Activities of the IFEZ Leading Innovative Growth

Lee Won-jae, the IFEZ Commissioner, Sung Yun-mo, Minister for Trade, Industry, and Energy, Park Nam-chun, Incheon Mayor (From left)

1.K-bio Global Meeting on Strategy Held


On May 19, a meeting was held under the theme of the ‘K-bio global strategy for the Free Economic Zone.’ The event was hosted by Sung Yun-mo, Minister for Trade, Industry, and Energy, and was attended by Park Nam-chun, Incheon Mayor, Lee Won-jae, the IFEZ Commissioner, Jeon Hyeong-sik, the CBFEZ (Chungbuk Free Economic Zone Authority) Commissioner, and representatives from various companies and relevant institutions.
At the venue, IFEZ Commissioner Lee Won-jae introduced Songdo Bio Cluster in terms of its competitiveness and vision. He also briefly mentioned how companies in Songdo participated in the development and manufacturing of a COVID-19 vaccine and medicine and highlighted that this demonstrated the high research level and production capacities of Songdo Bio Cluster. The detailed plan was also disclosed for growing Songdo as the leading cluster for K-bio. By aggressively accommodating companies, the number of resident companies will be increased from 60 to 700, the scale of employment will also be expanded from the current 5,000 to 20,000, and the accumulated investment and annual revenue will increase two to five times. Lastly, Commissioner Lee made suggestions to further K-bio’s growth, such as corporate tax exemptions for companies in the free economic zone and the establishment of a center for nurturing bio-process human resources.

In closing the session, Sung Yun-mo, Minister for Trade, Industry, and Energy, stated that the role of the free economic zone, which already owns the base for the bio cluster, is crucial for vitalizing the K-bio industry. When resident companies, universities, research institutions, and supporting institutions cooperate on these grounds, the free economic zone will serve as an excellent advanced base, adding that his ministry also promised active government backing for these efforts.

The IFEZ has established three strategic tasks in order to solidify a value chain-completed bio ecosystem. The backbones of the tasks are enhancement of the value chain from research to production for establishing the ecosystem, beefing-up of innovation infrastructure for K-bio incubation, and vitalization of win-win networks based on open innovation.

2. Investment Attraction PM Strategy Presentation


Project managers (PMs) with expertise in attracting investment to the IFEZ are now strengthening their capacities while preparing for the ‘post-COVID-19 era.’ With this in mind, they held a presentation session on May 7 and 8 to prepare for enterprise-presentation meetings to be held in the second half of this year. The session was based around a review of PM strategies to attract investment and to rearrange their roles and responsibilities. All 22 PMs participated in this session through presentations and Q&A sessions, with the assumption that they were presenting for virtual potential investors. PMs made their presentations in foreign languages, with consideration for the investment targets.

Regarding their own areas, they explained investment-attraction conditions and the level of attractiveness while suggesting the project. The IFEZ plans to produce universal presentations along with eight area-specific presentations that can be utilized for attracting investment. It additionally plans to prepare not only contactless IR activities but also future face-to-face investment-attraction activities by preparing IR-related capacity-building programs for attracting investment, such as tips for analyzing industrial trends and companies to attract foreign investments, IR planning and presentation strategies.

3. IFEZ Participates in ‘BIO International Convention 2020’


The IFEZ participated alongside KOTRA in the ‘BIO International Convention 2020,’ which was held from June 9 to June 13. The ‘BIO International Convention 2020,’ is an annual convention attended by experts in healthcare, bio, and bioscience industries from more than 70 countries. This year, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, the convention was held in the format of a teleconference on investment seminars, participated in by 3,247 companies from around the world.

The IFEZ held meetings with potential investors from nine companies, seven institutions, and three schools. As a result, the Taiwan Bio Industry Organization invited the IFEZ to the “Bio ASIA International Conference & Exhibition,” which is scheduled for July 22 as another contactless conference, while Lumasonix, a Canadian company in the field of developing cancer-diagnosis solutions, inquired on the possibility of establishing manufacturing facilities in Korea.

In addition, the IFEZ discussed the possibilities of moving into Incheon Global Campus and collaborating with Songdo Bio Cluster alongside AcademicLabs, a Belgian R&D solution company. Talks were also held in regard to opportunities for exchanges with Korean and Asian companies, along with discussions involving Italpharmaco S.p.A., an Italian pharmaceutical company. The IFEZ plans to put its best efforts toward attracting investment through continuous interactions with potential investors who expressed positive opinions on the IFEZ during the event.

4. Project Kicked off for Setting up Strategies for Vitalizing the Development of Songdo International Business Complex


On May 20, the IFEZ held a reporting session on the kickoff of the consulting service for establishing strategies for vitalizing the development of the Songdo International Business District, with cooperation from NSIC. The project will be implemented by the end of this year, and the focus will be on feasibility studies on business conditions, the establishment of development strategies, strategies for attracting investment, and actual project execution. The development project for Songdo International Business District has been a foothold of IFEZ development since its initiation in 2003.

However, due to changes in the market environment and investment conditions both at home and abroad, the actual implementation has been sluggish, and people have raised their voices on the need for revision of the original development plan. Against this backdrop, the IFEZ kicked off the project in order to set the development project back on the right track, accommodating changes regarding internal and external conditions. On the other hand, the IFEZ formed an advisory panel of experts to come up with vitalization strategies for Songdo International Business District in order to enhance compliance for the designation objective and the review of publicness. The advisory panel was organized by the Incheon Institute and the vice president of the institute, Heo Dong-hun, with consulting and urban-planning experts taking the lead in advising on requirements for the project.

5. Active Attraction for Companies Returning to Korea


The IFEZ plans to actively attract companies returning to Korea after making inroads into overseas markets, known as ‘U-turn’ companies. In March, the revision of the Act on Assistance to Korean Off-shore Enterprises in Repatriation (the so called ‘U-turn Act’) was enforced, and industries subject to receiving support as U-turn companies were expanded to include knowledge service and ICT, and conditions for reducing overseas business sites were alleviated. The U-turn Act was enacted and enforced in 2013 and had originally been focused on non-metropolitan areas in terms of benefits offered to returning companies.

In addition, the scope of U-turn companies recognized was only for newly established or extended ‘manufacturing’ plants. However, thanks to the revisions to enforcement at this time, more industries can now benefit from the act, and the IFEZ can secure sufficient competitiveness. In particular, it is forecast that the demand for IT and other related manufacturers to return to Korea will be increased due to COVID-19, and it is expected that this will serve as another strategy for attracting such companies.

Benefits for U-turn Companies in the IFEZ (maximum seven years)

· Exemption of corporate tax, income tax, and tariffs by 50-100%
· Support for incentives for job creation
· Available for long-term (50 years) rent for national and public properties.
· Discounts on rent, taking the scale of investment into account

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