Foreign direct investment (FDI) in free economic zones across South Korea rose 43 percent last year from the previous year, the strongest gain in three years.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, registered FDI pledges in free economic zones totaled $1.3 billion won, up 42.8 percent. Executed FDIs surged 126 percent on year to $840 million won.
The cumulative FDI has reached $20.5 billion since free economic zones were introduced in 2003.
The feat is meaningful amid unfavorable conditions and reshaping in the global supply chain from U.S.-China faceoff, the ministry said.
Investment surged in resort and R&D sector as well as bio and new materials.
The surge in greenfield and service investments and increased commitments from European and Chinese capital stood out in last year’s FDI data.
Greenfield investment or facility investment hit $1.28 billion, taking up 98 percent of total FDI.
By industry, manufacturing led by pharmaceuticals and metals, added 19.2 percent on year to $520 million. Investment in services sector expanded 64.7 percent to $780 million.
EU accounted for 40.8 percent of the FDIs, followed by Chinese regions (10.6 percent), the Philippines (10.0 percent), and Japan (6.0 percent).
EU investors focused on pharmaceuticals and resort development and Chinese capital in pharmaceuticals, logistics, and metals.
By free economic zone, Incheon attracted the largest $710 million, followed by Busan and Jinhae ($290 million), the East Coastal Region ($100 million), the Kwangyang Bay Area ($80 million), North Chungcheong Province ($20 million), and North Gyeongsang Province ($10 million).
By Jenny Lee
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