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Daejeon seeks to attract 'largest-ever' investments from European firms

Mayor visits Merck, ASML, IMEC facilities during Europe trip

Daejeon Mayor Lee Jang-woo (right) poses for a picture on Wednesday with Chief Executive Officer of Merck's Life Science Business Matthias Heinzel at the Merck headquarters located in Darmstadt, Germany. (Photo by Lee Kwon-hyung)
Daejeon Mayor Lee Jang-woo (right) poses for a picture on Wednesday with Chief Executive Officer of Merck's Life Science Business Matthias Heinzel at the Merck headquarters located in Darmstadt, Germany. (Photo by Lee Kwon-hyung)

FRANKFURT, Germany -- Daejeon Mayor Lee Jang-woo met Wednesday with officials from bio-to-chip firm Merck, at the company’s headquarters in Germany, to attract semiconductor and bio-related investments in the central Korean city.

During the meeting, Lee and Merck officials discussed the company’s potential direct investment in Daejeon to build manufacturing facilities. 

After his inauguration in July, Lee announced his vision to promote the nano semiconductor industry, which encompasses projects to cultivate talent and technology, and to create research and chip evaluation facilities. The city plans on finalizing its comprehensive strategy to create a “first-class economy city” by the end of 2022, and gradually execute its strategic projects starting in 2023.

Lee promised the city government’s full support, stressing Daejeon’s infrastructural aptitude and its position as the heart of Korea’s IT, semiconductor and bio industries.

According to the mayor, Daejeon has the potential to grow as a major chip hub, hosting 15 universities that have semiconductor-related majors and nine chip-related research institutes in the Innopolis Daeduk complex. Seventy-five Korean chip-related companies are based in the city, while 43 percent of the country’s research infrastructure on materials, parts and equipment also having foundations there, the mayor added.

“Although we already had a positive image for Daejeon through our investment research, we were moved by the mayor’s active efforts to attract our investment,” said a Merck official. “We hope to further strengthen our cooperative relationship in the future.”

Lee also spent Thursday visiting the manufacturing facilities of global semiconductor parts supplier ASML, located in Veldhoven, Netherlands, and met with officials at IMEC, a Belgian semiconductor research firm, located in Leuven, Belgium.

City officials said the visit to ASML and IMEC facilities will act as a benchmark in creating semiconductor testing and certifying facilities.

“The recent business trip abroad is a connected process to Daejeon’s declaration to rear the semiconductor industry and its application to create a 2.14 million pyeong (7.07 million square meter) national industrial complex,” said the mayor of Daejeon.

“With Daejeon’s cooperation with Merck and ASML, and using IMEC’s technology as a model, we will complete the blueprint for ‘the construction of a nano semiconductor-based industry mecca city,’” he added.

By Lee Seung-ku (seungku99@heraldcorp.com) and Lee Kwon-hyung (kwonhl@heraldcorp.com)



By Korea Herald (khnews@heraldcorp.com)
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