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Seoul City to focus on boosting economy for next four years

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said Thursday that it will prioritize the revitalization of the economy for the next four years under Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon by building an environment for new growth engines, creating jobs and expanding assistance for young people.


The city government unveiled a 2019-22 plan that has five goals and 25 core tasks with a focus on resolving Seoul citizens’ bread-and-butter issues. The goals are to make Seoul future-oriented, safe, welfare-friendly, balanced and democratic.

The city government plans to build six clusters for new industries to attract private investment and nurture personnel in sectors such as biomedical science, internet of things technology and financial services, in an effort to make Seoul a mecca for the “fourth industrial revolution.”

The six clusters include Magok in southwestern Seoul, which the city plans to turn into a hub for research and development, and Digital Media City in northwestern Seoul, where the production of cultural content will be concentrated.

The city also plans to expand support and a social safety net for its small merchants. It will set up a policy research center dedicated to reading market trends for the merchants and financially supporting them to take sick leave, among other things. One of the city’s signature policies, Zero-Pay, went into effect in December to lower card payment-processing fees for small traders in Seoul.

The city’s efforts to make the capital more environmentally friendly are expected to continue. It will add 3,000 hydrogen vehicles and more charging stations, and will redesign major roads to make more room for bicycles and pedestrians.

At the heart of Seoul, the city plans to create a cluster for tourism and set up a 50 billion won fund by 2022 to invest in the tourism industry in Seoul. The municipality will also embark on a project to develop Seoul into a global “music” city.

With 42.3 percent of the city’s neighborhoods finding it difficult to access subway stations within 10 minutes on foot, the city also plans to build rail networks to narrow the accessibility gap between wealthy and poor neighborhoods.

The city will provide 240,000 state-funded houses as planned. It plans to transform bus garages and run-down public facilities into public housing to add 80,000 more accommodation units in the city.

The municipality also plans to create a fund worth 100 billion won over the next four years to assist young people. The fund will be used to help up to 500 people living in Seoul for a year for them to find jobs or pay their rent, with each person to receive up to 30 million won.

The city government aims to generate 410,000 jobs in the private and state-led sectors through its projects to establish new clusters, broaden welfare for vulnerable people and end gender discrimination in the labor market.

To resolve the income gap between women and men, the city will set up a new team committed to drawing up labor policies conducive to gender equality.

The city also said it would strive to co-host the Summer Olympics with Pyongyang in 2032, hold a forum for city-level cooperation with North Korea’s capital and help improve water quality in the Taedong River in the North.

The four-year plan was devised by a committee comprising outside experts and city government officials, who held 60 meetings. The city intends to revise the plan every year after assessing its achievements and considering the wishes of Seoul’s residents.

“Through innovation, we will continue to take on bold and new challenges, resolve citizens’ lives at the scene and achieve co-development of our society by resolving differences at various levels,” Mayor Park said.