The new city of Sejong to be constructed in Yeongi-gun (county), South Chungcheong Province, will become the center for national educational and scientific development, according to the government's plan announced early January.
The city was named after King Sejong the Great of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) who created Hangeul (Korean alphabet) and led the dynasty's scientific and technological advances during his reign.
The initial plan for the city development was drafted during the previous administration (2003-2008) and aimed at creating a multifunctional administrative city in the Chungcheong area.
But the new plan revealed in January aims to make it an economic hub for science and education in the region: Sejong City will be reshaped into a center of industries, universities and research institutions that are conducive to creating jobs and wealth.
The future-oriented city, to accommodate around 500,000 people, is known to have benchmarked the science research districts of Dresden (Germany), Research Triangle Park (United States) and CERN (Switzerland).
In Sejong City will be built an ion beam facility, a basic science research center, a fusion technology center and an international science graduate school. All these facilities will be linked to a new scientific complex (provisionally named the Sejong International Science Institute), which will come to match the renown of Japan's Riken Institute and Germany's Max Planck Institutes.
Five major conglomerates -- Samsung, Hanwha, Woongjin, Lotte and Austria's SSF -- have pledged to invest in the new city's development in the fields of renewable energy, solar energy, light-emitting diodes (LED) and many other eco-friendly businesses.
On the academic front, Korea University and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have signed on to build campuses in the city.
The government expects the new city project will create about 250,000 new jobs.