Seoul Accepts Nominations for Candidates to Receive Foreigner Honorary Citizenship

In order to select Seoul’s 2019 Foreign Honorary Citizens, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will be receiving candidate nominations from June 10 to July 19, 2019.

Seoul’s Foreign Honorary Citizens will be selected from the international residents who have lived in Seoul for more than three consecutive years (or five cumulative years) or, among the foreign guests who have visited Seoul, those who have contributed to improving the Seoul’s status as a city and have been role models to Seoul’s citizens and to other foreign residents.

Nominations can be submitted by heads of public organizations or civic organizations or by solidarity expressed between more than 30 citizens of Seoul in signature form. Nominators can fill out the nomination form that can be downloaded from the official website of the Seoul Metropolitan Government and submit it to the International Relations Division of the Seoul Metropolitan Government by July 19, 2019.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has conferred honorary citizenship to 827 foreigners from 97 countries since 1958, including △202 from the US, 45 from Japan, △44 from Germany, △43 from China, and △31 from the UK.

A Foreign Honorary Citizen of Seoul is given opportunities to participate in the administrative affairs of Seoul, such as being appointed as a policy advisor of the Seoul Metropolitan Government or being invited to events organized by the city.

The Honorary Citizens will be selected through a screening process by experts in administration from both inside and outside of the city and with the agreement of the Seoul City Council. The Seoul Honorary Citizenship Ceremony 2019 will be held in autumn during which the selected individuals will receive honorary citizenship.

According to nationality: 827 individuals from 97 countries
(As of June 1, 2019)

According to nationality: 827 individuals from 97 countries (As of June 1, 2019)
Continent Nationality Total Sex Continent Nationality Total Sex
(Unit: Person) Male Female (Unit: Person) Male Female
1 Ghana 2 2 0 Europe
10 Belarus 1 1 0
2 Nigeria 6 6 0 11 Bulgaria 1 1 0
3 South Africa 5 5 0 12 Sweden 6 5 1
4 Lesotho 1 1 0 13 Switzerland 4 3 1
5 Senegal 2 2 0 14 Scotland 1 0 1
6 Sudan 11 11 0 15 Spain 8 5 3
7 Angola 3 2 1 16 Slovakia 1 1 0
8 Ethiopia 4 4 0 17 Azerbaijan 1 1 0
9 Chad 1 1 0 18 Iceland 1 0 1
10 Côte d’Ivoire 2 2 0 19 Ireland 4 3 1
11 Congo 3 3 0 20 Estonia 1 0 1
12 Tanzania 1 1 0 21 UK 31 21 10
1 Nepal 8 7 1 22 Austria 5 4 1
2 Taiwan 10 10 0 23 Ukraine 2 2 0
3 Malaysia 4 3 1 24 Italy 15 11 4
4 Mongolia 8 6 2 25 Georgia 2 2 0
5 Bangladesh 1 1 0 26 Czech 3 3 0
6 Vietnam 7 7 0 27 Turkey 14 13 1
7 Sri Lanka 3 1 2 28 Poland 6 5 1
8 Singapore 8 7 1 29 France 21 14 7
9 Uzbekistan 7 4 3 30 Finland 4 3 1
10 India 4 3 1 31 Hungary 5 5 0
11 Indonesia 6 5 1
12 Japan 45 36 9 Central and South America
1 Guatemala 2 1 1
13 China 43 38 5 2 Dominica 2 1 1
14 Kazakhstan 10 9 1 3 Mexico 13 10 3
15 Cambodia 1 1 0 4 The Bahamas 1 0 1
16 Kyrgyzstan 3 2 1 5 Venezuela 2 0 2
17 Tahiti 1 0 1 6 Belize 1 0 1
18 Thailand 17 14 3 7 Bolivia 2 0 2
19 Pakistan 3 2 1 8 Brazil 7 5 2
20 The Philippines 15 12 3 9 Argentina 4 2 2
Middle East
1 Saudi Arabia 6 6 0 10 Ecuador 1 0 1
2 The UAE 2 2 0 11 El Salvador 1 1 0
3 Algeria 2 1 1 12 Honduras 2 1 1
4 Jordan 2 2 0 13 Uruguay 1 0 1
5 Iraq 3 3 0 14 Chile 6 5 1
6 Iran 2 2 0 15 Costa Rica 5 3 2
7 Israel 2 1 1 16 Colombia 6 5 1
8 Egypt 2 1 1 17 Trinidad and Tobago 1 0 1
Europe 1 Greece 9 7 2 18 Panama 1 0 1
2 Netherlands 11 7 4 19 Paraguay 1 0 1
3 Norway 5 3 2 20 Peru 11 9 2
4 Denmark 9 7 2 21 Puerto Rico 1 0 1
5 Germany 44 40 4 North America
1 US 202 163 39
6 Russia 13 12 1 2 Canada 20 14 6
7 Romania 3 2 1 Oceania
1 New Zealand 10 9 1
8 Malta 1 0 1 2 Papua New Guinea 1 0 1
9 Belgium 13 7 6 3 Australia 12 7 5

How to Nominate a Candidate for Honorary Citizenship of Seoul

◼ Foreign Honorary Citizenship Qualifications
❍ Foreign residents who have resided in Seoul for more than three consecutive years or five cumulative years, and have contributed to:
❍ improving the status of Seoul as a city at home and abroad; enhancing the culture and welfare; and the economic development of Seoul
※ Note: Only the foreign residents who completed alien registration with the Immigration Bureau of the Republic of Korea (including those who are exempt from alien registration) are eligible.

