President Moon says Pohang holds future to S. Korea's innovative future
Updated: 2020-01-10 04:24:58 KST
President Moon Jae-in expressed confidence that the city of Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province will succeed in nurturing the rechargeable battery industry, ultimately contributing to South Korea's success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
He was attending a signing ceremony in Pohang on Thursday, for GS Engineering and Construction's three-year plan to invest 86-million U.S. dollars in facilities for collecting and recycling batteries.
"If steel was the 'rice of industry,' batteries are the 'rice of the future.' The demand for batteries for phones, electric cars and energy storage systems is increasing rapidly, and the industry is forecast to grow into one larger than that of memory semiconductors by 2025."
Pohang is among the fourteen districts that have been freed from regulations last year.
A traditional powerhouse for steel and shipbuilding, the city is eyeing a rebound as a leader in batteries an essential pillar of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
This being his first visit to a regulation-free zone, President Moon looks to show his determination to foster new growth engines and promote regional economic development through regulatory innovation.
He even highlighted in his New Year's address earlier in the week, that his administration will push for such measures to revitalize the economy.
The investment by GS Engineering and Construction is the biggest so far in a regulation-free zone, and the first by a major South Korean company.
With that, the completed plant is expected to process batteries for up to a thousand electric cars each year.
The region is also anticipated to create 300 jobs and see annual sales of around 69-million dollars in the rechargeable battery sector from 2022.
Later in the day, the president also visited the country's leading steelmaker POSCO's smart factory that uses artificial intelligence.
There, he called for continued cooperation between large and small companies.
But he also stressed the need to address concerns that smart factories could lead to job losses, and highlighted the need to add jobs instead.