The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) will start attracting foreign investments and businesses starting next year to join the ranks as one of the world’s top 5 leading financial cities. This is a key strategy for improving Seoul’s global city competitiveness as envisioned by Mayor Oh Se-hoon in Seoul Vision 2030.
Starting next year, the SMG will take an aggressive approach to attract global financial institutions and businesses to Seoul. With a goal to transforming the Seoul Investment Agency, an organization in charge of Seoul’s investment attractions, to an investment agency by 2024, the SMG will first strengthen the functions and roles of Invest Seoul Center, a subsidiary of Seoul Business Agency (SBA), starting next year. Businesses attracted to Seoul through Seoul Investment Office will be provided with one-stop support ranging from an office space and rental support to business consulting service, and language and living support. Seoul International Financial Office, which will provide up to 70% in lease support to overseas financial companies, will also be opened next year in Yeouido.
In addition, incentives for foreign investment companies will be drastically expanded from next year. The SMG will improve the system to expand employment subsidy amount from KRW 50 million to as much as KRW 200 million and the rental support for foreign investment zones from the current 50% up to 75%. The SMG plans to expand support that can be covered with the city’s expenses instead of waiting for the central government’s legal and systematic improvement, such as for the 52-hour workweek system and corporate income tax reduction.
The SMG will also embark on supporting domestic and international fintech companies, and fostering related talents to lead digital finance, which has emerged rapidly since the COVID-19 outbreak. Following Seoul Fintech Lab, a facility of the largest scale in Korea opened in Yeouido, the SMG will open the second Seoul Fintech Lab in Mapo-gu next year. From next year, the SMG will foster 3,000 field-oriented talents each year through its facilities including Seoul Fintech Lab and Youth Employment Academy.
The SMG’s goal is to triple the foreign direct investment (FDI) amount to USD 30 billion by 2030 (USD 11.7 billion as of the third quarter of 2021) and increase the number of foreign financial institutions located in Seoul to over 250 by additionally attracting 100.
On Thu, Nov. 11, the SMG announced its master plan “Asia’s Financial City, Seoul” containing the above contents. The master plan consists of 15 key tasks in four areas, which are to establish an ecosystem for the financial industry growth, strengthen digital financial industry competencies, create business environment, and improve the brand as a financial city. The SMG will invest approximately KRW 241.8 billion over the next five years (2022–2026).