◼ Nominators
❍ Heads of public organizations or civic organizations
❍ More than 30 citizens of Seoul (all signatures are required)

Period: June 10 (Mon.)-July 19 (Fri.), 2019
By post or in person
(In case of submission by post, the postmark date should be no later than July 19, 2019)
※ Submission via e-mail will be accepted only if the hard copy (original copy) of the nomination form is submitted to the International Relations Division within the submission period

◼ Required Documents
❍ Nomination form (including the signature of the nominators) and photo of nominee
– Nomination form is downloadable here:

◼ Submission
– Address: Person in Charge of Honorary Citizenship, International Relations Division, 8F, Seoul City Hall, 110, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul (04524)
– Contact ☎ +82-2-2133-5267

Seoul Honorary Citizenship Ceremony 2018

Seoul Honorary Citizenship Ceremony 2018
Group Photo Conferring Moment
Group Photo Conferring Moment
Mayor’s Speech Impressions of the Honorary Citizens’ Representative
Mayor’s Speech Impressions of the Honorary Citizens’ Representative

Mayors of Seoul and London Discuss Cooperation on Low Emission Zones

Mayors of Seoul and London Discuss Cooperation on Low Emission Zones

Mayor Park Won-soon of Seoul met with London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan at London City Hall. The two mayors discussed cooperative measures regarding the growth of innovative startups, a topic of interest common to both cities, as well as the fintech industry, attraction of foreign investments, and improvement of air quality.

The two mayors first shared the current states of the “Environment-friendly Car Rating System” that both cities have promoted to reduce particulate matter, and then agreed to continue their internationally cooperative relationship to solve the problem of air quality.

Following this joint declaration, Seoul took the lead in introducing an environment-friendly rating system by offering a strong governmental proposal. The city’s Metropolitan Council then passed eight bills, including the “Special Act on Fine Dust Reduction and Management,” that were enforced starting in February 2019 through various policies. Seoul is currently the only city in the nation to implement operational restrictions on five-grade vehicles after the official announcement of emergency reduction measures. Furthermore, the city plans to enforce a trial project of regular operational restrictions on five-grade gas emission vehicles in “green traffic areas” as part of its traffic demand management in consideration of the atmospheric environment.

London was the first major city in the world to jointly declare and begin enforcement of the “Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)” policy for restrictions on vehicle operations in order to solve the chronic problem of air quality in the city.

Furthermore, Mayor Park Won-soon and Mayor Sadiq Khan sought to compose cooperative measures in the economic field. Seoul has made economy revival its key project with the completion of the seventh popular elections and focuses on revitalizing urban industries and the city’s capabilities when it comes to innovative startups. London has promoted a change in its economic paradigm through recent innovative growth amid difficult interior and exterior conditions such as Brexit.

The meeting between Mayor Park and Mayor Khan is their first meeting in two years after Mayor Park’s visit to London in 2017. At the first meeting, the two mayors discussed various exchange and cooperative plans based on their commonality as mayors who have responded to climate changes, taken the lead in social integration and innovation following their inauguration into office as human rights lawyers and members of civic organizations, and concluded an agreement that paved the way for cooperation in nine areas including economic democratization.

Mayor of Seoul Visits Three Middle Eastern and European Countries for Strategic Planning of Innovative Startups


Mayor Park Won-soon will be making visits in the Middle East and Europe from May 1-8, 2019. This will be his first visit to the Middle East in six years after his visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2013. He will visit the three cities of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, London, England, and Tel Aviv, Israel.

The keywords theming this round of visits is “Innovative Startups.” Mayor Park Won-soon presented startups as the solution to reviving the economy, a project emphasized by the municipal government. This time, he will make his very first visit to Israel, a global startup nation that has created the world’s number one cyber security business. Mayor Park will meet with important figures to actively seek advice on policies and ideas for creating an ecosystem for Seoul, a city open to startups, as well as to propose exchanges and collaborations with Seoul’s businesses. A friendly city agreement will be concluded with Tel Aviv, the economic center of Israel, thus opening a gateway seeking exchanges, collaborations, and cooperation in various areas, including Israel’s forte, innovative startups.

The two-night, three-day visit to London will take place during the UK Fintech Week, which will stress Seoul’s sales in London, a global financial center. Mayor Park Won-soon will take the stand at the “Seoul Investor Relations (IR).”

In the UAE, the mayor will meet with high-ranking officials of the UAE government, as follow-up measures of the MOU was concluded between Seoul and the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment at the Korea-UAE Summit in February 2019. This visit is being made in order to offer a concrete proposal for the formation of a UAE-customized “Upcycling Landmark.”

Introducing Seoul Through Arirang TV, the International Broadcasting Network

Introducing Seoul Through Arirang TV, the International Broadcasting Network

Seoul will further extend its urban marketing with the Korea International Broadcasting Foundation’s Arirang TV, which is viewed by nearly 140 million households in 105 countries throughout the world in Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania.

For example, Seoul’s excellent policies or information on lifestyle, culture, travel, and events that are helpful to foreigners will be broadcasted, as news, in English to viewers around the globe through Arirang TV’s overseas broadcasts and on SNS channels. A special program introducing Seoul will be produced utilizing the global network held by Arirang TV to promote telecasting on influential television media in England and America. A Seoul publicity video starring globally recognized celebrities will be made to introduce to the world the harmony of tradition and modernity found in Seoul.

On April 29, 2019, Seoul concluded the “Seoul-International Broadcasting Foundation MOU on Overseas Publicity” to launch the overseas, partnered marketing.

Both parties agreed to five areas of cooperation: ① support for overseas joint publicity and marketing activities for Seoul, ② production and expansion of English news programs, ③ co-production and support for publicity and news programs, ④ provision of data and information for broadcast production related to publicity and provision of production benefits, and ⑤ provision of a discounted rate in advertisement inserts and sharing of mutually retained resources.

Furthermore, in addition to joint marketing with the Korea International Broadcasting Foundation, Seoul plans to begin global marketing projects with production and expansion of online and offline urban publicity and advertising contents in Southeast Asia, where there is higher recognition of Seoul, and to publicize Seoul at festivals in major cities around the world.

