Hyundai Heavy Industries and the Ulsan Metropolitan Government on Wednesday launched a Creative Economy Innovation Center to support the country’s marine, shipbuilding and medical services industries.
“Through the cooperation of the world’s leading shipbuilder HHI and local scholars, researchers and businessmen, I am very confident that the center will lead Ulsan and Korea’s manufacturing industry. The government will also put all our efforts in opening that road,” said President Park Geun-hye at the opening ceremony at the University of Ulsan on the day.
About 150 people including Hyundai Heavy chairman Choi Kil-seon, company CEO Kwon Oh-gap and Ulsan Mayor Kim Gi-hyeon attended the event.
The innovation center will support the marine plant and shipbuilding industry while cultivating up-and-coming industries such as automated medical services and 3-D printing, which are seen as a good fit for Ulsan, which has abundant medical and tech-related manpower thanks to the University of Ulsan and large enterprises.
The center’s establishment comes at a time when the domestic shipbuilding industry has hit a snag due to a slump in the industry and fierce competition from lower-priced Chinese shipbuilders. Ulsan was also in need of a second chance after its manufacturing sector, including Hyundai Motor, HHI and Hyosung, has slowed down in recent years.
To resuscitate the shipbuilding sector, the center will support the development of new-generation vessels such as “Eco Ship” and “Smart Ship.” For mass-production of these state-of-the-art ships with less pollution and higher efficiency, the three major shipbuilders will open up 2,500 patents they own to encourage R&D.
Studies on information and communication technology-driven shipbuilding facilities for small and midsize shipbuilders will also be conducted.
In order to get a grip on the ever-growing automated medical services market, the center will launch a “one-stop service,” where Asan Medical Center and Ulsan University Hospital medical staff conduct field tests and administrators support the state accreditation for robot and software commercialization.
“Due to the ageing society problem, the size of automated medical services market using medical robots for nursing, rehabilitation and surgery will increase to $70 billion by 2018. Our future is very bright because we have the global market leader (HHI) alongside a high-tech society with top-notch manpower,” Park said.
“The people of Ulsan once made a miracle by creating a city of manufacturing. It is now time for you to step up and become the cradle of marine plants and shipbuilding as well as the automated medical services industry,” she added.
By Bae Ji-sook (firstname.lastname@example.org