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‘Foodpolis best site for foreign firms eyeing Asia-Pacific’By 정주원
Published : Oct. 28, 2015 - 18:05
The Korea National Food Cluster, or Foodpolis, is the strongest pick of headquarters for foreign food companies seeking to enter markets in Asian economies, the Korean Agriculture Ministry said Wednesday.
In a press conference for foreign journalists, Lee Ju-myeung, director general of the food industry policy unit in the ministry, said that the world’s first state-supported food cluster offers a balanced incentive package that exceeds other food clusters in practicality.
“We offer more than just vacant land spaces when we ask the foreign companies to join us at the Foodpolis -- we offer government support that comprises more than 100 personnel engaging in a professional research and development team, packaging, food quality management center, functional food research center and so on,” Lee added.
To be completed in 2016, Foodpolis claims itself to be a new hub of the global food industry, with a total budget of $474 million earmarked for the project. Built on a 351-hectare tract of land in Iksan, North Jeolla Province, the cluster set aside 232 hectares for a research and development-oriented industrial complex and 119 hectares for a residential area.
Six support centers, including advanced pilot plants and an incubating center, for tech-intensive ventures, take up about 2 percent of the food cluster for the tenant companies.
“The small and mid-sized enterprises, especially those in the materials industries and semiprocessed food, show great interest in the R&D support in the Foodpolis,” Lee added.
Regarding logistics and transportation, Lee said Korea has 60 large cities, each populated by more than 1 million, within two hours by flight. Products can be shipped to China, Hong Kong and Japan on the same business day.
Moreover, Korea has secured a diverse range of export channels through free trade agreements with over 50 countries around the world, in addition to Foodpolis’ cooperative pact with 113 companies from 17 countries.
In addition, foreign companies are offered 100 percent tax exemption for the first three years based on its investment scale, along with other tax benefits for 50 years.
“The decisive factor in the Korean food industry used to be the capital and manpower prior to the 1980s and the processing technology in the 1980s,” Dr. Kwon Dae-young of the Korea Food Research Institute said at the press event.
“On top of that, now we need the brand power, quality and safety,” he added, stressing that Foodpolis seeks to achieve these mega-factors.
By Chung Joo-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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