The Korea Herald


Korea bets on foreign investment for Foodpolis

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Nov. 14, 2014 - 21:30

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The South Korean government is strongly committed to attracting foreign investment to make Foodpolis, Asia’s first food cluster, a success, officials said Friday.

“The government will step up its efforts to strengthen the global competitiveness of the nation’s food industry and to encourage foreign investment in Foodpolis,” Lee Ju-myeung, head of the Agriculture Ministry’s Food Industry Policy Bureau, told international media and embassies at a briefing.

The nation plans to invest 553 billion won ($524 million) to establish Foodpolish by 2016 in Iksan, North Jeolla Province. The government expects the cluster to generate up to $13 billion in sales and $3 billion worth of exports by 2020. It also believes Foodpolis would help create up to 22,000 new jobs.

The Agriculture Ministry said the food cluster has a lot of potential for growth due to the fast-expanding global food market that is being led by Asia.

“The Asian food market has grown to 44.2 percent of the global industry this year, up from 31.2 percent in 2006,” said Moon Jung-hoon, a professor at Seoul National University who attended the briefing. “Northeast Asia was also the only region that saw an increase in the market for packaged and processed food over the last six years.”

The well-developed food markets of Japan and Korea would be big business opportunities for companies operating in Foodpolis as they would not have to incur extra costs for entering those countries, he added.

The Korean food market also has the advantage of being an ideal test bed for global food companies, according to the Agriculture Ministry. The market has seen a 6.7 percent growth since 2001, double the average global market growth of 3.2 percent.

“The Korean food market has been growing fast on account of multiple factors including a Westernization of diets that led to a bigger processed food market, rising disposable incomes and the growing demand for high-quality food,” Moon said.

By Shin Ji-hye (