Incheon establishes future strategy, including city-wide connection, future/green industries, logistics, and tourism
With the successful launching of the New Hong Kong City project, Incheon City says it is ready to take its next leap forward as a city known for its cutting-edge innovation, liberal and international environment, and fast-paced growth.
The New Hong Kong City project, one of the key pledges of the 8th democratically elected administration of Incheon, is a comprehensive strategy to develop Incheon into a global hub city that stands shoulder to shoulder with Hong Kong and Singapore using strategies aimed at responding keenly to changes in the international environment and maximizing its potential as well as city infrastructure.
▲ On March 15, Incheon Metropolitan City Government hosted the “New Hong Kong City Project Vision Declaration Ceremony” at the Yeongjong Sky Cultural Center Plaza in Jung-gu. At the event, City officials announced the City’s aspirations to take the next leap forward in its journey of becoming a bona fide international metropolis. Image of attendees at the vision declaration ceremony.
In September of last year, the city set the direction of the project and started preparing a list of specific strategies. In October, it signed a memorandum of understanding with the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM) on mutual cooperation.
In early March this year, Incheon Mayor Yoo Jeong-bok visited Hong Kong to see where the city is going. This, combined with his trips to Singapore and Europe last year, helped the Mayor put the final touches to his New Hong Kong City plan.
Now that it has announced its vision for the project, Incheon is hoping to organize and share the blueprint and strategy for New Hong Kong City that it has envisioned so far, and start pushing forward with the project in earnest.
The three goals of the New Hong Kong City project are focused on turning Incheon into: ① a high-tech innovation city where locals enjoy a much better quality of life thanks to industrial growth and development; ② a liberal international metropolis that aims to adopt global standards and embrace diversity; and ③ a growth hub that competes with other cities around the world and contributes to the development of Korea as a nation. In order to achieve these goals, Incheon has proposed a three-pronged agenda: ① nurturing global strategic industries; ② creating an international urban environment; and ③ establishing a global foundation that can facilitate growth. Incheon also set twelve strategic tasks to help execute its plan.
To promote the first agenda, nurturing global strategic industries, the City plans to create an environment optimized for businesses, and make Incheon a great city for people around the world to invest. More specifically, Incheon will focus on strengthening its future strategic industrial infrastructure and competitiveness in a wide variety of industries, including semiconductor post-processing, bio, mobility, aviation maintenance MRO, and startups. Moreover, by expanding the use of renewable energy such as offshore wind power and hydrogen, Incheon is hoping to build an optimal investment environment and a competitive environment by building a sustainable special zone for the RE100, by establishing a global logistics hub for maritime and air freight, by promoting finance customized to Incheon’s conditions, and by expanding world-class tourism and cultural resources across the City.
In order to fulfill its second agenda, establishing an international urban environment, Incheon plans to build global networks, attract international organizations and international events, build alliances and cooperation systems between local governments, and create a distinct identity using its marine environment. The City also has aspirations to grow its population to 10 million by attracting the Office of Overseas Koreans to its jurisdiction, and will strive to attract new international organizations and international events to add to its existing list of international organizations, which currently stands at 15. Of course, Incheon is willing to work with other municipal governments across Korea to drive the national economy forward, and it wants to come up with growth strategies tailored to the distinct characteristics of Ganghwa, Yeongjong, Ongjin, and other waterfront districts across the City.
▲ The New Hong Kong City project sets out to establish future strategies in various fields such as high-tech future industries, green industry, logistics, tourism, and finance by linking Incheon’s free economic zones in Songdo, Cheongna, and Yeongjong with Ganghwa-gun, Ongjin-gun, and the inner harbor districts. Moreover, the idea is to use the project as a basis for creating a world-class city by giving not only the local economy, but also the Korean economy as a whole some new growth engines going forward.
The third agenda item, establishing a global foundation that can facilitate growth, will push Incheon to seek innovation in urban structures, residential conditions, laws, and systems. Aside from building new landmarks, Incheon will transform its structure by establishing a “global circle” transportation network, including the early adoption of mobility options, by building an “ultra-smart” city powered by artificial intelligence (AI), and by raising the residential environment to be on par with global standards with competent language and education features. Not only that, the City plans to promote legal and institutional innovations, which could include expanding its free economic zones and reorganizing its administrative system. In particular, Incheon appears eager to push forward with enacting the “Special Act on the Creation of Incheon Free City (tentatively named).” This Act contains clauses on attracting investment, providing administrative support, and deregulating unnecessary obstacles against the City.
Ultimately, the New Hong Kong City project sets out to establish future strategies in various fields such as high-tech future industries, green industry, logistics, tourism, and finance by linking Incheon’s free economic zones in Songdo, Cheongna, and Yeongjong with Ganghwa-gun, Ongjin-gun, and the inner harbor districts. Moreover, the idea is to use the project as a basis for creating a world-class city by giving not only the local economy, but also the Korean economy as a whole some new growth engines going forward.
For the successful implementation of the New Hong Kong City project, the City is adopting a “two-track” strategy, dividing the project into key initiatives that can deliver early results within three to four years, and other development tasks to be promoted in the mid- to long-term. Incheon plans to derive tangible results from its master plan, which includes the current status of the New Hong Kong City project, condition analysis, analysis, basic design, plans for each sector and region, and investment attraction plan within the year. In addition, the City will keep an advisory group and public-private consultative group throughout the year to seek expert advice and innovative ideas from the private sector, and actively collect feedback from its citizens and the field.
On March 15, Incheon hosted the “New Hong Kong City Project Vision Proclamation Ceremony” at the Yeongjong Sky Cultural Center Plaza. Here, after the opening ceremony, the City aired a video showing the past, present, and future of Incheon. Thereafter, Mayor Yoo Jeong-bok personally announced the vision behind New Hong Kong City, followed by a declaration event and a round of commemorative photos.