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Seoul City to set up investment agency

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Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon speaks during a press conference at City Hall, Wednesday, to announce the city government's Seoul Vision 2030 plan. Yonhap
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon speaks during a press conference at City Hall, Wednesday, to announce the city government's Seoul Vision 2030 plan. Yonhap

Mayor Oh unveils Vision 2030 to make Seoul into digital financial hub

By Bahk Eun-ji

Seoul City will set up an organization in charge of attracting foreign investment into the city, similar to the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, as a part of its bid to increase the city's competitiveness and establish the city as Asia's digital financial hub, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said, Wednesday.

This is a core part of the mayor's Seoul Vision 2030, a master plan for the city government's policy direction through 2030.

This vision is the result of discussions of a committee of 44 experts in various sectors and 78 Seoul citizens, which Oh set up in May, the month after he was elected mayor.

One of the main goals is to restore Seoul's global urban competitiveness.

"I will make all-out efforts to turn the capital into a top-tier and globally competitive city," Oh said during a press conference at City Hall, Wednesday.

The city government aims to raise Seoul's urban competitiveness to within the top five cities, up from 17th in 2020 according to a survey released by the U.S. consulting firm A.T. Kearney.

"We will restore the competitiveness of Seoul, and create an attractive city, to where people, businesses and investment flock again," Oh said.

For this goal, Seoul City plans to establish the tentatively named "Seoul investment agency" next year in charge of attracting overseas investment and supporting businesses, along the lines of Singapore's GIC and Hong Kong's InvestHK.

It will also designate Yeouido, where financial institutions are clustered, as a special zone for digital finance, with an aim to develop the district into Asia's leading digital finance hub. It will establish a support center there by 2025 to provide one-stop support for all processes of attracting overseas financial institutions to Yeouido.

The Dongdaemun area, which is mostly associated with the fashion industry, will be developed into a "global beauty industry hub" by gathering cosmetics companies and research labs, academies teaching cosmetics-related techniques, as well as facilities for culture and tourism linked to hallyu.

Seoul City also plans to hold Seoul Festa, an annual festival, starting next year, where visitors can experience the city's cultural and tourism resources including K-pop concerts, food and shopping, hoping to attract 20 million visitors from overseas annually by 2030.

The city government plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent compared to the current level by 2030 and targets zero emissions by 2050.

It estimates a budget of 48.7 trillion won ($4.16 billion) will be needed to realize these goals for Seoul Vision 2030. Oh said the city government can prepare for the amount without much difficulty because tax revenue has increased due to rising property taxes stemming from the increase in housing prices.

Bahk Eun-ji

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