Seoul, the vibrant capital of the Republic of Korea, stands as one of Asia’s most dynamic cities, strategically located at the heart of Northeast Asia. With more than 30% of global trade flowing through this region, Seoul has become a business-friendly metropolis that optimizes its ideal position for international investors. Boasting competent human resources, cutting-edge technology, infrastructure, and a rich cultural tapestry, Seoul is a city where diverse communities coexist peacefully and harmoniously. Within this thriving environment, Invest Seoul emerges as a pivotal player dedicated to making Seoul an attractive destination for global investment.
Invest Seoul: Facilitating Foreign Investment in Seoul
Invest Seoul is a Foreign Investment Promotion Agency established by the Seoul Metropolitan Government to create a foreign investment-friendly environment in Seoul. Launched officially in February 2022, Invest Seoul aims to attract prominent global companies and foreign investment into the city. The agency serves as a bridge for foreign companies looking to invest in Korea, offering a range of services to facilitate a smooth entry into the Korean market.
Incentives for Foreign Investors
Invest Seoul understands the significance of incentivizing foreign investment and offers support to foreign investment firms and businesses for acquiring the variety of benefits and incentives set up by the Korean government. These incentives include:
- Cash Grants: Foreign direct investment that significantly impacts the Korean economy may receive cash grants from the state or local government to support business operations.
- Employment Subsidy and Education/Training Subsidy: Local governments may grant subsidies based on employment scale and impact on local economic development.
- Designation of Foreign Investment Zones: Seoul designates foreign investment zones to stimulate foreign investment, each with specific requirements, eligible business categories, and varying incentives.
- Tax Exemption: Foreign investments meeting certain requirements can be exempted from acquisition tax and property tax on real estate.
- Assistance for Occupying a Place of Business: The Seoul Metropolitan Government operates facilities to lease places of business to foreign direct invested companies, providing support with security deposits and rent.
How Invest Seoul Supports Investors
Invest Seoul acts as a comprehensive support system for foreign investors at every stage of their business journey. The agency’s key functions includes:
1. Marketing for Investment Attraction:
- Exhibition Briefings:Invest Seoul conducts comprehensive briefing sessions at leading exhibitions and expositions worldwide, showcasing Seoul’s investment environment.
- Corporate Presentations:Engaging corporate presentations are organized to introduce innovative Seoul-based enterprises to potential foreign investors.
- Support for Investment Attraction:Focused efforts on exploring and identifying promising companies, especially in industries aligned with Seoul’s strategic targets (Seoul’s Deal).
- Promotional Materials:Invest Seoul actively supports the creation of promotional materials to attract investment, ensuring a compelling narrative for each company.
- Enhancing Capability:Customized support to enhance a company’s capability to attract investment, addressing specific needs and challenges.
- Global Investment Network Cooperation:Invest Seoul collaborates with private and public sector organizations globally to explore potential investors, providing a platform for joint support to outstanding companies aiming to attract investment.
- One-stop Service for Foreign Investors:A personalized service offering seamless support from airport pick-up and drop-off to business activities, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience in Seoul.
- Operation of Investment Portal (www.investseoul.org):The agency operates a dedicated portal providing crucial information on Seoul’s investment environment, procedures, and systems. It acts as a central hub for foreign investors, offering insights into promising companies and facilitating investment.
- Publication of Investment Materials:Invest Seoul produces guidebooks and startup information materials, offering valuable resources for investors to understand the landscape and opportunities in Seoul.
2. Assistance Tailored to Each Investment Phase:
- Review of Investment Validity:A committee of industrial experts assesses the validity of investments, ensuring strategic alignment and viability.
- Procedures, Institutions, and Incentives:Providing detailed information on investment procedures, institutions involved, and available incentives for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
- Exploring Investment Partners:Offering assistance in exploring investment partners and facilitating one-on-one consultations with experts in relevant sectors.
- Consultation with Sector Experts:Guidance on legal aspects, tax/accounting matters, intellectual property rights (IPR), HR/labor considerations, customs clearance/tariffs, and administration and finance.
- Support for Various Needs:Comprehensive support for various needs encountered during an investor’s stay in Seoul, including tours of the investment environment, industrial clusters, and optional experiences of Korean culture.
- Authorization and Permission:Assistance in obtaining necessary authorizations and permissions for smooth business operations.
- Relocation Support:Invest Seoul provides essential support for the relocation process, ensuring a seamless transition for investors and their families.
3. Follow-up Assistance with Foreign Direct Invested Companies:
- Identification of Corporate Challenges:Invest Seoul conducts ongoing assessments to identify difficulties in corporate management, providing on-site consultation and advice from sector-specific experts.
- Real-time Information Sharing:Regular updates on foreign investment information are provided through online and offline conferences, forums, and seminars, keeping companies informed and connected.
- ISC Networking Day:Invest Seoul hosts Networking Days, inviting foreign direct invested companies and investment-related organizations for collaborative discussions and relationship building.
- Recommendations to Government:Advocacy for improvements by making recommendations to the government regarding inconveniences caused by regulations, ensuring a responsive and conducive business environment.
- Connection to KOTRA Foreign Investment Ombudsman:In instances where companies face challenges, Invest Seoul facilitates connections with the KOTRA Foreign Investment Ombudsman, ensuring prompt and effective issue resolution.
Invest Seoul’s Impact: Real Stories
Invest Seoul has already significantly impacted companies like dSPACE and Video Monster. Invest Seoul ensures a smooth transition into the Korean market for companies like dSPACE by providing legal consultations, taxation assistance, and support for foreign exchanges. Meanwhile, Video Monster, with the agency’s support, gained international exposure through participation in events like CES and Collision, showcasing the practical benefits of Invest Seoul’s services for startups.
Invest Seoul stands as a crucial player in transforming Seoul into an attractive global business city. With its range of incentives, personalized assistance, and success stories, the agency is not just a facilitator of foreign investment but a partner committed to the innovation and success of companies venturing into Seoul. As a reliable investment platform, Invest Seoul continues to contribute to the growth of industries, creating quality jobs, and realizing Seoul’s vision as a global hub.
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