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KFEZ History

Sixty years ago, South Korea was an economic wasteland. Today, it is not only the world’s 15th
largest economy, but also a vibrant democracy and an emerging cultural force.

TIME U.S ㅣ December 2012

  • Tideland of Songdo in the past
  • Seamangeum-Gunsan in the past
  • Gwangyang Bay area in the past

KFEZs in the past

Not long ago, the eight KFEZs were remote tidelands, wastelands and dilapidated manufacturing grounds. The major industries were agriculture, fisheries, mining and stockfarming. Just a few, small manufacturing plants operated in some areas.

  • Garyeok drainage floodgate and tourism zone, Saemangeum-Gunsan
  • Songdo District, Incheon
  • West Busan Distribution Distric, Busan-Jinhae

Growth begins in KFEZs

The KFEZs sites began witnessing sea changes with the enactment of a KFEZ-related law in 2002 which promoted foreign investment, national competitiveness and balanced regional growth. The agriculture and fisheries in old areas were replaced by cutting-edge industrial complexes, global educational institutes, and cultural and leisure facilities, ready for the cities to become truly global.

  • Bukpyeong International business complex District, East Coast
  • Midancity, Yeongjong District, Incheon
  • Poseung District, Yellow sea

KFEZs today and in the future

The KFEZs have continued to change for business during the past 13 years and have become a major investment destination for international business leaders. Influential media, including TIME, CNN in the U.S., and Nikkei in Japan, positively covered the KFEZs. CNN, in particular, praised Incheon, one of the eight KFEZs, as “solution to the future city.” The eight KFEZs have strived to improve business environment and living conditions for foreign-invested firms. As international business hubs, they will act as massive exchanges of global capital and information.