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Seoul mayor proposes mutual economic cooperation with Dubai

By Lee Jung-joo

Published : May 7, 2024 - 15:10

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Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon delivers a keynote speech titled “Seoul - A Global Economic Innovation Hub” during the Dubai Fintech Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday. (Seoul Metropolitan Government) Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon delivers a keynote speech titled “Seoul - A Global Economic Innovation Hub” during the Dubai Fintech Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday. (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon proposed to forge mutual financial and economic cooperation with Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, during the Dubai Fintech Summit held there on Monday.

In his keynote speech, “Seoul - A Global Economic Innovation Hub,” Oh highlighted the city’s strengths as a global financial center, a leader in innovative finance and a digital financial hub. He also outlined Seoul's strategic direction to become one of the top five global cities in the future.

On being selected as one of the top 10 financial hubs according to the Global Financial Centers Index, Oh cited Seoul’s human capital, economic and cultural brand power and its digital infrastructure in the information and communication technology sector.

“Since my first term as mayor in 2007, Seoul has been actively working to become an Asian financial hub,” he said. “The three factors -- human capital, brand power and digital infrastructure -- combined with our efforts to transform Yeouido into a global financial hub and lifting developmental restrictions has helped Seoul to become one of the leading financial hubs in the world.”

“To become one of the world’s top five financial hubs, Seoul will focus on building an English-friendly city to better assist foreign nationals who do not speak Korean and will work to improve settlement conditions by expanding housing facilities and schools for foreign nationals,” the mayor said. He also added that the capital city will continue to host events like Seoul FinTech Week and Smart Life Week to continuously be up to date on the changes in the financial and digital technology sectors.

As representative examples of Seoul’s innovative finance and fintech policies, Oh talked about the Climate Card -- a rechargeable, all-inclusive monthly transit pass -- and Wrist Doctor 9988 -- a health care app launched to help people in Seoul maintain healthier life habits. On the Climate Card, Oh additionally alluded to plans to release another version of the transit pass for international tourists in the near future.

“Seoul is home to many innovation centers, including those in the creative technology, bio, artificial intelligence and robotics sectors,” Oh added. “We plan to merge leading industries based in Seoul and fintech together to help Seoul become a leading city in innovative finance. We look forward to cooperating with Dubai in this process.”

The Dubai Fintech Summit has been held since last year under the patronage of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the current ruler of Dubai. He is also the chairman of the Dubai International Financial Center, which invited the Seoul mayor to the event. This year’s event, held under the theme “Pioneering Fintech’s Future,” was aimed at exploring the way forward for fintech and the financial industry, with more than 200 companies from 100 countries and 8,000 global financial leaders in attendance.