Seoul Selected as Host City to Joint Bid the ‘2032 Summer Olympics’ with North Korea

Seoul passed the first obstacle to becoming one of the hosts of the 2032 Summer Olympics. It will be 44 years in 2032 since Korea’s hosting of the 1988 Seoul Olympics. According to the voting results of the General Meeting of Korean Sport & Olympic Committee Representatives held at Korea National Training Center on Feb. 11 (Mon), ‘Seoul’ was ultimately selected as the host city in Korea for the 「35th Summer Olympics in 2032」.

Preceding the voting, Mayor of Seoul Park Won-soon gave a 15-minute presentation in which he expressed the appropriateness of why Seoul should be the host city of the 2032 Olympics and Seoul’s measures of attraction. He expressed the historicity and symbolism of Seoul as a representative city of the Korean peninsula for 625 years, stable preparations in the competition and financial capabilities to host the Games, a ready infrastructure and global urban competitiveness, and items of preparation for joint hosting by South Korea and North Korea.

With the start of its selection as the domestic host city, Seoul will accelerate preparations to be selected as the final host city for the 35th Summer Olympics in 2032.

To increase its competitiveness against other candidate cities, Seoul plans to establish an efficient attraction strategy that corresponds with the ‘Olympic Agenda 2020’ presented by the IOC. The ‘Olympic Agenda 2020’ is IOC’s vision of utilizing existing facilities rather than building new stadiums to aim for an economical Olympics.

Seoul will also step forward to introduce its experience and charms as an international sports city. Seoul will actively support the 「25th Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly」 to underscore the city’s capacity and know-how in hosting large international events on IOC members and the Executive Board of the National Olympic Committee (NOC).

Seoul will officially promote the ‘joint hosting of 2032 Olympics by South Korea and North Korea’ which was mutually agreed upon at last year’s Inter-Korean summit. Seoul anticipates that it will gain momentum in discussions in relation to preparation on various aspects for exchange with Pyongyang in the areas of society and culture, economic development, and urban infrastructure, following its announcement of 「Seoul-Pyongyang Comprehensive City Cooperation Plan」 in 2016.

As the Olympics is a national event requiring national support and participation, Seoul will organize a preparatory committee based on voluntary participation of citizens and athletes to heighten the excitement of the Olympics in addition to supporting various activities such as debates and conferences and foster the expansion of sympathy.

2032 Summer Olympics

New Way of Thinking Creates a New Economy

Park Won-soon’s

New Way of Thinking Creates a New Economy
– Park Won-soon’s 10 Proposals for Economic Revitalization


Dear citizens of Seoul and fellow officials of the Seoul Metropolitan Government,

It seems only yesterday that I first came to work as the mayor of Seoul with the conviction in my heart that “Citizens are the mayor,” and it has already been seven years since my first day in office in 2011.
In retrospect, it is refreshing to think about the past journey in Seoul.

Over the past seven years, Seoul has innovated itself by shifting its focus to ’people,’ ‘care,’ ‘respect for labor’ and ‘community,’ and as a result, Seoul has turned into one of the most livable cities in the world.

The Seoul City has placed ‘people’ before anything else which had previously been pushed back behind ‘development’ and ‘growth.’ It has worked tirelessly to make structural changes in its municipal services so that the municipality can bear the weight of life together and share each of its citizens’ burdens collectively with no one left behind.

In May 2018, Seoul City won the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize of Singapore, referred to as the Nobel Prize for cities in the world, and this was a symbolic incident which confirmed that Seoul has become one of the best cities in the world.

All these changes have been possible due to the engagement of all of you, the ten million citizens of Seoul.
My fellow officials of the Seoul Metropolitan Government have made great contributions to the city’s achievement, too.
I am deeply grateful for all your hard work.


Korea is going through tough economic times.
Many citizens of Seoul are having a hard time.
Those who have to scrape by are faced with an emergency warning light in their lives.
Income inequality has widened further, and social imbalance and inequality have become a norm.

Future prospects are not bright, either.
In addition to worsening income inequality and a low economic growth which has become a pattern in Korea, the country is being further challenged by imminent risks such as the low birth rate and rapid ageing of population.

Self-employed businesses that account for 30% of the national economy are on the brink of collapse.
Many young people are spending their golden years preparing for employment tests in libraries after graduation from school.
Along with an extremely low birth rate, women’s career disruption due to childcare has emerged as a serious risk to the national economy and the approaching future.

We must face facts first before we can talk about hope in the horizon.
We can start talking about the economic recovery of Korea only when we have the courage to admit the difficulties we are faced with and reflect on our past mistakes.

Looking back, we can see that after the country’s industrialization and democratization, we have failed to find an alternative to developing our national economy in a rapidly changing global economic landscape in preparation for the coming future.
The logic of our economic discourse is still confined within the framework of conglomerate-centered economic growth, with the fruits of the national economic growth being monopolized by the select few to a greater degree.
Over the years, we have failed to create a new momentum in our national economic growth, nor have we succeeded in accomplishing the transformation of our national economy from a catch-up economy to an innovative economy.

To resolve such structural problems of our national economy, the Moon Jae-in administration has sought to achieve a paradigm shift to a people-centered economy backed by income-led growth, innovative growth, and a fair economy.

To shift the focus of the country’s industrial policies and achieve a manufacturing renaissance, the new administration has launched an Expanded Meeting with Economy-related Ministers.
We anticipate that the national economic system disrupted during the Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye administrations to become normalized and vitalized gradually.

Seoul City will actively cooperate with the government for our mutual growth.


Dear citizens of Seoul and fellow officials of the Seoul Metropolitan Government,

Seoul will take the lead in trying to revive the national economy.
Of course, there are limits to the capability of a local government to revitalize national economic growth due to limited policy instruments, countless regulations, and limitations in authority that it could tap into.
However, no matter how rough the road may be, we can never give up without even trying.
We must not avoid taking on challenges on the grounds that our efforts might bring little effect.

