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[Herald Interview] Yongin aims to become special city of semiconductors

City to work on developing infrastructure, welfare, mobility and safety with specialized facilities for semiconductors, mayor says

By Lee Jung-joo

Published : Jan. 22, 2024 - 16:01

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Yongin Mayor Lee Sang-il (Yongin Special City) Yongin Mayor Lee Sang-il (Yongin Special City)

Out of the many policies the city of Yongin announced last year, the news about the city’s semiconductor cluster being selected as a specialized complex by the government was selected as Yongin’s top news report of 2023 among citizens, city government officials and reporters based in the city.

In a survey conducted by Yongin Special City, 12,140 survey respondents chose the top five best news reports about the city’s policies out of 26 reports that were selected previously by the city. Up to 3,679 votes were given to a news report about the government designating semiconductor clusters in Yongin as specialized complexes, while news about building a housing complex for 16,000 households for workers in key semiconductor industries in Idong-eup received 3,483 votes.

“In 2023, the semiconductor clusters in Idong-eup and Namsa-eup were chosen as candidates to be designated as a National Industrial Park in March,” said Yongin Mayor Lee Sang-il. “This was followed by the Yongin Semiconductor Cluster in Wonsam-myeon and Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor complex in Giheung-gu being selected as a specialized complex for semiconductors in July, and Idong-eup being selected as a new town to house workers in key semiconductor industries in November.”

Additionally, within Wonsam-myeon’s Yongin Semiconductor Cluster, Lee also mentioned that the city plans to build a 1,983 square-meter exhibition hall for historical artifacts.

“The exhibition hall will display artifacts unearthed during the construction of the Yongin Semiconductor Cluster and a monument to honor three generations of Gen. Oh In-su’s family, who was a representative independence activist during the Japanese colonization,” Lee said. Lee added that the exhibition hall will also become a facility for citizens to enjoy culture and the arts by providing a space for local artists to host various exhibitions and performances.

Specific plans regarding the exhibition hall will be determined after the excavation of cultural properties has been completed at the construction site. Currently, cultural property excavations are underway at 13 locations in the Yongin Semiconductor Cluster, and 96 cultural artifacts from the Joseon era have been excavated.

Yongin Mayor Lee Sang-il (right) shakes hands with the then-Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Won Hee-ryong at a ceremony for the creation of the Yongin Semiconductor Industrial Complex in Giheung. (Yongin Special City) Yongin Mayor Lee Sang-il (right) shakes hands with the then-Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Won Hee-ryong at a ceremony for the creation of the Yongin Semiconductor Industrial Complex in Giheung. (Yongin Special City)

To strengthen Yongin’s competitiveness in semiconductors, Lee argues that “transportation, such as the extension of the Gyeonggang Line, should be taken into consideration.”

At a policy debate led by President Yoon Suk Yeol at Sungkyunkwan University’s Natural Sciences Campus in Suwon, Lee argued that the extension of the Gyeonggang Line and the completion of the Great Train Express commuter networks is “essential to facilitate the development of new towns for specialized complexes for semiconductors.”

The extension of Gyeonggang Line and the completion of the GTX network are both pledges proposed by Yoon during his presidential campaign.

“A ‘semiconductor highway,’ which connects Yanggam in Hwaseong, Namsa in Gyeonggi Province and Iljuk in Ansan, is also essential in terms of balanced regional development, as it will connect the base cities for semiconductor development,” added Lee.

While preparing to become a specialized city in semiconductors, Lee added that the city will also work to enhance the welfare of its citizens.

Yongin is recruiting applicants for the “2024 Community Service Investment Project” until Jan. 26. The project will help applicants discover various welfare projects offered by Yongin and offer its services in the form of vouchers for citizens to use.

“There are nine projects worth 2.6 billion won ($1.9 million) in total, including child psychological support, family psychological support, emotional development support for children, supplemental equipment rental for the disabled and personalized rehabilitation services for the chronically ill,” said Lee.

The personalized rehabilitation services, launched for the first time this year, provide rehabilitation and daily training services for those diagnosed with cerebrovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Yongin also aims to introduce new technology within the city, as a book delivery service run with autonomous delivery robots will launch in parts of Dongbaek 2-dong, Giheung, in April. After a bill amending the Intelligent Robot Development and Promotion Act was passed at the National Assembly in August 2022, robots have been allowed to operate outdoors.

In response to this amendment, Yongin formed a consortium with 18 related organizations, including the Korea Expressway Corporation, the Advanced Institutes of Convergence Technology and Samsung C&T Corporation to develop a delivery service using robots for advanced mobility.

Books will first be delivered for those who face difficulties in visiting local libraries in person, such as pregnant women and the disabled. “After conducting the pilot project for around two months, the city of Yongin will survey public opinion about the service to make necessary improvements and expand the service area,” said Lee.

Yongin was also selected as an excellent regional organization in dealing with natural disasters, according to the Ministry of Interior and Safety’s Natural Disaster Safety Diagnosis and the Evaluation of Disaster Response Drills.

“On a grading scale of A to E, the city of Yongin received the grading level of A in risk factor analysis of natural disasters, disaster management and facility management among 228 cities, counties and districts nationwide,” said Lee. “The city received high marks for its efforts in installing disaster prediction and warning facilities in areas identified as high-risk for damages to life, and for educating and training personnel (to prepare) for natural disasters.”