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Seoul to invest over 240 billion won to attract foreign capital

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon (Yonhap)
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon (Yonhap)
Seoul Metropolitan Government will invest 241.8 billion won ($204 million) over five years as part of its plans to transform the city into a global financial hub, the city said Thursday.

The city also plans to establish an agency for overseeing foreign investment in the city, with the goal of attracting more than 250 foreign financial firms and attaining foreign direct investment of $30 billion by 2030.

The agency, which is set to open in 2024, will work with Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency’s investment hosting agency Invest Korea and directly negotiate with target firms. It is also looking to open a digital finance support center the following year for local firms to use.

The Seoul government said that it will also increase incentives and make regulatory changes, and have Yeouido, western Seoul, as the center of finance.

By next year, the city government looks to launch an international financial office in Yeouido for foreign firms to use as a site to prepare for opening their own offices in Seoul. The city aims to support firms with up to 70 percent of monthly rent for up to five years.

The office will also provide legal and financial consulting services as needed, according to the plan.

By the same year, Seoul also plans to open a new think tank dedicated to conduct financial research projects, hiring finance professionals to research appropriate financial policies and initiatives for the city government to pursue.

It is also considering opening new educational programs jointly with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and establish networks with financial education institutions overseas, thereby opening job opportunities for interested students and professionals.

The city government is scheduled to open a fintech lab in Mapo-gu, western Seoul, in 2022 for its officials to assist initial public offering procedures and investment projects for nearby firms.

In pursuing these goals, the city government said it will increase incentives and cut taxes for overseas firms relocating to Seoul. The city government plans to host more international schools and prepare housing units for relocating professionals and their families to live.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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