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  • Seoul’s Bid to Leap Forward as Global Top 5 Financial Hub

  • Press Releases SMG 170
    • Seoul came up with a basic plan dubbed “Asian Financial Hub, Seoul” to invest KRW 241.8 billion for five years in 15 key missions in four areas
    • The city will dramatically increase its incentives, such as employment or rental subsidies, to assist foreign companies with their settlement
    • The goal of Seoul is to attract more than 250 foreign financial institutions and USD 30 billion of FDI by 2030

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, November 16, 2021 – From 2022, Seoul will reignite its ambitious drive to leap forward as a global top 5 financial hub by attracting foreign investment and companies. This plan is one of the key strategies to strengthen Seoul’s competitive edge, as suggested in Mayor Oh’s Seoul Vision 2030.

    The basic plan of “Asian Financial Hub, Seoul” is composed of 15 key missions in four areas, which are: ① designing an ecosystem where the financial industry can grow, ② improving the city’s digital financial competitiveness, ③ creating a business environment, and ④ promoting Seoul’s status as a financial hub.

    First, Seoul will seek various measures to build an ideal ecosystem for the financial industry so that asset management and venture capital companies can grow in Yeouido, Seoul’s financial hub. As the first step for this aim, a new investment agency dedicated to attracting foreign investment will be established by 2024. It will engage in active marketing and sales by building local networks abroad for strategic investment and negotiation with target companies.

    Plus, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) will build more infrastructures to raise the capital’s financial competitiveness. To do so, the SMG will fortify Seoul Digital Finance Hub Support Center that mobilizes the city’s financial support capacities, Seoul Financial Hub that provides offices to foreign companies moving to Yeouido, and think tanks for financial policies and research.

    Second, the city government will expand its supports for companies and nurture more talent, aiming for Asia’s biggest fintech hub by 2030. Currently, cities across the world are heavily investing in the digital financial market, which is expected to become the future growth engine. By using its advantages, such as strong ICT infrastructures and a high penetration rate of digital finance, Seoul will transform into a leading digital financial hub.

    As a token of such plan, Seoul will open the second Seoul Fintech Lab, an advanced version of Seoul Blockchain Center in Mapo district. The lab is anticipated to maximize the effectiveness of Seoul’s supportive measures by focusing on IPO and global investment.

    Furthermore, Seoul will actively follow the digital transition of the financial market. It will nurture over 3,000 people from its talent-incubating facilities and programs, including digital finance MBA, job training schools for the youth, fintech academy, and innovation academy.

    The digital finance MBA, launched by the SMG, KAIST, and the Financial Services Commission, will provide related programs. Exchange programs with overseas graduate schools, such as the National University of Singapore, will be offered, broadening students’ international networks. Seoul will also provide online and offline training and campaign to increase citizens’ digital capacities and protect them from financial fraud. In particular, Seoul plans to run a civic monitoring group to stay vigilant to digital financial crimes advancing in forms and levels.

    Third, in order for global companies to invest and establish local incorporations within the city, the SMG will ensure to provide a business environment that meets the international standard. Ahead of any regulatory and legal changes at the government level, Seoul will revamp subsidiary systems within its capacity to expand incentives for foreign investors. Different incentives will be provided by each company’s scope and scale of investment, employment, and social contribution, strengthening Seoul’s supportive measures for companies.

    Seoul said it will also overhaul the overall regulatory system by continuing discussions with related parties. It mainly aims to provide more deregulations regarding excluding income and corporate tax cut in Yeouido, brought about by 52-hour workweek and designation of overconcentration control zones.

    Centering around Yeouido, the SMG will enhance the settlement conditions of employees at foreign financial institutions. Furthermore, it will introduce more international schools, whose number stands only at 19. The new schools will be built by utilizing public contributions connected to the city planning. Also, housing for workers at foreign financial companies will be provided.

    Fourth, the city government will knuckle down to branding to enhance the credibility and raise the profile of Seoul as the perfect fit for financial hub and investment. As Seoul’s own investment entity is to be launched in 2024, the SMG will develop policy brands that represent Seoul as a financial hub and advertise its infrastructures encompassing Seoul Fintech Lab and Seoul Financial Hub.

    Additionally, the Seoul International Finance Conference will change into a tentatively named “Global Fintech Festival” in 2023. Accordingly, the conference that started as an exclusive international conference for financial experts in 2006 will become a public field where businesses, talent, capital, and ideas gather.

    “The basic plan depicts the future of Seoul as a global top 5 financial hub as suggested by Seoul Vision 2030,” said Hwang Bo-Yeon, Deputy Mayor for Economic Policy. “We will act swiftly according to the great financial transformation, grow the city’s financial industry, and strengthen our competitive edge. For Seoul to become a leading city of the new digital finance and a global financial hub, we will also work hand in hand with the central government and the National Assembly.”