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(2nd LD) Park visits major hub for ICT startups

All News 18:28 July 21, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS photo, Park's remarks in paras 9-11)
By Song Sang-ho

SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye visited South Korea's major hub for high-tech startups, south of Seoul, on Thursday, in her latest on-site campaign to promote the government's "creative economy" policies.

Park visited the Creative Economy Valley in Pangyo, south of Seoul, which is home to more than 1,100 startups and venture firms, many of which specialize in information and communications technologies (ICT).

It is her fifth on-site tour in a month. Since late last month, she has visited a school, a company, a rural town and a welfare center to promote her government's efforts to enhance the well-being of citizens and revitalize the economy.

Her visit to the high-tech valley is designed to showcase progress in her creative economy initiative that aims to capitalize on innovative ideas and technologies, such as ICT, to generate new business opportunities, create jobs and spur growth.

To push for the initiative, the central government, in cooperation with provincial governments, has established "creative economy innovation centers" in 17 locations across the country. The centers have provided various kinds of support for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Park's office Cheong Wa Dae said that 1,080 new firms have benefited from the centers' support programs. Thanks to her policy drive, the number of newly established businesses reached 90,000 last year, up from 74,162 recorded in 2012, it said.

At the valley in Pangyo, Park met with top officials and employees of the two leading ICT-based firms, 12CM and MIDAS IT.

Park then held talks with the heads of 10 startups at the valley. The meeting was held under the main theme of "ICT-based startups and leaders of the creative economy spearheading the fourth industrial revolution."

Noting that the process of creating new technologies and businesses is motivated by a "love for humanity," the president pledged to offer continued support for startups.

"The motivation for the creation of new businesses and development of new technologies is, in a sense, the love for humanity, the affection towards people and the intention to help people lead a happier, safer and more convenient life," Park said.

"The government will try harder to support you who are striving to develop technologies with warm hearts (towards people). I really dream of South Korea becoming a startup nation," she added.

Participants in the meeting included Science, ICT and Future Planning Minister Choi Yang-hee and Small and Medium Business Administration Minister Joo Young-sup.

The tech valley in Pangyo has emerged as the fulcrum of corporate creativity with more than 1,120 high-tech businesses operating there. These businesses currently employ more than 72,800 people, with combined sales topping 70 trillion won (US$61 billion) last year.

The valley aims to host some 1,600 businesses and employ 100,000 workers by 2020.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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