On Monday, South Korea’s Ministry of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Startups announced the ‘Global Innovation Special Zone Creation Plan’ during a meeting of economy-related ministers in Seoul.
The plan aims to encourage high-tech industries and support technological advancements in the country through the building of innovation zones. These zones will be a platform for innovators or businesses to develop, demonstrate, and market new tech products with minimal restrictions.
The innovation special zones will be free from regulations and barriers. This regulation-free environment has raised concerns about the emergence of a negative regulation system.
Negative regulation allows all kinds of demonstrations except for something illicit. In these global innovation zones, there will be liberty for performing product demonstrations, and there will be an absence of standard guidelines related to safety and product quality.
Therefore, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups will create a ‘Safety Verification Committee’ to accelerate the issuance process of temporary licenses. The ministry has come into agreement with UL Solutions, a global product safety certification organization based in the United States. The ministry will further streamline the certification process with UL Solutions.
Companies that aspire to go global in these zones will receive support from the ministry in matching international standards. Furthermore, the ministry will introduce new insurance schemes or products to help businesses cover potential losses incurred in the development of new products.
The ministry plans to help product development as well as promote local company expansion outside Korea. It’s creating an innovation and advancement-friendly environment to support businesses’ growth.
10 Global Innovation Zones by 2027
South Korea will develop 10 special innovation zones in the next five years. These zones will further facilitate job creation and boost the country’s economy. The government also intends to upgrade up to three of its previous innovation zones by the end of this year.
The innovation zones are specifically focused on futuristic technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), biotech, automobiles, and so on. One of the upcoming innovation special zones is dedicated specifically to the biotech sector.
Korea has developed sound ties with the US in technological as well as cultural matters. The Korean government plans to analyze and study the US’s Boston biotech cluster to build its own biotech cluster. The Boston biotech cluster is a global biotech and pharmaceutical hub at present.
Korea’s global innovation zones will follow a cluster format. They will comprise of universities, research institutes, as well as overseas companies. The Korean government aims to support its chip industry. It is aiming to reduce the burden faced by Korean chip makers due to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and CHIPS and Science Act by the US.
The government will extend its support for domestic businesses that hope to win overseas projects.