SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, January 29, 2019 — Seoul Mayor Park Won-Soon leaves Seoul on a five-day visit from January 29 through February 2 to Shenzhen in China and Hong Kong in order to seek for new economic strategies to vamp up Seoul economy.
The Mayor’s visit this time was made and invited by the Hong Kong government as part of its Sponsored Visitors Program (SVP). SVP is a non-regular program that invites VIPs from all over the world to promote Hong Kong and strengthen exchanges and cooperation. During the visit, Mayor Park will have consecutive one to one meeting with top three officials at the Hong Kong government. They include Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR government, Matthew Cheung kin-chung, the Chief Secretary for Administration and Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, the Secretary for Justice.
Seoul and Hong Kong have continued their close relations and exchanges in environmental areas. Mayor Park visited Hong Kong to get policy ideas on disaster prevention after the 2012 Mountain Umyeonsan landslide. Back then, Mayor Park attended the dinner party with social innovators, hosted by the present Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam, then Secretary for Development which makes upcoming meeting the second time. In 2013, Mr. Wong Kam-sing, then the Secretary for Environment visited Seoul Gemcheon-gu to inspect the site on RFID based volume-rate food waste disposal fee system for apartment housings and Mapo-gu for resource recovery facility in person. Furthermore, Seoul and Hong Kong are both vice-chair countries and steering committee member cities for C40, the consultative group tackling climate change.
Mayor Park also will visit Shenzhen, China, dubbed as a paradise for startups and Asian Silicon Valley and one of the most successful special economic zones. This is in accordance with the Mayor’s key strategies of learning from best practice sites and devising policies which befit Seoul as he proposed in his New Year’s Address. He mentioned revitalizing the economy is his top priority for this year.
Since Shenzhen implemented economic reform policies, it has achieved a high average annual growth rate of 22 percent between 1980 and 2016, and created the term “a speed of Shenzhen.” Based on such economic results, Shenzhen transforms itself as one of the representative innovative cities in China with the most innovative minds, most energetic startup activities and consequently creating new profit streams.
During his visit, Mayor Park is scheduled to visit iMakerBase (大公坊), Shenzhen’s government approved startup incubator, IngDan, the institute with IoT, AI startup incubation experience, and Shenzhen Bay Startup Plaza (深圳灣创业廣場) one by one. While in Hong Kong, Mr. Park will also stop by Cyberport, the big innovative startup hub.
· iMakerBase: the government-approved startup incubation institute in Shenzhen. It offers comprehensive startup services including product planning to commercial producing utilizing equipment for manufacturing prototypes.
· IngDan: startup incubation institute for the fourth industrial revolution including IoT and AI. It has performed over more than16,000 projects.
· Shenzhen Bay Startup Plaza: One of the biggest startup complexes in Shenzhen. Chinese representative companies including Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are located.
· Cyberport: Hong Kong’s huge innovative startup hub with over 1,000 companies related to the fourth industrial revolution including fintech startups related to blockchain and cyber security.
Mayor Park will also visit Hong Kong’s successful cases of urban regeneration and review whether there is any area which is applicable to Seoul and listen to the difficult processes of overcoming the conflicts and complicated interests. Hong Kong, renowned for its beautiful port focused on resolving the issues surrounding the city and preventing deterioration when over 50-year-old buildings numbered to over 4,000 in the 1990s. In 2001, Hong Kong government set up the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) and began urban restoration in earnest.
Mr. Park will visit Tai Kwun which is a former Central Police Station Complex turned into a new center for heritage and arts; Police Married Quarters (PMQ), 19th century dormitory for married police reborn as art heritage combining tradition and modernity; and Blue House, the oldest building in Hong Kong restored.
Mayor Park commented that Seoul needs new thoughts and challenges to generate new growth momentum to transform the economy of Seoul full of innovation, and he added that he will take a close look at the best practices of Shenzhen and neighborhood countries, and identify whether there are anything applicable to Seoul and ultimately serve it as an opportunity to supplement and improve the policies of Seoul.