Baek Kun-ki, the mayor of Yongin, speaks during a press conference in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, in July 2019. (Yongin City)
Yongin, a city of 1 million located about 40 kilometers south of Seoul, will step up efforts to become an eco-friendly and economically self-sufficient city, said Baek Kun-ki, the mayor of Yongin.
During a press conference held on Tuesday, Baek shared his vision for Yongin, whose new “special city” status goes into effect on Thursday. Yongin is one of four cities that received the designation this year. The others are Suwon, Goyang and Changwon.
With the city’s new status, Baek said Yongin will be given more autonomy than other city governments. With the official special city designation, Yongin will be given more government resources and advantages for innovation and other policy areas. Policy decisions can be made quickly through direct negotiation with the central government, bypassing metropolitan governments.
With more administrative autonomy, Yongin will add impetus to the development of its semiconductor cluster, according to Baek.
First formulated in 2018, the semiconductor cluster is expected to help the city’s push for a self-reliant economy, Baek explained. The city would clear regulatory processes as soon as possible to start construction of the semiconductor cluster during the first quarter of this year, he said.
When completed, many semiconductor firms will enter the cluster and surrounding areas, which the city government has designated for companies from both here and abroad.
Previously, SK hynix, the world’s second-largest memory chip provider, decided to invest a total of 120 trillion won ($100.7 billion) to build fabrication lines at the new semiconductor complex.
US semiconductor equipment maker Lam Research is also one of the other companies that will invest in the cluster, and have committed to building technology centers and production lines there.
The semiconductor cluster will also be proximate to the city’s other industrial complexes, including the second Yongin Techno Valley, which will house small and mid-sized semiconductor equipment companies.
Yongin also plans to formulate a commercial town in Giheung-gu, dubbed a “Platform City.” This town will too house semiconductor facilities, including one that will be built by the country’s largest semiconductor and display equipment maker Surplus Global with a 600 billion won budget.
The town in Giheung-gu will be close to the planned GTX commuter rail network, which will greatly shorten travel time between Yongin and Seoul’s central Gangnam area.
Baek expects the introduction of new industry clusters and industrial complexes in the city will attract many companies and create new jobs as well. The Yongin government currently expects to create 77,000 new jobs through inviting companies into the city’s 29 new economic towns.
The mayor also pledged to operate a wide range of programs to support companies that operate in Yongin, as part of the city’s efforts to become economically resilient and self-sufficient. For instance, Baek said the city government will introduce consultation programs for companies looking to explore new trade opportunities in the overseas market.
Yongin City Hall in Cheoin-gu, Yongin, Gyeonggi Province (Yongin City)
While preparing for the semiconductor cluster, the city government of Yongin will also ramp up efforts to introduce countermeasures against COVID-19.
Baek said that containing the coronavirus pandemic is the city’s top priority. “The city will counter the spread of COVID-19 with all possible administrative resources,” Baek said.
Baek added the city government will continue to introduce measures to support small businesses that have been financially damaged due to the economic fallout from the pandemic.
According to Baek, the city government of Yongin will increase the issue of Yongin Y-Pay, the city’s relief funds, to 300 billion won, with the aim of revitalizing small businesses.
Baek added that the Yongin government will try its best to cope with other changes that have rapidly taken place in a wide range of sectors, including the economy, industry and environment.
In addition to these coronavirus countermeasures, Yongin will also invest administrative and financial resources to bring improvements in social welfare, living environments and municipal services.
Starting this year, the Yongin government will provide 100,000-won subsidies to 37,000 students in the city to reduce the financial burdens on local families. Baek said the Yongin government will also set aside a budget to operate school buses, through which local students can easily and safely commute to schools.
The government will also provide 200,000 won to those who finished their military service as part of its efforts to support young adults. For young adults, the Yongin government will also establish a rental assistance fund to provide rent relief grants, Baek said. “(The Yongin government) will listen to voices of young adults and prepare tailored policies down the road.”
Yongin will make fathers with disabilities also eligible for a maternity grant and farmers to receive a 600,000 won of basic income on an annual basis.
For the elderly, particularly those who live alone, the Yongin government will support artificial intelligence-based care solutions as well.
Baek Kun-ki (fifth from left), mayor of Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, and officials from local organizations pose for pictures at a donation ceremony hosted by the city earlier this month. (Yongin City)
While improving social welfare programs, Baek said the city government will continue its efforts to turn Yongin into an eco-friendly city, in line with the country’s roadmap to carbon neutrality by 2050.
During his tenure, Baek made a series of efforts to bring about a greener Yongin and a more balanced development of urban spaces.
Baek said the city will continue to increase green spaces by establishing urban parks. According to the mayor, the city will construct a 2.77 million square meter public park in Cheoin-gu.
The city will also finish construction on 13 other public parks in the city by 2025, with trails connecting the city’s three major streams.
In line with the country’s efforts to battle global warming, the city will also encourage more people to drive electric vehicles. According to Baek, Yongin will also increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations to 300 by 2030.
In addition, the city will build eco-friendly power plants as part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Baek said the city will also build four 170-megawatt hydrogen fuel cell power plants in four different regions by 2028.
The city government will continue its urban regeneration projects in the city’s old towns. Baek said Yongin will embark on a series of maintenance businesses to refurbish old buildings and use administrative resources to grant reconstruction permits to old apartment units, in a bid to provide quality housing options to its citizens.
This year, Yongin will host the Korea City Renaissance Industry Expo 2022, an annual event that invites experts from both public and private sectors to share ideas on successful urban regeneration projects.
In 2022, Yongin will also host the annual Gyeonggi Province athletic competition. For the upcoming multi-sport event, the city government will invest 13 billion won for expansion and maintenance of 14 sports facilities.
By Shim Woo-hyun (email@example.com