Gwangyang Bay Area Free Economic Zone (GFEZ), designated in 2003, is garnering a reputation as a base for global companies to produce and distribute their products in the north-east Asian market.
Gwangyang Port, the key distribution centre of the GFEZ, is showing rapid growth. By 2020 the port will be able to handle 34 berths, the equivalent of 12.45 million TEU of cargo. The port expenses will be much cheaper than Hong Kong, Kobe and even Pusan. Large container ships will be able to use the port more easily with the large site the port has secured.
POSCO’s steel mill in Gwangyang, the world’s largest steel producer, and Yeosu National Industrial Complex, producing 51% of domestic petrochemical products, are both located near the area, providing a synergy effect for steel, shipbuilding metal and IT companies when they move into the zone.
The locally available land and air transport make the area a transport hub, with Gwangyang Port at the centre.
The GFEZ is receiving a warm welcome from many global companies with its exceptional tax exemptions and one-stop, user-friendly financial services. By 2006, the GFEZ was able to attract over $2.73bn of investment from 16 companies. About 31 memorandums of understanding are currently under negotiation, worth more than $900m.
The following is the development plan for each area:
- The main facility, the Gwangyang Port, has 16 berths completed with a 5.48 million TEU capacity. It is busy building dockage and cargo facilities, with construction to be completed by the second half of this year. A marine centre to control shared distribution is also under way.
- The Yulchon Area is becoming known among companies in and outside Korea for its export services. Since it is in the middle of the Gwangyang Port, POSCO and Yeosu National Industrial Complex, it has a globally competitive level of access to services.
- Hwayang Area has bought surrounding sites and is in the completion stages of the planning of a golf island. Construction will begin in October and starting with the golf island site it will complete supplementation work for its master plan by next year.
- The Sindeok and Hadong areas will focus on creating a foreigner-friendly environment by attracting foreign schools and hospitals.
Based on this foundation, GFEZ will develop into an international business-gathering place featuring high-value industrial clusters supporting processing, assembly and manufacturing, and will become the hub of port logistics and the centre of marine tourism and leisure for the 21st century and beyond.
ADVANTAGES OF GFEZ
Optimal location for an industrial cluster:
Construction of an industrial cluster is easy because Gwangyang Port, POSCO Gwangyang Steelworks, Yeosu National Industrial Complex and Yulchon Industrial Complex are located nearby.
The industrial infrastructure such as Yeosu Airport, Gyeong-Jeon Railway, Honam Expressway and Namhae Expressway is completely ready.
Well-tempered living environment:
The cities of Gwangyang, Suncheon and Yeosu provide a well-tempered living environment.
High quality human resources:
Graduates of engineering college are 46,195 annually, representing 10.3% of the nationwide total. Therefore, companies can take advantage of this plentiful, high-quality labour force.