Go to contents

[Editorial] Corporate Investment Reignites Hope in Korea

[Editorial] Corporate Investment Reignites Hope in Korea

Posted May. 19, 2008 07:55,   


Yeosu City in the southern tip of Korea got a huge windfall, while being busy with preparations for the 2012 Yeosu Expo. GS Caltex announced the largest single project in the refinery industry, saying it will build its third heavy oil upgrading facility there. The facility is dubbed “the oil field on land,” since it transforms the heavy oil like bunker C into highly lucrative products like gasoline. The plant is expected to produce 113,000 barrels a day, and requires 3 million people for its construction by 2010. Once completed, it will also offer decent jobs. When the money and people gather together, the local economy will naturally boost.

By 2011, the company will invest more than 5 trillion won (or, approximately $5 billion) in total. Other big corporations have been hitting the gas, too. LS Cable, for example, will build a plant in Gangwon Province, which will be dedicated to the production of underwater cables for the first time in Korea. Hyundai Heavy Industries will also invest 1.2 trillion won in Gunsan City to build a ship yard. For the past one month, some 10 companies have announced multibillion dollar projects. Under the previous Roh administration, they just kept their cash in bank accounts. Now, they are willingly challenging uncharted areas, armed with entrepreneurship.

Experts believe that the Lee Myung-bak administration’s business-friendly policies, unconditioned and whole-hearted supports by localities and stable labor practices have produced the results. GS Caltex officially commented that the Lee administration’s policies wiped out uncertainties and helped the company make such a decision. The ball now is in the hands of the government. It should help create desirable chain reactions of more investments as well as increased production, employment and consumption.

For most Koreans, the new projects feel like long-waited rains in the drought caused by the unstable political reality. The 17th National Assembly shows no sign of passing the free trade agreement with the United States during its last session, and other legislative initiatives face the same gloomy future. Despite the political same run of the mill, rising entrepreneurship and increasing investments will fill the hearts of Koreans with a new hope for the better future.

Korea has undergone a barrage of political and social turmoil. Still, it has achieved the world’s 13th largest economy status, significantly motivated by the unyielding spirits of business leaders. No welfare policy is more efficient than corporate investment.