Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Authorities responsible for the construction of the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ), the nation's first free economic zone, unveiled five major missions to better promote the business-specialized region on its fifth anniversary Wednesday.
To upgrade the self-contained commercial zone, it plans to establish a robust package of incentives to attract foreign investments and build research and medical clusters through partnerships with colleges, companies as well as major foreign-based hospitals.
It will also attract various culture and tourism centers as a next-generation strategic business, build state-of-the-art infrastructure in the city by introducing a new public transportation system and secure communication and decision making channels between residents of Incheon and local and central governments, in an attempt to achieve a projected goal of $36.4 billion in investment by 2020.
In spite of the accomplishments so far, some things still leave something to be desired in their operation, IFEZ said.
Not enough public consensus with residents of Incheon have been made regarding development plans, and a lack of infrastructure often gave the business a tough time.
It also expressed its regret over less-than-expected governmental support and deregulations to prop up the economic zone.
"There are still a lot of obstacles to get over, including lukewarm support from the central government and the recent global financial crisis. After five years, it's time for even more commitment and effort," said Lee Heon-seok, CEO of IFEZ.
Since its foundation in 2003, the economic zone, consisting of three areas of Songdo, Yeongjong and Cheongna, has attracted a total of $395 million in investment in 39 projects.
Songdo International City is specialized in high-tech industries and Yeongjong Island in logistics, tourism and leisure businesses. Cheongna is fostered mostly as a place for entertainment and theme parks.
In its major projects of late, construction of a 151-story skyscraper has kicked off within the Songdo area and a 12.5-kilometer new bridge, the nations longest, named Incheon Bridge, is under construction and due October next year.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
diverse array of foods and dishes can be found throughout Korea.Korea was once primarily an agricultural nation, and Koreans have cultivated rice as their staple food since ancient times. These days Korean cuisine is characterized by a wide variety of meat and fish dishes along with wild greens and vegetables. Various fermented and preserved food, such as kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage), jeotgal (seafood fermented in salt) and doenjang (fermented soy bean paste) are notable for their specific flavor and high nutritional value. The prominent feature of a Korean table setting is that all dishes are served at the same time. Traditionally, the number of side dishes varied from 3 for the lower classes to 12 for royal families. Table arrangements can vary depending on whether a noodle dish or meat is served. Formal rules have developed for table setting, demonstrating the attention people pay to food and dining. Compared to neighboring China and Japan, a spoon is used more often in Korea, especially when soups are served.
Kinds of Traditional Korean Food
1. Bap (steamed rice) and Juk (porridge)
Boiled rice is the staple of Korean cuisine. Most people use sticky rice, which sometimes has beans, chestnuts, sorghum, red beans, barley or other cereals added for flavor and nutrition. Juk is thought of as highly nutritious and light. Many varieties of juk exist including: juk made of rice, red beans, pumpkin, abalone, ginseng, pine nuts, vegetables, chicken, mushrooms and bean sprouts.
2. Guk (soup)
A traditional soup served with rice. Varying ingredients include: vegetables, meat, fish, shellfish, seaweed, and beef bones.
3. Jjigae (stew)
Jjigae is similar to guk but is thicker and heartier. The most famous jjigae is made from fermented soy bean paste. Jjigae is usually spicy and served piping hot in a heated stone bowl.
4. Jjim and Jorim (simmered meat or fish)
Jjim and jorim are similar dishes which are prepared with vegetables and soaked in soy bean sauce, then slowly boiled together over low heat.
5. Namul (vegetables or wild greens)
Namul is made from slightly boiled or fried vegetables and wild greens mixed with salt, soy sauce, sesame salt, sesame oil, garlic, onions, and other spices.
6. Jeotgal (seafood fermented in salt)
Jeotgal is a very salty food made from naturally fermented fish, shellfish, shrimp, oysters, fish roe, intestines and other ingredients.
7. Gui (broiled/barbecued dishes)
When cooking gui, marinated meats are barbecued over a charcoal fire. The most popular meats of this type are bulgogi and galbi. There are also many fish dishes which are cooked this way.
