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Park stresses job creation through 'creative economy'

All Headlines 15:14 April 08, 2016

SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye emphasized the need to foster a "creative economy" that can help churn out more jobs and address the biggest challenge facing Asia's fourth-largest economy.

Park made the remark during her visits to two innovation centers in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province and Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, the latest in a series of tours meant to boost local startups and small companies.

South Korea set up 17 innovation centers across the country as part of its push for the establishment of a creative economy and to eventually create more jobs for young people. The centers are to match up local startups and venture firms with conglomerates, which can provide resources to smaller companies so that they can turn creative ideas into real business opportunities.

Park was briefed about the centers' role in the creative economy and expressed hope that innovation centers will become a "stepping stone" for young people in finding jobs.

Creating jobs is one of the main goals of the Park administration's labor reform drive as she seeks to increase labor flexibility in the face of a protracted economic slowdown.

The unemployment rate for people between the ages of 15 and 29 reached a record 9.2 percent in 2015, up from 9 percent tallied a year earlier and the highest level since 1999.

The innovation centers have provided support to 800 startups, which in turn attracted investment worth 150 billion won (US$120 million), according to Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea's presidential office.

The Friday trip comes just five days before South Koreans go to the polls to elect new lawmakers.

The main opposition Minjoo Party claimed the visit was aimed at intervening in the April 13 parliamentary elections and to support the ruling Saeuri Party candidates. The presidential office has brushed off such accusations as groundless.

Park previously visited four innovation centers in the country's central city of Daejeon, in the southeastern industrial center of Daegu, and Busan, the country's No. 2 city and largest sea port. She also visited the innovation center in the western port city of Incheon to drum up support for greater cooperation between big and smaller companies.


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