Hanwha Group and Chungcheong Province in Korea Found the Chungnam Center for Creative Economy
- Center will focus on developing Korea's solar energy hub, world-class SMEs and high value-added agro-fishery products
- New $140 million fund created to finance solar energy business projects, regional startups and overseas expansion
Hanwha Group and South Chungcheong Province inaugurated the Chungnam Center for Creative Economy, located in the central region of Korea in South Chungcheong Province, on May 22nd.
The Korean government is planning to found Creative Economy Centers in 17 regions throughout Korea. The Creative Economy Center is expected to play a pivotal role in invigorating the regional economy by supporting startups, enhancing a program for win-win growth between large companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and supporting an increase in income of rural agricultural and commercial communities.
The Chungnam Center aims to become a key component of the creative economy by creating a solar energy cluster, supporting the overseas expansion of SME startups, and developing premium high value-added agro-fishery products.
The Chungnam Center headquarters located within the Chungnam Techno Park covers a total area of 858㎡, and provides infrastructure to support for starting up new companies in the solar energy industry and creating high value-added agricultural products, by providing assistance ranging from information (library) to design (design lab) and prototype fabrication. Rent-free spaces will also be made available to top startup or venture-backed companies.A separate business center (495㎡) will be opened in the Cheonan-Asan KTX train station in Asan, South Chungcheong Province. The business center will feature a Trade Zone for startups and SMEs expanding into overseas markets and the DreamPlus Zone for nurturing new world-class startups. The new facility will also include a public information center promoting the nation's 17 Centers for Creative Economy that will allow visitors to experience first-hand the past, present and future of the Korean's government's Creative Economy Center initiative.
The Chungnam Center aims to promote the globalization of SMEs by working with local residents to establish a creative economy ecosystem, ultimately making the South Chungcheong region the nation's center for sharing creativity, happiness and the spirit of success.
With the Chungnam Center for Creative Economy, Hanwha Group will play a key role in creating a solar energy hub in the Chungcheong region by utilizing the company's vision and capabilities in the industry and in boosting the income of rural households by discovering hidden gems in the local economy. Hanwha Group also plans to establish a platform for helping startups and SMEs armed with top technology and ideas expand into overseas markets.
Hanwha Group and the Chungnam Center for Creative Economy will provide a total of $140 million to develop startup companies and "hidden champion" SMEs in the solar energy industry and to support their overseas expansion.
Hanwha Group will also actively utilize the capabilities of its subsidiary companies to provide expert consultants and other support.
1. Creating the Chungcheong solar energy industry cluster
The Chungnam Center for Creative Economy will be able to use the solar business of Hanwha Group, the world's largest solar cell manufacturer, as the foundation for creating the Chungcheong regional solar industry cluster by consolidating the solar industry valley of the South Chungcheong region, solar energy production plants in the North Chungcheong region, and the solar R&D capabilities of the Daedeok Technopark in Daejeon.
Keeping in step with trends in energy solution development in times of low oil prices, the project will provide support for creating new startup companies and boosting the growth of SMEs through new solar energy-related consumer products and energy self-sufficiency, and help make the region transcend the borders of Korea to become the global hub for solar energy commercialization.
In order to achieve win-win growth between large companies and SMEs and startup companies, Hanwha Group and the Chungnam Center for Creative Economy will join forces with small and medium startup companies specializing in solar charged secondary battery and other clean-energy technologies to transform Juk-do, located in Hongseong-gun, South Chungcheong, into a 100% energy self-sufficient island.
Clean, zero-emission solar energy will fill the energy needs of the 31 households (70 residents) on the island to make Juk-do a completely energy self-sufficient community. Juk-do, which had produced energy using diesel fuel power generation, will be reborn as a clean island with zero reliance on fossil fuels and freed from the fumes and noise produced by diesel power generation, and the introduction of clean energy to the island will lead to the creation of an eco-friendly brand and energy savings ($92,000 per year) that will allow the island to create tourism product that can revitalize the regional economy.
In addition to its project in Juk-do, the Chungnam Center will expand the energy self-sufficiency program to seven nearby islands including Sapsi-do, and then to inland regions.
As part of efforts to create a true solar energy cluster by forming a sustained win-win partnership between startup companies and Hanwha, the area of 16,529㎡, Seosan Solar Energy-Specialized Venture Complex will be established in Seosan, South Chungcheong Province, by the end of this year. The complex will provide a home for startups and SMEs in the solar industry as well as a "pilot village" for testing products and technologies, and allow them to engage in cooperative projects through technology exchanges and patent sharing with R&D centers in the Daedeok Complex as well as Hanwha Q CELLS' global R&D network.