8. Jeon (pan-fried dishes)
Jeon is a kind of pancake made from mushrooms, pumpkin, slices of dried fish, oysters, unripened red peppers, meat or other ingredients which are mixed with salt and black pepper, dipped in flour and egg and then fried in oil.
9. Mandu (dumpling)
Mandu consists of dumplings stuffed with beef, mushrooms, stir-fried zucchini, and mungbean sprouts. Pork, chicken, or fish are sometimes used instead of beef.
Monday, October 6, 2008
officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), and often referred to as Korea
Location: Strategically located at the crossroads of Northeast Asia, Korea is neighbored by China to the west, Japan to the east, and the Russian Far East to the north.
Territory: 99,678 sq km (2006)
Capital City: Seoul
Demographics - Population: 47,041,434 (2005)
- Median Age: 37.0 years
- Life Expectancy: male, 75.14 years; female, 81.89 years on average, 78.63 years
Political System: - Democracy with president elected by direct popular vote for a single 5-year term - Division of power among the executive, legislature (unicameral National Assembly) and judiciary
Suffrage: Universal suffrage, minimum voting age of 19
Currency: Korean Won (KRW), won U.S. Dollar to Korean Won Exchange Rate= 929.2 won (average rate during 2007)
Foreign Exchange Reserves: US$239.7 billion (Sep. 2008)
Gross Domestic Product (GDP): KRW 243.4 trillion (Q2, 2008)
GDP Growth Rate: 4.8 percent (Q2, 2008)
Per Capita GNI: US$20,045 (2007Production: Services, 57.2 percent; Mining and manufacturing, 28.2 percent; Construction, 9.1 percent; Agriculture, forestry and fishing, 3.2 percent; Electricity, gas and water supply, 2.3 percent (2006)
Export: US$36,789 million (Aug.2008)
Import: US$40,601 million (Aug.2008Major Products: Semiconductors, automobiles, ships, mobile telecommunications devices, consumer electronics, steel and chemical products
Leading companies: Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, POSCO, LG Electronics, Hyundai Heavy Industries
Science and Technology: Korea vaunts of the highest broadband subscription rate in the world (29.1 per 100 inhabitants), and one of the world's most advanced mobile telecommunications infrastructure.
Military Spending: KRW 26,649 billion (2008)
Saturday, September 27, 2008
GDP expands 0.8% in Q2 (Preliminary)
South Korea’s real GDP increased 0.8 percent in the second quarter of 2008 compared withthe previous quarter. It is the same pace as the advance estimates released on July 25. Froma year earlier, it expanded by 4.8 percent in the April-June period. On the production side, the manufacturing sector grew 2.2 percent from the previousquarter driven by robust performance in IT manufacturing. The construction sector, however,decreased 2.4 percent quarter-on-quarter. On the expenditure side, facility investmentclimbed 0.9 percent, led by increased investments in machinery, while private consumptiondeclined 0.2 percent due to sluggish consumption of durable goods and semi-durablegoods.