With all the resources that it could ever mobilize, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will concentrate on promoting economic growth, urban industrial rejuvenation, and innovative startups in the city.
While actively cooperating with the central government’s new economic policies, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will request bold deregulation measures while increasing its fiscal support for local government initiatives.
When it comes to reviving the economy, both the central government and local governments must do their very best.


Existing businesses must grow while startups actively emerge so that the economy in Seoul can regain its vitality, the key to which lies in the full-scale establishment of Innovation Growth Hubs in the city.

Building momentum in the economic growth of Seoul and Korea through the creation of a massive innovation ecosystem is Park Won-soon’s first proposal to change the fundamentals of the national economy.

Through my New Year’s message last year, I announced the municipal government’s plan to build six Innovation Growth Hubs.
They include the Integrated R&D Cluster in Magok, the Media City Project in Sangam, the Biomedical Cluster in Hongneung, the Music Industry Project in Changdong, the Digital Cluster in Gaepo, the AI-Centered R&CD Cluster in Yangjae, and the International Exchange Complex in Yeongdong to surpass that of Marina Bay, Singapore.
To accelerate the progress, we will complete the Sangam and Magok projects and concentrate on promoting the cluster projects in Hongneung, Changdong, Gaepo, Yangjae, and Yeongdong districts.

Urban industries that used to be the pride of Seoul over an extended period have continued to decline and deteriorate. My second proposal is to bring innovation to urban industries with new visions and contents befitting the 21st century.

Manufacturing industries in urban centers should no longer be considered outdated. They are invaluable venues with potential for great industrial innovations.

Examples of such venues include the Dasiseun redevelopment project in Jongno 3-ga, the Fashion Town in Dongdaemun, the Jewelry Shopping Street of Jongno 2-ga & 3-ga, the Herbal Medicine Street of Dongdaemun, the Printing Alley of Jung-gu, the Electronics Market in Yongsan, and the Used Car Market in Janganpyeong.
In addition, we will enable small-scale manufacturers and handicraft technicians in the city to operate from the city’s smart anchors to maximize the synergistic effect of their operations.
We will make their long industrial history an asset accumulated from years of experience rather than a debt by incorporating new ideas of the youth into their time-honored industrial know-how.
The declining urban manufacturing industries going through a harsh winter will turn into a spring of innovation filled with the flowers of life.


Dear citizens of Seoul and fellow officials of the Seoul Metropolitan Government,

My third proposal to change the economic landscape of Seoul is the promotion of innovative startups.

For the past 20 years, the list of the top 20 companies in Korea has remained unchanging.
During the same period in the United States, about half of the top 10 companies have been replaced by Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, et cetera.
It has been quite some time since startups in Silicon Valley began to serve as the country’s future growth engines.

Zongguancun, the technology hub of Beijing, produces global enterprises such as China’s largest Internet portal ‘Baidu’ and the world’s largest online gaming company ‘Tencent.’
In the United Kingdom, the government-affiliated organization Tech City Investment Organization has provided its full-fledged support for the development of a ‘Tech City’ in London.

Major countries around the world are already creating most of the new jobs through innovative startups.
We will find an alternative for our national economy in innovative startups.
For the future of our national economy, we will support technologies that create jobs and invest in ideas that will change the world.
We will develop Seoul into a city where startups thrive like flowing rivers and blooming wild flowers.

① First, we will expand and reinforce our startup infrastructure.
We will increase the number of startup spaces run by Seoul City from a mere 40 to around 100.
Seoul City has established Seoul Startup Hub and Seoul Innovation Park which have already developed into world-class startup spaces. Rather than being complacent with the accomplishment, we will work hard to create a startup space in each community throughout the city so that everyone who want to start their own business can settle down for future growth. In addition, we will join forces with Google and D-Camp (Banks Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs) to host Seoul global startup camps. We will also help startups take full advantage of the spaces provided by the private sector, like WeWork, at reasonable prices. We will enhance cooperation with Silicon Valley of the USA, Zhongguancun of China, and various Israeli startup organizations.

We will also expand our financial support for startup companies. We have prepared to set up the Seoul Future Growth Fund worth 1.2 trillion KRW which we will invest in more than 2,000 Seoul-style innovative startups based on the core technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution. I will also take the lead in attracting overseas funds to Seoul.

② Second, we will turn Seoul into ‘a testbed for public policies’ for industrial revitalization of the 4th Industrial Revolution and create an innovation ecosystem in the city.

Seoul City will play the role of a testbed for innovative technologies and support the startups’ new technology verification process. We will provide startups with full support customized for their needs in the whole process including technology development, commercialization, marketing, and global market entry.

Utilizing the know-how accumulated by Seoul Urban Solutions Agency (SUSA) that has been exporting first-hand experiences of Seoul to 57 cities around the world, we will actively support our country’s small and medium-sized enterprises and startups make inroads into overseas markets.

③ Third, we will realize the dream of making Seoul the best startup city not only in the Republic of Korea, but also in Asia.

Silicon Valley is a massive innovation ecosystem built by talented people who have gathered from all corners of the world. A great number of young people from the European continent are crossing the borders to Berlin, Germany to start their new business. We will make Seoul City a city of dreams for all young potential entrepreneurs in Asia.

Recently, Seoul City signed a visa waiver agreement with the Minister of Justice for foreigners planning to start businesses in Seoul.
We will also set up a one-stop service system for foreign entrepreneurs with high potential and provide them with support for office and accommodation spaces.


Dear citizens of Seoul and fellow officials of the Seoul Metropolitan Government,

Park Won-soon’s fourth proposal to facilitate national economic recovery is making investments in people.
‘People’ are the most important element in both the economy and innovations.
The best strategy to realize the ambitious plan of Seoul City is making investments in people.

