Bundang Develops into Korea's Silicon Valley

      July 03, 2010 08:30

      Many Korean information and technology companies are rushing into Gyeonggi Province's Bundang, which is being reborn as a Korean version of Silicon Valley. As major IT companies such as Humax Digital, NHN, POSCO ICT and SK C&C have moved their headquarters to Bundang over the past decade, the city has developed into a second digital valley, following Teheran in the Gangnam area of southern Seoul.

      A stream of other IT firms is now moving to Bundang, and Pangyo, a newly developed city near Bundang, is scheduled to house an influx of 290 IT and biotechnology firms, including NCsoft, SK Communications, Nexon and a consortium of computer anti-virus developer Ahn Lab and computer security firms S Cube and Secure Soft.

      ◆ Bundang Valley

      Korean IT giants like Humax, KT, NHN, POSCO ICT and SK C&C are headquartered in Jeongja-dong, a central downtown region of Bundang with a forest of 30-story luxury residential and commercial buildings. The Bundang Valley is different from the Daedeok Industrial Complex in Daejeon and the Digital Industrial Complex in Guro, Seoul. In Bundang, IT companies are grouped according to their business along a main road in the central part of the city, which is linked to subway stations. For example, communications and semiconductor device companies like the Korea Electronics Technology Institute are near Yatap Station while the Seohyun Station area is for software companies like POSCO ICT. A network institute of SK Telecom is headquartered close to Sunae Station.

      Most firms based in Bundang are research and development facilities. This is the biggest difference from the Teheran business district, birthplace of the IT venture boom of the late 1990s, and the Seoul Digital Industrial Complex in Guro, a zone for IT manufacturers.

      ◆ Attractions

      What makes Bundang so attractive? It was initially developed as a planned bedroom community outside Seoul, so it has decent housing conditions. Thanks to a convenient public transport web of subways and buses it takes only about an hour to commute to and from Seoul. Community facilities like hospitals, shopping malls, private crammers, spacious parks and green zones add to the appeal. "People like Bundang because it's close to Seoul and it has good quality, convenient facilities," a Humax official said.

      Lower rents are also a draw. In Bundang, rents are just 80 percent of those in Seoul. The central government and the Seongnam city government have encouraged IT companies to move to Bundang by offering exceptionally good business conditions. These efforts are aimed at nurturing venture companies and achieving balanced development of provincial regions. Also in Pangyo, land was sold for 50 percent of market prices in the early 2000s, enabling companies to purchase sites large enough to build offices, R&D facilities and employee facilities.

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