FDI outflow jumps 42.8% in the first half of 2008
South Korea’s overseas direct investment (notification basis) during the first half of 2008 roseby 42.8 percent year-on-year to US$14.72 billion, driven by large conglomerates’ rush todevelop resources and new markets. Investments by large companies increased significantly,up 72.9 percent during the first six months of this year, while those by SMEs and individualsgrew 17.4 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively.FDI outflows were concentrated in wholesale & retail sales and mining sectors which increasedoverseas direct investments by 130.1 percent and 106.8 percent, respectively. By country, FDIoutflows to Cambodia and the US were considerably up. Investments in the US rose 102.7percent mainly as Samsung C&T Corporation and the Korea National Oil Corporation have setout to invest in the development of off-shore oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico. In Cambodia, GSEngineering & Construction established a corporation to develop a business area in PhnomPenh, which helped push up overseas investments in the country by 127.8 percent
South Korea to advance listing and delisting rules
Rules governing initial public offerings (IPO) would be revised to boost stock market activityand credibility, said the Financial Services Commission (FSC) on August 19. Late last year,the government simplified listing procedures by eliminating barriers against foreign listingsand tightening delisting rules for loss-making companies.(US$ billion, notification basis)* Figures in parenthesis refer to percentage change from the same period in the previous year.Annual Annual Jan-Jun Jan-JunFDI outflow18.53 27.48 10.31 14.72(102.1) (48.3) (43.6) (42.8)Notified cases10,071 11,619 5,671 5,721(15.3) (15.4) (19.8) (0.9)2006 2007 2008Economic Bulletin 47Companies with a market capitalization of 20 billion won or more would be allowed to list onthe main bourse, KOSPI, even without meeting the minimum equity requirement of 10 billionwon, according to the FSC. The change will provide more companies with opportunities tolist on the market. To qualify for listing on the KOSDAQ market, companies would need atleast a market capitalization of 9 billion won or equity capital of 3 billion won. The regulatorwill also reinforce delisting regulations in order to evict listed companies that habituallyviolate disclosure rules, in an effort to improve transparency of the stock market.The government plans to amend the regulations by the end of September, reflectingopinions collected from public hearings on the new system.
South Korea, China to strengthen partnership
President Lee Myung-bak and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao vowed to significantlydeepen political, economic, cultural and personal exchanges of the two countries, and to setup strategic talks between senior diplomats, during their summit talks held in Seoul onAugust 25. The agreement came as part of efforts to strengthen their partnership on theinternational stage.Lee and Hu focused significantly on boosting bilateral economic and commercialcooperation agreeing to make efforts to realize the goal of increasing the annual volume oftwo-way trade to US$200 billion by 2010, two years earlier than initially planned. The twoPresidents will consider launching a government-level review of a bilateral free tradeagreement on the basis of private-sector joint studies and research, while deepeningbilateral cooperation in the field of energy, communications, and financial services. The twoleaders also agreed to make joint efforts to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclearweapons programs within the framework of the six-party negotiations.Lee and Hu have already met twice after the Korean president took office in February. Duringtheir first summit in Beijing in late May, Lee and Hu agreed to upgrade Seoul-Beijingrelations from a “comprehensive cooperative partnership” to a “strategic cooperativepartnership.” The two leaders met again on August 9 in Beijing, after Lee attended theopening ceremony of the 29th Summer Olympics there.
‘Low-carbon, green-growth’ bill to be introduced
The South Korean government will lay the legal framework for efficient implementation ofpolicies on greenhouse gas reduction and climate change, as it issued a preliminary noticeon the legislation of related basic laws on August 29. The enactment will lay the foundationfor realizing a vision of “low carbon and green growth” that President Lee Myung-bak48 September 2008provided for Korea’s long-term economic development in his congratulatory speech on the60th anniversary of the founding of the nation.The legislation includes the formulation of a comprehensive plan on climate change, theintroduction of a greenhouse gas transaction system and a greenhouse gas statisticssystem, and the obligation of greenhouse gas emitting industries to report on emissions ofsuch gases to the government. The bill is subject to a public hearing, a review by thegovernment deregulation committee, a joint session of the government and the ruling party,and the Ministry of Government Legislation, as well as an approval by the NationalAssembly. It will come into effect three months after it is promulgated
South Korea ranked third in coping with globalization
South Korea was ranked third in overall adaptation to the globalized world among the OECDmember countries according to the annual “Global Benchmark Report 2008” published by theConfederation of Danish Industry. In the report, the confederation evaluated the OECDmember states on 84 measurable indicators in six main categories: growth and development;knowledge and competences; business flexibility; enterprise and entrepreneurship; costs andtaxation; and internationalization and openness.The country was ranked highest in the “Knowledge and Competences” category, based on ahigh share of youth completing secondary school, a large share of students in science andengineering, and a high patent productivity. Korea achieved leading positions in the field of“Growth and Development” and “Costs and taxation” as well.