People that we need now are ‘convergent thinkers’ that can find solutions and lead innovations in innovative workplaces.
We will establish innovation schools like ‘Ecole 42’ in France to cultivate such convergent thinkers.
Through the schools, we are planning to produce more than 4,500 young people who could play a leading role anywhere in the world.

To help them successfully function in companies or start their own businesses, we will establish an organization devoted to the promotion of cooperation between the Seoul Metropolitan Government and universities so that the innovation schools can focus on producing talented people demanded by businesses on-site instead of those who appear good in their resumes.

Entrepreneurship by definition involves a challenging spirit.
We will build social foundations that will empower not only the citizens of Seoul City but also all those foreign nationals who dream of living in the city to take up the challenge and start their new business in Seoul at any time.


My fifth proposal to revitalize the national economy is in assisting corporations.
Corporations are at the core of our economic activities.
They create jobs, accumulate national wealth, and are the engines of a national economy.

One of the biggest tasks of the central and local governments is to support and encourage them to create many quality jobs, generate high revenue, pay a fair amount of taxes, and develop future growth engines.

Seoul City will actively support anyone who would help revitalize the economy, create jobs, and invest in the future.
We will go the extra mile to help big businesses equip themselves with even stronger international competitiveness while providing particularly robust support to more than 1,300 mid-sized businesses in the city in order for them to develop into big businesses.

However, we must place top priority on small and medium-sized enterprises. We will have to identify their difficulties and come up with customized support measures.
Our national economic strategy must focus on achieving economic growth largely through innovation led by small and medium-sized enterprises, moving beyond the traditional big business-oriented economic growth depending on their competitiveness in pricing and investment.
Along with the central government, we will sharply increase our fiscal support for R&D activities of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Furthermore, we will also take active measures to attract foreign corporations.
In 2016, we attracted 9.5 billion USD in Foreign Direct Investment, the highest record in history. To break the record yet again during my term, we are determined to do everything in our power to make Seoul City an attractive place to live in for foreign companies and foreign nationals.

That way, we will make Seoul City a metropolis where a larger number of new businesses get created and develop more substantially than ever so that everyone in Seoul will be able to meet with greater success.


Dear respected Seoul citizens and fellow officials of Seoul City,

My sixth proposal to revive the national economy is the realization of a fair economy and the enhancement of economic democracy.

Seoul City has already advocated and implemented the so-called ‘WECONOMICS,’ meaning ‘economy for all.’

We need a robust four-wheeled vehicle to go through the harsh terrain we are in, and the four wheels we require are the development of big businesses, the growth of SMEs, the establishment of a labor-respecting society, and the realization of economic democracy and a fair economy.
Our conviction about the vision and the direction will never falter.

The biggest obstacle to our advance toward a new era and new economy is a serious inequality, or the so-called ‘99:1 society.’ A new economic paradigm must start from the elimination of such extreme inequality followed by the establishment of a balanced economy and a fair economy.

A fair economy is critical for innovative growth.

We will promote economic democracy more strongly so that SMEs can compete with big businesses on a level playing field and the results of innovative growth can spread throughout the society in a fairer way.


It is our urgent task to rescue the self-employed businesses pushed to the brink of life.

Rescuing self-employed business is my seventh proposal to revive the economy.
Accounting for about 30% of the national economy, self-employed business is the backbone of our economy.
Only when villages and alleys restore their vitality can the national economy become steady.
We will make sure that people of self-employed businesses can increase their profits, and we will expand the social safety net.
No store should close its doors due to unreasonably high rent after having successfully operated through the owner’s hard work and sacrifice.
Through the introduction of a paid sick leave system and the support of employment insurance premiums, we will reduce the financial burdens of self-employee business people.
We will lay the foundation for the growth and innovation of self-employed business people. We will back up the central government’s eight key policy tasks designed to promote their capacity-building efforts.
In cooperation with the central government, we will make sure that the scope of the commercial building lease protection will be expanded through gradual elimination of the conversion deposit system, and the Zero Pay system that we have initiated will take root successfully.


Dear citizens of Seoul and fellow officials of Seoul City,

A new era requires a new economy.

Our national economy has already advanced to a point where the traditional catch-up approaches no longer work.
Instead of following in others’ footsteps, we need to create a new economic model and continue to innovate it.

Yes, that is the way.
My eighth proposal to revive the national economy is the creation of a new economic model suitable for the new era.

Freitag of Switzerland uses waste materials to produce goods that are not available anywhere in the world. The products sell out rapidly despite their high prices.
The upcycling industry and the handmade economy including that of handmade shoes have already emerged as an alternative.
Social economy accounts for 20% of the French economy. It has also taken root elsewhere as part of the mainstream economy.

In addition, the era of possession is being taken over by the era of sharing.
Above all, the world’s business is being dominated by platform companies that invite people from all over the world to implement creative activities collectively.

The modern society is fractured, decentralized, and complex, with walls making it hard for anyone to enter a new area. We need to demolish such walls through innovations aimed towards promoting convergence and connectivity.
We must continue to create a new economic model through cooperation among local governments, integration of IT with BT and NT, and combination of technology and humanities.

We will make sure that such changes and creative activities will take place in Seoul.
We will hold world-class hackathon and startup events in Seoul.
Creating new trends and a whirlwind of innovation are the ways to build an innovative economy where Seoul and the Republic of Korea will lead the world at the forefront instead of trying to catch up with others.


My ninth proposal to revive the national economy is self-reflection, soul-searching, and innovation starting from within Seoul City.

