Atlanta real estate developers, asset managers and other investors should be particularly quick to see opportunities to participate in the development of an export-oriented logistics zone and technology park in Jeju, South Korea, said Jong-Yoon Lee, deputy director of the Korea Trade Center (Kotra) in Atlanta.
Mr. Lee told GlobalFax that his government approved plans Nov. 19 for the island to become the next Hong Kong or Singapore within nine years.
Despite the current economic recession, the Korean government has approved plans to go forward with making the island, known for its resorts and golf courses, into a visa-free, duty-free island, with Jeju Free International City (JFIC) as a center for finance, high-tech and logistics.
An area adjacent to the airport is scheduled to become an export-oriented logistics, distribution and processing zone. There are opportunities to participate in the creation of a Science and Technology Park with incubator units, a technology zone and an international language and hotel management school.
The redevelopment of the island’s Cheju International Airport and Seogwipo Port are projects that would interest Atlanta companies with expertise in transportation, construction and high-tech, Mr. Lee said.
“Foreign direct investment is the key to making Jeju an international business center,” Mr. Lee said. “And Georgia companies would have substantial tax incentives to invest in the island’s development,” he added.
Foreign companies that invest $10 million in an enterprise on the island will be exempt from all taxes for three years and pay only half the normal tax rate for two additional years.
Foreign investments of $30 million into the tourist, hotel or international convention facility business or $50 million into the leisure industry on Jeju Island may be designated Foreign Investment Zones (FIZ) eligible for tax relief and incentives. Current incentives include full exemption from national and local taxes for the first seven years and a 50% reduction for three additional years.
New laws passed in Korea since 1998 have promoted foreign investment, including lifting restrictions on foreign exchange and foreign ownership of land. The government gives preferential support to infrastructure projects such as roads, water, electricity, communications and sewage facilities.
Mr. Lee said that all government documents in Jeju will be written in English as well as Korean, and English will be taught in Jeju schools.
Kotra co-hosted a seminar last May in Atlanta during which Korean regional governors promoted Jeju’s investment opportunities to Atlanta’s business community. Some 50 Atlanta companies were represented.
Contact Kotra at (770) 508-0808. Visit www.cheju.go.kr for information about investment opportunities in Jeju.