South Korea in brief

  • Ethnic groups: Korean 97.7 %, Japanese 2%, US white 0.1%, Han Chinese  0.1%, other 0.1% (2000)
  • Capital: Seoul(Taegu  Jun 28 Jun -20 Jul 1950; Pusan20 Jul 1950 - 1952)
  • Largest city: Seoul (10.5 million)
  • Other cities:Busan (3.6 million), Daegu (2.5 million), Incheon (2.7 million), Gwangju (1.4 million), Daejeon (1.4 million), Ulsan (1.1 million)
  • Area:98,480 sq. km. (38,023 sq. mi.);
  • Currency: South KoreanWon (KRW)
  • GDP per capita (2009, current U.S. $): $17,074; GDP (purchasing power parity in 2010): $1.459 trillion.
  • Total labor force (2010): 24.62 million.
  • Labor force by occupation (2010): Services--68.4%; industry--24.3%; agriculture--7.3%.
  • Agriculture – products:Natural resources: Coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential.
    Agriculture: Products--rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit, cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs, fish. Arable land--16.58% of land area.
  • Industries:Electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel.
  • Main exports: $363.5 billion: semiconductors, wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles, computers, steel, ships, petrochemicals.Major export markets (2009)--China (23.2%), U.S. (10.1%), Japan (5.8%), Hong Kong (5.3%), Singapore (3.6%).
  • Main Imports: $323.1 billion: crude oil, food, electronics and electronic equipment, machinery, transportation equipment, steel, organic chemicals, plastics, base metals and articles. Major importers to South Korea (2009)--China (16.8%), Japan (15.3%), U.S. (9.0%), Saudi Arabia (6.1%), Australia (4.6%).
  • Language: Christianity, Buddhism, Shamanism, Confucianism, Chondogyo
  • Religion: Christian 29.3% (of which Protestants 18.3%,  Roman Catholic 10.9%), Buddhist 22.8%, Wonbulgyo (Won Buddhist) 0.3%, Confucianist 0.2%, Cheondogyo(Cheondoist) 0.1%, nonreligious 46.5% (2005)
  • Life expectancy: 78.81 years (men 75.56 years; women 82.28 years).

korea_flag.jpgThe Korean flag is called “Taegeukgi” in Korean. Its design symbolizes the principles of the yin and yang in Oriental philosophy. The circle in the center of the Korean flag is divided into two equal parts. The upper red section represents the proactive cosmic forces of the yang. Conversely, the lower blue section represents the responsive cosmic forces of the yin. The two forces together embody the concepts of continual movement, balance and harmony that characterize the sphere of infinity. The circle is surrounded by four trigrams, one in each corner.

Each trigram symbolizes one of the four universal elements:

  • heaven (ico_heaven.gif),
  • earth (ico_earth.gif),
  • fire (ico_fire.gif),
  • and water (ico_water.gif).

About South Korea

mappa_korea.jpgThe Republic of Korea (commonly known as "South Korea") is a republic with powers nominally shared among the presidency, the legislature, and the judiciary, but traditionally dominated by the president. The president is Chief of State and is elected for a single term of 5 years. The 299 members of the unicameral National Assembly are elected to 4-year terms; elections for the assembly were held on April 9, 2008.

South Korea occupies the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula, which extends some 1,100 km from the Asian mainland. This mountainous peninsula is flanked by the Yellow Sea to the West, and Sea of Japan (East Sea) to the east. Its southern tip lies on the Korea Strait and the East China Sea.

South Korea can be divided into four general regions: an eastern region of high mountain ranges and narrow coastal plains; a western region of broad coastal plains, river basins, and rolling hills; a southwestern region of mountains and valleys; and a southeastern region dominated by the broad basin of the Nakdong River.

Over 70% of the land is mountainous with the eastern regions consisting of mainly rugged mountain ranges and deep valleys. Many people enjoy hiking in the foothills and mountains. Most of the larger rivers and forests are located in the west. The coastline is dotted with bays and it has some of the highest tides in the world. The eastern coastline has many sandy beaches, while the western side consists mainly of mud flats and rocky shores.

South Korea's terrain is mostly mountainous, most of which is not arable. Lowlands, located primarily in the west and southeast, make up only 30% of the total land area.

Economic and Political Overview

Over the past several decades, the Republic of Korea has achieved a remarkably high level of economic growth, which has allowed the country to rise from the rubble of the Korean War into the ranks of the Organization for Cooperation and Development (OECD). Today, South Korea is the United States' seventh-largest trading partner and is the 15th-largest economy in the world.

In the early 1960s, the government of Park Chung Hee instituted sweeping economic policy changes emphasizing exports and labor-intensive light industries, leading to rapid debt-financed industrial expansion. The government carried out a currency reform, strengthened financial institutions, and introduced flexible economic planning. In the 1970s Korea began directing fiscal and financial policies toward promoting heavy and chemical industries, consumer electronics, and automobiles. Manufacturing continued to grow rapidly in the 1980s and early 1990s.

