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Yongin aims to become center of chip industry, green city

City to spend on infrastructure building, welfare, eco projects to bolster its ambition to become Silicon Valley of Korea

Jan. 18, 2023 - 17:46 By Lee Jung-youn
A blueprint of ecological forest near Gyeongan river, located in Cheoin-gu, Yongin. The forest, which will be named Galdam Ecological Forest, will be about the size of 21 soccer fields. (Yongin City)

Yongin City said it will push for new projects this year in infrastructure, transportation, welfare and disaster prevention with the largest New Year's budget in its city’s history.

The city's total budget for this year is 3.2 trillion won ($2.6 billion), up 7.6 percent from 2.9 trillion won last year. With the budget increase, Yongin Mayor Lee Sang-il has come up with ambitious policy plans, promising that all spending will be used for the balanced development of citizens and the city without waste.

The vision of municipal administration in 2023, announced by Yongin City through a briefing on Jan. 5, contains four roadmaps: To expand infrastructure as a world-class semiconductor city; to expand transportation facilities and roads for the convenience of residents; to provide customized welfare services; and to establish disaster prevention systems.

The first roadmap is a policy related to the semiconductor industry. Yongin City plans to complete a "semiconductor belt" by speeding up the completion of semiconductor-related facilities under construction, including a semiconductor cluster industrial complex, the Samsung Future Research Complex, and industrial facilities within the Gyeonggi Yongin Platform City. The roadmap includes a plan for a new highway connecting the facilities.

The city will also provide a quick one-stop licensing service and law to exempt the area from planning restrictions to allow a 40 percent higher floor area ratio, allowing taller buildings to encourage corporations to choose Yongin as their home. The Yongin government will then provide Yongin Venture Start-up Investment Fund to help corporations properly settle down in the city.

The bird-eye-view of Giheung-gu, Yongin, where Gyeonggi Yongin Platform City will be constructed. (Yongin City)

The roadmap includes measures not only to expand semiconductor production and research facilities, but also measures to raise semiconductor professionals. The city will vitalize semiconductor conferences and organize related committees for thorough discussion in related industries. Education services and facilities related to semiconductor and AI technology -- specialized high school and university departments specializing in semiconductor and AI technologies -- will be provided.

The ultimate goal of the city is to establish a semiconductor ecosystem comparable to Silicon Valley.

Yongin City also said it would continue discussions on expanding the railway and road network for balanced development within the city and the convenience of citizens.

Discussions to expand the Gyeonggang Line railway, connecting Pangyo to Yeoju, and to include the light rail line construction plan connecting Dongbaek and Sinbong in the new city plan are ongoing. The city is also pushing to work with neighboring cities -- Seongnam, Suwon and Hwaseong -- to extend Seoul Subway Line No. 3, which will allow Yongin citizens to reach Seoul without transferring.

Yongin also plans to push for measures to improve traffic, which include plans to expand local roads and to establish new highway interchanges for citizens’ easy access to several highways.

The Yongin city government will discuss with the Seoul Metropolitan Government about increasing the number of intercity buses, which citizens frequently use for commuting.

Other than road and railway construction, plans to revitalize the old downtown has been confirmed. Yongin Central Market, a traditional market with more than 60 years of history located in Gimnyangjang-dong, was selected as the final destination for regeneration business by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport last month. The city will receive an investment total of 65.2 billion won over four years. The Yongin government is expecting the region to thrive again and enjoy a second heyday.

Participants pose for picture at the municipal institution for the disabled, after participating in volunteer work. (Yongin City)

The budget for the third roadmap -- welfare -- is set at 1.7 trillion won, up 79.4 billion won from last year, surpassing 1 trillion won for the first time.

Yongin City plans to provide 100,000 won as transportation expenses to multi-child families starting this year and increase the parental subsidy -- given to parents of infants younger than 12 months -- up from 300,000 won to 700,000 won per month.

Welfare centers for the elderly, neighborhood interaction systems to quickly identify and help isolated households, and public funeral services for those without family or friends are also part of the expanded welfare policy this year.

Pension and allowances for the disabled will be raised, along with the construction of a sports center for both the disabled and non-disabled.

The establishment of various disaster prevention systems is the last of Yongin City's four roadmaps this year. For the first time in a local government, a comprehensive slope disaster management system was established to minimize damage in the event of a disaster such as torrential rain.

In addition, the city will work with private experts to inspect the quality of apartment construction and support safety diagnosis for small, old residence buildings to take precautions against possible accidents.

"I will put all my passion into developing Yongin by gathering the wisdom and strength of its citizens," Lee said.

By Lee Jung-youn( and Park Joung-kyu(