as to conditions of site and incentives.”Kim meets with heads of companies, either already in the complex or planning to move in, on a regular basis to exchange opinions. On Wednesday, 11 companies to move in met Kim at SDIA’s office to file requests or complaints. A chemical and biotech company requested an additional rear entrance to its planned factory, while an energy materials developing firm asked if it can help with hiring locally. Kim gave promising answers to both of them.Kim is equipping the complex with all he can to cater to its companies, including power supply, social overhead capital and incentives. To facilitate future exports that will stringently monitor carbon footprints, particularly in Europe and the United States, the complex is working on supplying renewable energy sources to require the companies to minimize their carbon 슬롯놀이터 emissions.

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