Korea has poured an enormous amount of funds and resources into supporting SMEs, traditional markets, and startups. Although it has implemented more considerable support policies than any other country, why have we not produced satisfactory results? Why has Korea not seen multiple new unicorn companies emerging yet? We need to reflect carefully on such issues.
Our country’s R&D expenditure stands at 4.5% of its GDP, which is the highest in the world.
However, Korea ranks 26th in the world in terms of technology transfer by public research institutions and industry-academic collaborations.

We must examine ourselves carefully regarding bureaucratic approaches and excessive regulations, neglect in on-site communications, and lack of understanding about changes in the horizon.
We have to ask ourselves whether our economic policies have been aimed at suppliers instead of consumers.

To restore the vitality of the national economy, Seoul City must take the lead and start innovations from within.

When the central government approves of our plan to appoint two deputy mayors instead of one as it has promised, we will appoint an economic expert with corporate backgrounds to one of the posts at all costs.
We will have the deputy mayor take charge of overall economic policies and corporate support policies of Seoul City.

We will create an economic policy framework to support businesses more effectively, and we will carefully evaluate the performance goals of our policies in order to reduce errors and mistakes related to the policies.
In the process, we will keep communicating with businesses while giving and receiving ample feedback.
We will ensure that policies will be properly implemented in efficient and productive ways in Seoul City.
Through the most efficient budget implementation practices, we will strive to produce 100 units with an input of 1 unit.

Dear citizens of Seoul,
From now on, instead of just Seoul City, please call our city with the name of Special Economic City.


Dear respected citizens of Seoul and fellow officials of Seoul City,

In the past Deng Xiaoping of China had said, “It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice.” He led the Chinese economic reform with this so-called ‘Black Cat, White Cat’ theory, laying the foundation for China to emerge as the second strongest economy in the world.

Likewise, I think practical and field-oriented approaches are what Korea needs in order to overcome our current crisis of national economy and of ordinary citizens’ livelihood.

All along, I have cherished practical philosophy, innovation strategies, and entrepreneurship. I have also done my very best to put them into practice.
When attacked as a left-winger, I replied that I was neither right-wing nor left-wing, but that I was only of the ‘citizen-wing’ if I had to belong to a wing.
Armed with the spirit of entrepreneurship in the past, I have founded the Beautiful Store and developed it as a social enterprise which grew to become the best social enterprise in Asia with 30 billion KRW in annual sales.
In the past I have also established the Hope Institute and developed it into the best think tank of the Republic of Korea through ‘the Silhak Movement of the 21st Century.’
What matters are practical visions, strategies, and actions based on real situations in the world.

It is in that context that I am heading to meet the corporations that moved in to the Yangjae R&CD Innovation Hub right after this New Year’s kickoff meeting is over.
Without any filters, I will listen to the vivid voices of corporations.
I will no longer wait for corporations to come and see me, but will instead go and meet them in their workplaces.

Exactly as I did when I was elected as mayor of Seoul for the first time seven years ago, I will go out and meet citizens in their workplaces.
I will go wherever my presence is requested by citizens regardless of who opposes it for whatever reason.
I will open ‘the Mayoral Office of Innovation’ in places where citizens struggle daily to survive and locations where citizens rise to challenges and make innovations.

Yes, focusing on the field instead of the office is my tenth proposal to revive the economy.


Dear respected citizens of Seoul and fellow officials of Seoul City,

Everyone talks about the difficulties faced by the Korean economy.
Regarding the prospects of our economic growth and development in the future, the vast majority of people overwhelmingly voice pessimistic views.

However, I would prefer to be on the optimistic side.
I do not deny that our economy is going through difficult times.

Looking back, the question seems to be whether there has ever been a time when our economy was not in a difficult situation.
In every crisis, we were united to take on challenges and overcame the crisis with confidence.

Indeed, we ended up further developing our economy after we struggled with each crisis.

I know that the process is far from easy.

However, we all know that history has always been on the side of optimists who courageously take on challenges with positive thinking and an optimistic attitude.

That is right.
Positive thinking and optimism are the best strategies to turn the hope for our economy into reality.
I believe that the best way to revive the economy is to arm the citizens with positive thinking, optimism, challenging spirit, and courage.
Let us join forces to tackle our challenges head on.
During the rest of my term, I will invest all my efforts in finding the solutions to the problems of citizens’ livelihood while making changes in municipal service more deeply, more broadly, and more sustainably.

Regarding numerous questions about a better tomorrow in the midst of any transition, the answer has always been ‘citizens.’
It is my great privilege to have ten million citizens to serve.
Let us move forward together to complete the 10-year revolution of improving the quality of life for the great citizens of Seoul City.

Thank you.

Mayor Park Won-soon Gives Seoul Mayor Inaugural Lecture at China’s Peking University

Mayor Park Won-soon Gives Seoul Mayor Inaugural Lecture at China’s Peking University

Mayor Park Won-soon became the first Seoul mayor to give a lecture at China’s prestigious Peking University on November 26th. Under the topic, “A new future of Northeast Asia found in the city,” Mayor Park Won-soon spoke on the issues of countermeasures for climate change, ecological civilization, new and renewable energy, urban regeneration, and innovative youth policies, while stressing the roles of cities and local governments in effectively transforming people’s lives in a time of globalization and localization. He introduced numerous innovative policies that Seoul had ventured for in the past to communicate with the youth community.

Prior to his lecture, the mayor visited China’s entrepreneurship hub, Beijing’s Z-InnoWay, also known as the heart of the start-up industry, Beijing’s own Silicon Valley.

Mayor Park Won-soon also took part in the Seoul-Beijing Climate and Environment Cooperation Forum, co-sponsored by Seoul and Beijing. The forum served as a platform of mutual policy exchange attended by over 100 members of urban climate and environment policy teams, Beijing Municipal Research Institute of Environmental Protection, as well as officials from international organizations. On this day, Seoul and Beijing established the Joint Research Team for Reduction of Particulate Matter with participation by the Seoul Research Institute of Public Health and Environment, Beijing Municipal Research Institute of Environmental Protection, and the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Monitoring Center (BMEMC).

