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Korea to spend W60b to reshape industrial complexes

The government and private sector will organize a 60 billion won ($53 million) fund this year to be used for reshaping the country’s lagging industrial complexes, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said Sunday.

The investment is part of the Quality of Working Life Valley project launched by the government in October, which is aimed at reinvigorating old industrial sites to attract more young workers by 2013.

The project, worth around 1.3 trillion won, encompasses establishing educational, welfare and cultural facilities.

The government and state-run Korea Industrial Complexes Corp. will each invest 15 billion won as seed money, respectively, while it expects to raise over 30 billion won from the private sector, the ministry said.

Korea this year will begin establishing model QWL valleys at four industrial complexes ―Banwol-Sihwa, Namdong, Gumi and Iksan.

Should the model complexes prove to be successful, the government will expand them to 51 others in the near future, the ministry said.

“For the QWL project to gradually expand nationwide, investments from the private sector are crucial. We need to develop a success model where the government invests seed money and retrieves profits from such projects,” ministry officials said.

The government has recently been making efforts to revive the country’s sluggish industrial sites without much success. It thus began shifting its focus to quality of working life.

The concept of QWL complexes, which focus on providing quality jobs to workers, has already been widely adopted by advanced European countries such as Sweden, France and Finland.

Despite the huge contribution they made to the country’s rapid development in 1960s, industrial complexes began decaying with little remaining population as the Korean economy began to shift its direction to a knowledge-based system in 2000s.

By Koh Young-aah (youngaah@heraldcorp.com)
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