The second-largest city in Gyeonggi Province, Seongnam, made it to the top of the list of Korea’s business-friendly cities. Korea Chamber Commerce and Industry (KCCI) led a survey showing the results on Monday.
In the survey conducted on 228 local governments and 8,000 companies, KCCI awarded 75.9 points out of 100 for innovative activities, such as launching high-tech products and leading the first drone flight test in Korea this year.
The local government initially prohibited drones from being flown in Seongnam, as it encompasses the Seoul Airport. However, officials consulted with the Republic of Korea Air Force and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, to establish the drone test field.
Developers from Pangyo Techno Valley, a tech cluster area in Seongnam, produced more than ten high-tech services and products. They include a service that can identify human organ weight and size using artificial intelligence (AI) and products such as wireless kitchen appliances and transparent displays.
Seongnam, which is about 20 kilometers away from Seoul, is the location of the headquarters for more than 1,000 companies. These tech firms include such as chat platform Kakao, gaming giants NCSOFT and Nexon, and biotech firms Medisoft and SK Chemical. It is also a prime location for startups, attracting young talent and capital.
An official from Seongnam City said, “Apart from regulatory reforms, Seongnam is supportive of corporate activities, encouraging startups, running digital transformation as well as research and business development (R&BD).”
“We will continue in our efforts to make Seongnam Asia’s Silicon Valley by creating a high-tech industry zone in Pangyo and a bio-health cluster in Bundang, the largest district of the city.”
Meanwhile, for civil affairs, Sejong received the highest mark with a score of 75.3 out of 100. The city houses a government complex.
KCCI ranks Seongnam, followed by Sejong, Paju, Busan, and Daegu, as the most business-friendly city ranking 2019.
Namyangju, in a different survey conducted by the Korea Society for Regulatory Studies (KSRS) and KCCI, received the highest marks for regulatory services, a score of 90.8 points out of 100.
The city changed the industrial complex plan after requests from companies that wanted to move in. Namyangju resolved 128 cases out of 139 corporate disputes reported to the local government. It also constructed water supply facilities near its factories.
A KCCI official said, “The survey results note that the business climate is improving each year.” The official added, “Competition among local governments is making corporate administration tasks easier, and the regulatory system is changing toward in a more business-friendly direction.”