As the first cooperative project of the joint research organization, both cities will determine the Seoul-Beijing detailed analysis of particulate matter for close examination of the cause of atmosphere deterioration and evaluate the cause of volatile organic compounds while researching for reduction measures to be enforced starting in 2019. Results of the study are scheduled to be announced in late 2019.

Mayor Park Won-soon also met with Chen Jining, the mayor of Beijing. Mayor Chen Jining visited Seoul in March 2018, for the 3rd Annual Seoul-Beijing Joint Committee Conference and met with Mayor Park Won-soon to inspect Seoul’s excellent policy assets, including the Digital Mayor’s Office, TOPIS (Transport Operation & Information Service), and Seoullo 7017.

In the evening, Mayor Park attended the Seoul-Beijing 25th Sister City Anniversary Concert, co-sponsored by Seoul and Beijing, at Beijing’s largest performance hall, the National Centre for the Performing Arts. The Seoul Metropolitan Traditional Orchestra opened the night with Arirang Fantasy and rewarded the audience with a special rendition of harmony and friendship between the Korean and Chinese cultures.

Mayor Park Won-soon Heads to Beijing to Bolster Cooperative Partnerships

Mayor Park Won-soon Heads to Beijing to Bolster Cooperative Partnerships

Mayor Park Won-soon will be visiting Beijing, China, for four days and three nights, from November 25-28, making it his first visit since his 2015 tour to Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

Seoul looks to fortify cooperative relations between Seoul and Beijing in light of the 25th anniversary of the two cities’ signing of the Sister Cities Agreement and the Korea-China Growth Conference for Governors and Mayors, held on a biannual basis. Mayor Park Won-soon will supervise the Korea-China Growth Conference for Governors and Mayors where the two countries’ metropolitan council heads will gather in Beijing and speak with Premier Li Keqiang of China.

The core agenda of his Beijing visit are in environmental cooperation, economic cooperation, and youth exchange.

First, at the 2nd Korea-China Growth Conference for Governors and Mayors, the topic of environmental cooperation will be taken up by the heads of both local governments to discuss practical matters regarding the bolstering of cooperative partnerships in terms of improving the air quality. Seoul will hold a Climate and Environment Cooperation Forum with Beijing to create a center of the political exchange of urban environmental policy teams.

Second, in regard to economic cooperation, large enterprises will accompany promising, SMEs and start-ups to help revitalize Chinese investments. The Seoul China Investment Week, from November 28-29, will be co-hosted with Bank of China to offer comprehensive support for varied business opportunities among domestic enterprises.

Third, Mayor Park is set to be the first Seoul mayor to give a lecture at China’s prestigious Peking University, meet with China’s future leaders, and visit Z-InnoWay, China’s hub for entrepreneurship.

Global Economic Leaders Gather for Seoul International Business Advisory Council Annual Meeting


With innovative growth as the pivotal point of Seoul’s economic policy for the 7th popular elections, global economic leaders and CEOs of the world’s prominent enterprises, including Forbes, Siemens, and Audi, gather in Seoul to discuss the future direction and strategies of Seoul’s economy.

On November 9, this year’s 17th Seoul International Business Advisory Council (SIBAC) Annual Meeting unfolds in line with the theme of “Shaping Seoul’s Future through Innovative Growth.”

This annual meeting is scheduled to appoint erudite scholars and experts in the startup industry as new members with the intent of expanding upon the base of advisory and discussion.

The SIBAC was established in 2001 as the advisory body to the mayor of Seoul, with currently five consultants and 28 representatives of globally-renown enterprises of various fields, including McKinsey & Company, Nomura Holdings, Forbes, Siemens AG, Brookfield Asset Management, AUDI AG, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Toray Industries, Yozma Group, and more.

A total of 16 annual meetings were held since 2001, while the line of Seoul mayors received advice on 334 matters in the fields of economy, community, urban infrastructure, culture, environment, and entrepreneurship, and among those discussed, as much as 84%, or 282 items, were reflected within the municipal government.

The 17th Seoul International Business Advisory Council Annual Meeting is scheduled to convene under the following three sessions: Constructing a hub for promising industries of the future I, II (R&D, biomedical, urban manufacturing, and cultural content), and creating an innovative startup climate.

The first session invites five representatives to give a presentation on the topic of “Constructing a hub for promising industries of the future through R&D, biomedicine, urban manufacturing and cultural content.”

The second session then examines the strengths of Seoul and explores various cases from cities around the world.

Lastly, the third session, focusing on “Creating an innovative startup climate,” provides the opportunity for consultation on the matter of expanding the startup climate that is destined to evolve into the driving force of the innovation movement.

Hosting this year’s SIBAC Annual Meeting as the seventh mayor of Seoul to do so, Mayor Park Won-soon, remarked, “This will be an invaluable opportunity to hear from leaders of global enterprises on the vision and strategies for the future direction of our economy,” before going on to say, “Together we will create a city where worldwide innovationists gather, a city that challenges itself to pioneer unmarked territory, as well as a city that inspires job creation, productivity, and income through innovation.”

Seoul City Defines “heatwave” as a Natural Disaster and Offers Special Care

Seoul City Defines “heatwave” as a Natural Disaster and Offers Special Care

The Seoul City held a heatwave emergency meeting on July 30, with the participation of the mayor Park Won-soon, as well as related departments such as safety, welfare, and health to discuss ways to minimize the possible damages caused by the lasting heatwaves.

The mayor shared, “It is important that the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the autonomous governments make use of public spaces in order to protect elderly people living alone and other groups that might be vulnerable against heatwaves throughout these dangerous times. In particular, we must make sure that these people are not exposed to heat during the hottest hours of the day.”

