The government of South Korea is trying to drum up foreign direct investments through free economic zones (FEZ), or areas that offer financial incentives for foreign investments.
One such Korean FEZ that's been actively courting foreign investors is the Yellow Sea Free Economic Zone (YESFEZ). In fact, YESFEZ officials just hosted a conference for potential investors in New York on December 8 and its staff at the New York office had been cold calling U.S. companies prior to that to generate interest.
The YESFEZ consists of five districts just outside of Seoul, the country's capital.
The YESFEZ staff said land in this location is reasonably priced and its proximity to Seoul, combined with the country's highly developed transportation system, should give businesses access to the best Korea can offer, which includes 100 industrial complexes in the vicinity.
Moreover, the area offers easy shipping routes to China, Japan, and the West.
Besides touting the YESFEZ's economic appeal, the Korea government is offering attractive financial incentives.
For the most qualified investors -- the government prefers large investments and those in certain high-tech sectors -- various tariffs and corporate taxes can be eliminated for three years (plus two years at half-rate) and property taxes eliminated for ten years (plus five years at half-rate).
Moreover, the government offers various subsides for the employment, training, and consulting needs of foreign investors.
The Korean government goes even beyond financial incentives.
They are reportedly building Western medical facilities, international schools, foreigner villages, and an eco-friendly golf resort, all to make it comfortable for Westerners to work (stay) there for the long haul.
The government also wants the YESFEZ to be a popular international tourism destination and just a friendly place in general to foreign individuals.
The YESFEZ project has been in works for some years now but progress was interrupted by the global financial crisis.
Currently, not too many foreign firms have signed on yet in some YESFEZ districts. However, at this relatively early stage, it just might be the right time to get in, said a potential investor from the U.S. who attended YESFEZ's New York conference.
Email Hao Li at email@example.com