In the past three years Changwon City has gotten a fresh start. The city has seen phenomenal growth after merging with two other cities.
The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) increased 8.7 trillion won ($7.9 billion) to reach 30.40 trillion won during the same period. The number of companies in the city rose by 763 to 4,109, while the number of employees increased from 5,974 to 124,148. Changwon also registered $15 billion in trade surplus, ranking third among the entire cities of Korea.
The city managed to induce 400 billion won of investment from Denso Group of Japan, the second largest automobile components maker. It also signed a contract with CoreTech System, moving the firm’s headquarters from Daegu to Changwon early next year. The foreign direct investment (FDI) into Changwon which remained at $1.87 billion in 2009 surged to $4.83 billion in 2011, indicating a steady rise in corporate investment into the city since the merger.
Changwon has been focusing on implementing policies and generating new jobs. Toward that end, the city has earmarked 549.1 billion won for the promotion of welfare, which is equivalent to 30.8 percent of the total budget. This shows an increase of 6.1 percent from 24.7 percent of the budget at the time of merger.
Due to policies designed to assist low-income families, the city has seen the number of people subject to the minimum cost living allowances decrease by 1,964 to reach 20,232 over the past three years.
Changwon has been playing a leading role in resolving unemployment problems by creating 48,646 jobs during the corresponding period. The city has matched up 5,837 jobs through a job fair held on 19th day of each month, while also promoting job creation through business centers for incubating startup companies.
The city has been stepping up efforts to accelerate growth of the previous Masan and Jinhae cities, which have remained less developed with policies to promote balanced development.
The previous Masan area has been making a new leap forward. It embarked on the project for construction of new ocean city despite various difficulties ahead of the merger. It is also mulling construction of the Robot Land. The Water Front Project designed to turn the Masan Bay into an aqua-friendly space saw the completion of various related projects for laminating at night, such as the construction of seaside road and a three-year long renovation for opening of the pier.
Changwon is leaping toward a high-level global industrial city. The city is seeking to elevate the level of the outdated national industrial complex as a high-tech complex by investing 587.4 billion won by the year 2017.
In its bid to secure high-quality human resources in scientific area, Changwon is planning to renovate research and development (R&D) belt, open Changwon Science School and Changwon KAIST.
The former Jinhae area is now emerging as the hub of international sea tourism and leisure. It is equipped with the nation’s largest solar power generation plant, Changwon Solar Tower, since it had already opened the Udo Bridge for visitors.
The world has begun to see Changwo from a different perspective. It demonstrated its potential by being chosen to host the ‘2018 World Shooting Championships,’ one of the world’s five major sports events. The city already successfully hosted the Ecomobility Changwon 2011 and 2012 International Congress of Educating Cities.
The city has been a member of 16 international organizations and has been strengthening ties with local governments around the world. Changwon City Mayor Park Wan-su was listed among the top 100 most influential people.