Seoul Metropolitan Government will ① include heatwaves in the list of natural disasters through an ordinance, ② strengthen management and support focusing on the five most vulnerable groups against heat, and ③ expand the operation extension of Heatwave Resting Areas.

First, Seoul City shall define heatwaves as a “natural disaster” to clarify that it is the object of disaster and safety management, and shall implement systematic management to protect the citizens’ rights to life and health based on institutional grounds.

Currently, heatwaves are not specified as natural disasters in the relevant law, meaning that there is no legal response manual and that damages caused by heatwaves are not recognized either. As a result, Seoul City has been preparing for heatwaves with a manual of its own.

Second, Seoul City will strengthen special protection for the five most vulnerable groups against heat: elderly people living alone, low-income vulnerable groups, homeless people, citizens living in a slice room, and construction workers.

In particular, the city has managed safety and health of elderly people living by themselves through phone calls (337,918 calls) and home visits (59,542 visits) during the heatwave alert period (total 16 days, based on July 25th). There were actual life-saving cases such as events in which senior citizen living alone were found unconscious in their homes during home visits, but were saved after being reported to 119.

Third, the city is currently adding “Extended Resting Areas” in 427 spots to the 3,252 “Heatwave Resting Areas” that are open for all citizens to use so that people can find shelter during evening hours (6 p.m. to 9 p.m.) and on holiday

These resting areas are operating near the residences, such as in senior citizen community centers, welfare centers, and the residents’ centers. The location and status of Heatwave Resting Areas can be found on Seoul Safety Portal (, and Seoul Safety App (Google Play Store, AppStore).

Mayor Park Won-soon’s Lee Kuan Yew Prize, Great Achievement by Citizens

Mayor Park Won-soon received the internationally prestigious ‘Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize,’ also called the ‘Nobel Prize for Urban Administration,’ on behalf of the 10 million Seoul citizens.

On Monday, July 9 at 6:15 pm, Mayor Park Won-soon was awarded a certificate, medal, and prize money of 300 thousand Singapore dollars by Singaporean president, Halimah binti Yacob at the ‘2018 Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize’ award ceremony in Singapore.

Mayor Park gave his award speech, saying that it was a great achievement by amazing citizens and expressed his gratitude to the 10 million Seoul citizens and Seoul Metropolitan Government employees that helped make this change in Seoul. He also emphasized that revolutions are the movements within the hearts of the citizens, and citizens change their lives and the city paradigm through participating in the revolution process. Seoul City plans on inviting public officials from sister cities to Seoul, and operating training programs to share Seoul’s urban regeneration policies.

The same day, before the award ceremony, there was also an arranged spot at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center to explain directly to the global city delegation the key policies that lead Seoul to its outstanding achievement of the ‘Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize.’ Designated the first transit mall, they also took time to introduce Seoul’s the various successful projects, such as ‘Sinchon Yonsei-ro,’ a road altered for pedestrians, ‘Mapo Oil Tank Culture Park,’ a 1st grade safety facility for oil reserves reborn into a complex cultural facility, ‘Seoullo 7017,’ a car road changed into a pedestrian road which turned into a tourist spot gathering 10 million visitors within a year of its opening, and more.


Mayor Park Won-soon’s Lee Kuan Yew Prize, Great Achievement by Citizens

Mayor Park Won-soon’s Lee Kuan Yew Prize, Great Achievement by Citizens

Mayor Park Won-soon Attends 2018 WCS Mayors Forum

Mayor Park Won-soon Attends 2018 WCS Mayors Forum

On July 8, Sunday, Mayor Park Won-soon was in attendance at the 2018 World Cities Summit (WCS) held in Singapore among mayors and delegates from as many as 120 cities from around the world, under the theme of ‘Liveable & Sustainable Cities: Embracing the Future through Innovation and Collaboration.’

The World Cities Summit invites mayors from major cities all over the world, as well as key figures from political, financial and academic spheres, to collectively share in an innovative blueprint that enables the restoration of a liveable and sustainable city infrastructure. This biennial summit also serves as a platform to promote new, collaborative partnerships.

Mayor Park first set foot out to attend the ‘Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize.’ Recipient Forum at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center. The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is an award given out once every two years that recognizes cities that have made outstanding contributions in the creation of a liveable and sustainable city infrastructure. The prize itself maintains international recognition from across the globe, earning it the nickname, the Nobel Prize of City Administration.

Mayor Park had the opportunity to present the design for urban development to previously awarded city representatives amid preparations currently underway in the areas of Yeouido, Yongsan and other locations within Seoul, befitting of both global economic and cultural standards. He went on to provide an introduction of efforts being made to bolster public participation in metropolitan government activities while sharing in the core policies that operate as the driving force behind public participation, including the 2030 Seoul Master Plan, One Less Nuclear Power Plant Initiative, Public Participatory Budget System, etc.

Following the discussion, attendees visited the Seoul Promotional Booth opened at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center for yet another introduction to the diverse attractions Seoul has to offer.

Mayor Park Won-soon Attends 2018 WCS Mayors Forum

The booth introduced some of Seoul’s more prominent policies, including Seoullo 7017, and the Digital Civic Mayor’s Office, as the back wall and also provided screenings of promotional videos featuring globally-renowned photographer, Steve McCurry, and the popular K-pop boy band and Seoul promotional ambassador, BTS. In addition, artist Shin Eun-mi performed a live ink wash painting of the Seoullo 7017, harmoniously in sync with a Korean classical music instrumental that offered a peek into the alluring fusion of modern-day life and tradition in the city of Seoul.

Mayor Park Won-soon Attends 2018 WCS Mayors Forum

Mayor Park then made his way to the WCS Mayors Forum where he joined in the opening ceremony and roundtable discussion with other attendees to hold an in-depth deliberation on the underlying theme of the forum.

Mayor Park Won-soon Attends 2018 WCS Mayors Forum