(Overseas Mission) Gyeonggi Province Governor Visits United States and Canada; Attracts KRW 1.4 trillion in Foreign Investment, Exceeding Original Goal; Strengthens Cooperation with Four Regions Including California

Createdd 2024-05-19 Hit 11

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Gyeonggi Province Governor Dong Yeon Kim, who embarked on an 13-day, 11-night mission to the United States and Canada on May 6, returned home on May 18 after successfully attracting KRW 1.4 trillion in overseas investment (exceeding his original goal of KRW 1 trillion) and strengthening cooperation with four western North American regions.

During his visit, Governor Kim visited seven major cities in four regions and two countries – Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles in California, Phoenix in Arizona, and Seattle in Washington, as well as Victoria in the Canadian province of British Columbia (hereinafter BC) – to attract investment and strengthen interregional cooperation.

Before returning to Korea, Governor Kim met with reporters in the United States and explained the four key achievements of his mission.

First, in terms of investment attraction, Governor Kim signed two MOUs and confirmed four LOIs with a total of six companies, securing an aggregate sum of KRW 1.428 trillion in foreign investment.

Company A, a global semiconductor materials company, announced its intention to invest USD 1 billion (KRW 1.36 trillion) in Gyeonggi Province, following Shinsegae Simon Co.’s investment of KRW 350 billion and Cosmoengine Co.’s investment of KRW 61 billion. Company A, which had previously invested in Gyeonggi Province, announced its intention to invest an additional KRW 860 billion, including an existing investment of KRW 500 billion.

In order to attract additional investment from Company A, Governor Kim organized two investment promotion video conferences during his visit. As a result of the two videoconferences, which included Governor Kim in the U.S., representatives from the U.S. headquarters, the Asia general manager in Shanghai and the Korean representative, Company A announced its intention to invest USD 1 billion. In addition, Governor Kim received letters of intent worth KRW 100 billion from Company B, an electric vehicle parts company, and KRW 57 billion from Company C, a semiconductor equipment company.

As a result, Gyeonggi Province was able to secure KRW 1.428 trillion in investment during the visit, including KRW 411 billion through two agreements and KRW 1.170 trillion through three expressions of interest. Separately, Company D, a semiconductor-related company, also announced its intention to invest, but did not disclose the specific amount.

Gyeonggi Province explained that these investments are significant not only in terms of Korean companies importing and commercializing overseas technologies, but also in attracting companies to the northern and eastern regions of Gyeonggi Province, which are experiencing difficulties due to overlapping regulations. The development of northern and eastern Gyeonggi, which is being promoted by Gyeonggi Province by the current provincial administration, is also expected to accelerate.

The second achievement was the strengthening of cooperation with four regions in western North America. During this visit, Governor Kim established a cooperative system by meeting with the governors of three states – California, Washington and Arizona – as well as with the premier of BC in Canada.

In California, Governor Kim met with Governor Gavin Newsom and agreed to resume friendly cooperation between the two states after a 12-year hiatus. After signing the related MOU, Governor Kim spoke to reporters about the outcome of the meeting, saying, “Governor Newsom didn’t just talk, he made a commitment. I am happy that he expressed a very strong will to cooperate. The atmosphere was good.”

Washington and Arizona are two states that have opened their doors to exchanges and cooperation. Both were relatively untapped by Gyeonggi Province until the initial visits by Governor Kim. In Arizona, he met with Governor Katie Hobbs and signed a friendship and cooperation agreement, making Arizona the fourth U.S. state to sign such an agreement with Gyeonggi Province after Texas, Michigan and California. In Washington State, Governor Jay Inslee, known as the “Climate Governor,” and “Climate Governor” Dong Yeon Kim met to identify common responses to the climate crisis and agreed to form a working committee to further strengthen cooperation. In BC, Canada, a sister province of Gyeonggi Province, Governor Kim received state-level hospitality, further strengthening exchanges and cooperation between the two regions. In particular, Premier David Eby met with Governor Kim, defying expectations that he would be unable to attend the event due to large-scale wildfires.

The third achievement was the strengthening of business cooperation to attract investment in high-tech fields. One of the highlights of Governor Kim’s mission to North America was the startup group that accompanied him. This was a measure to promote organic exchanges through business meetings that were joined by both the governor and startup entrepreneurs.

These entrepreneurs participated in Governor Kim’s visit to Google, Nvidia, the unicorn company Viz.ai, and Arizona State University, providing opportunities for exchanges and cooperation. After meeting with Nvidia, one of the participants said, “It’s difficult for small and medium-sized companies find opportunities to meet with big tech companies like Google and Nvidia… It was a great opportunity to interact with them.” At Viz.ai, a leading unicorn in the U.S. healthcare sector with a valuation of USD 1.2 billion, Co-Founder and CEO Chris Mansi and the startup representatives spent more than an hour discussing the secrets of success.

Regarding this, Governor Kim said, “I think that Gyeonggi startups and semiconductor-related companies have come together and created an important turning point in business cooperation.

Governor Kim also visited the headquarters of Biocom California, the largest U.S. biotechnology association, and Illumina, a leading U.S. genomic analysis company, to establish a joint foundation to support companies in Gyeonggi Province.

The fourth achievement was the expansion of youth exchanges and the provision of more opportunities for talented Korean professionals to go abroad.

During the visit, Governor Kim visited Washington State University and UC San Diego to encourage them to actively support young people participating in the Gyeonggi Youth Ladder Program. Washington University will host 30 young adults from July 8 to 26, and UC San Diego will host 25 young adults from July 1 to 26.

To expand overseas exchanges among young people, Governor Kim met with BC Premier Eby who noted that the quota for working holiday visas had been increased from 4,000 to 12,000 and suggested that he would like to find a way to link working holidays with various youth development programs such as youth internships in Gyeonggi Province and give priority to those selected for the program.

In his meeting with the Governor of Arizona, Governor Kim explained the difficulty in obtaining professional visas for Korean professionals and sought to use his experience as Deputy Prime Minister to support the passage of the Korean Companion Act, which is currently pending in the U.S. Congress, to increase the quota of Korean professional visas.

“I am very pleased that we have attracted investment far beyond our initial expectations. As a money-making governor, I will continue to strive to attract more than KRW 100 trillion in domestic and foreign investment… I also think it was a great achievement to lay the foundation for cooperation with four regions on climate change, including technology and people-to-people exchanges,” said Governor Kim, commenting on the results of his visit.