The headquarters of the center include space for solar- energy related application products that provides a full range of support for the entire business process, from discovering new ideas and setting up a company to sales and marketing. A "solar energy library" will become the central hub for accessing information on solar energy products and unearthing new items for eventual commercialization. The Center also provides design equipment (CAD, 3D printers, etc) to take brilliant ideas put out by students in local universities and turn them into solar energy products.
Prototype fabrication based on these ideas will also be possible at the Center. A Solar Fab-Lab (with five types of solar cell cutters and performance measuring equipment) will enable users to construct and test new products.
2. A way to the overseas market for startups and SMEs
The Chungnam Center for Creative Economy opened a new business center at the Cheonan-Asan KTX station in a joint effort with Hanwha Group, the provincial government, KOTRA and the Korea International Trade Association in order to provide opportunities to Korean startups and SMEs to expand into overseas markets and to find new startups armed with ideas that can be commercialized for the global market.
Strategically located in the center of the country in South Chungcheong province, the business center will serve as a hub for commercializing the ideas created by startups and help Korean SMEs export to global markets.
The business center located in the Cheonan-Asan KTX station will feature the Global Expansion Program (GEP) designed to discover and support startups that are able to expand their business into the global market. The GEP, developed independently by Hanwha S&C, a subsidiary company of Hanwha Group, is a support program for overseas commercialization (in the Asian region).
At the business center, experts from Hanwha Group and other organizations will staff the program which consists of a 12-week overseas commercialization project. Selected companies will receive support for expansion into Asian market and commercialization from the infrastructure of Hanwha Group's DreamPlus.
DreamPlus is an overseas commercialization support service for startups carried out by Hanwha Group since 2013, and it operates local centers in Korea (Seoul), Japan (Tokyo), China (Shanghai), and Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh) to provide practical assistance and investment in overseas commercialization of startups. Up to five companies will be selected three times per year to go through the overseas commercialization program and receive funding support for taking their products and technologies into foreign markets.
3. Creating premium agro-fishery product brands to boost competitiveness in the so-called ‘sixth industry’ dimension
Another key project of the Chungnam Center for Creative Economy is "the development of premium agro-fishery brands to create high added value". The project is notable for its innovative application of the paradigm of the creative economy, which heretofore had been focused on the IT, digital and high tech material industries, to the primary industries.
Taking into account the unique industrial characteristics of the South Chungcheong Province with its high reliance on agriculture, forestry, livestock and fishing, the project will develop new markets for these industries by enhancing the quality and design of the region's agro-fishery products, creating a distinct brand image, and developing storytelling.
Instead of merely focusing on farming and harvesting agricultural products, the project aims to converge these primary industries with higher value-added processing (secondary) and distribution and service (tertiary) industries, thereby helping boost the income of rural households as well as enhance the quality and brand profile of the region's agro-fishery products.
Hanwha Group will utilize the advanced marketing, design and storytelling capabilities of Galleria, the Group's premium retailer, to create up-market agro-fishery product brands and enhance the competitiveness of the so-called "sixth industry", as part of Hanwha Group's strong commitment to developing highly livable and dynamic rural regions by raising both the confidence and income levels of local residents.
A brand test-shop called "Areumdeuri by the Chungnam Center for Creative Economy" will be newly opened at Galleria Center City in Cheonan to serve as a storefront for premium agricultural, fishery, and livestock products developed through the Chungnam Center. Brands fully developed through this process will then be distributed via Galleria Department Stores throughout the nation.
Hanwha Group also plans to assist the Center in enhancing the competitive capabilities of these industries and developing new "rural experience tourism products" linked with premium agro-fishery product brands, via the Group's premium resorts including the Daecheon Hanwha Resort and Taean Golden Bay Resort.
Founded in 1952, Hanwha has grown quickly by anticipating and responding to changing business environments with a balanced business portfolio that includes energy & materials, aerospace, finance and retail & services. Our expertise and synergy in key areas have catapulted us into the seventh-largest business in South Korea and a Fortune Global 500 company. Hanwha continues to grow rapidly as we strive to pursue global leadership in all of our businesses. We are building a robust foundation for sustainable development and a brighter future for everyone.
For more information, visit: www.hanwha.com
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