In recent years, Korea's economy moved away from the centrally planned, government-directed investment model toward a more market-oriented one. South Korea bounced back from the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis with assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but its recovery was based largely on extensive financial reforms that restored stability to markets. These economic reforms, pushed by President Kim Dae-jung, helped Korea return to growth, with growth rates of 10% in 1999 and 9% in 2000. The slowing global economy and falling exports slowed growth to 3.3% in 2001, prompting consumer stimulus measures that led to 7.0% growth in 2002. Consumer overspending and rising household debt, along with external factors, slowed growth to near 3% again in 2003. Economic performance in 2004 improved to 4.6% due to an increase in exports, and remained at or above 4% in 2005, 2006, and 2007. With the onset of the global financial and economic crisis in the third quarter of 2008, annual GDP growth slowed to 2.3% in 2008 and just 0.2% in 2009.

Daejeon in brief

  • Population : 1.506 million / Foreign Residents 14,249 (as of Feb. '10)
  • Area : 540 ㎢
  • Major Industries : Research and Development, logistics, service and convention business
  • GRDP(2008) : 25 billion USD
  • Industrial Structure (Based on 2007 GRDP)
    1. Primary Industry : 1.07%
    2. Secondary Industry : 12.05%
    3. Tertiary Industry : 86.08%
  • Trade Volume (2008) : 2.58 billion USD in exports and 2.81 billion USD in imports
  • Economically Active Population : 726,000 (49% of the total).

Easy Geographical Accessibility

Daejeon is geographically located in the heart of the nation and functions as the nation's transportation hub. Other major cities are accessible within 2 hours and Seoul is only 50 minutes by high speed train (KTX) from Daejeon. Cheongju Int'l Airport and Dangjin Harbor are within short reach, which also makes it possible to reduce logistics costs.

Excellent Science and Technology Infrastructure and Research Manpower

DaedeokInnopolis (Daedeok Research and Development Special Zone) is composed of 28 state-run research centers as well as 79 private research institutes with as many as 20,000 researchers. They have been developing world-class technologies which have lead the nation' economic growth for the past 30 years. In addition, Daejeon established the WTA (World Technopolis Association) in 1998 with the view of realizing regional development through international cooperation with world science cities. Currently the WTA has grown to have 67 members from 32 countries, and it actively cooperates with many international organizations including UNESCO as its official consultative body.

Supply and Demand for Excellent Human Resources

Daejeon has 18 universities including KAIST, Korea' top-notch science educational institution, ICU (Information and Communications University), UST (Korea University of Science and Technology) and CNU (Chungnam National University), all of which provide on-site education as research-centered universities, operate various academia-industry cooperation programs in partnership with businesses, and nurture, under tailored education, excellent manpower that industries and research institutes need.

Government Complex Daejeon

Colleges as well as the headquarters of the army, navy and air force located in the adjacent area. Moreover, a new "Multi-functional Administrative City" is being constructed nearby and 18 major government offices will be relocate to the city starting in 2012.

City Hall

Currently, 12 national government agencies including Korea Customs Service, Public Procurement Service, Military Manpower Administration, Korea Forest Service, Cultural Heritage Administration, the National Statistical Office, Korean Intellectual Properties Office as well as Small and Medium Business Administration are based in Daejeon. Daejeon serves as an administration and national defense hub with the Daejeon Government Complex and Military and Army Headquarters.

About Daejeon

Daejeon is South Korea's fifth largest metropolis and the provincial capital of Chungnam. Located in the center of the country, Daejeon had a population of over 1.5 million in 2010. It is at the crossroads of Gyeongbu railway, Honam railway, Gyeongbu Expressway, and Honam Expressway. Within the city limits lies Daedeok Science Town, an area with more than 200 research institutions. The city hosted the Taejon Expo '93.

The Daejeon area was historically known as Hanbat , a native Korean term for "large field", during the Joseon Dynasty. Because of its geographical location and proximity to means of transportation, Daejeon grew quickly.In 1932 the capital of Chungnam province was moved from Gongju to Daejeon. During the Korean War the city was the site of an early major battle of the war, the Battle of Taejon.

In the late 1980s, Daejeon was elevated to the status of Directly Governed City (Jikhalsi) and thus became a separate administrative region from Chungcheongnam-do. In 1995, all South Korean Directly Governed Cities were again renamed as Metropolitan Cities, which is reflected in the current official name of Daejeon, Daejeon Metropolitan City.
In 1997 the Daejeon Government Complex was constructed as part of an effort to move some government offices away from the densely populated capital, Seoul. The population of Daejeon increased dramatically as a result.
Today Daejeon's population growth is the second highest in the country (after Seoul), resulting in a large number of new apartment complex projects and high-tech industries in Yuseong-gu.

Daejeon lies near the middle of South Korea. It is 167.3 km from Seoul, 294 km from Busan and 169 km from Gwangju.


The city is surrounded by several mountains, and Gyeryongsan National Park straddles the city border to the west. Three streams which eventually join with Geum River, called Gapcheon, Yudeungcheon, and Daejeoncheon, flow through the city from south to north.

The middle of the city or the new central business district called Dunsan is where the effort has manifested itself. Newer apartment complexes, albeit structurally similar to that of the rest of the city, sprung up around the new government structures being constructed concurrently in just a few short years starting from the mid-1990s. Newer municipal buildings including the city's courts and the province's main parliamentary building soon followed. The result is a several square mile neighbourhood full of restaurants, standard Korean western-type bars and coffee shops.

Being known as the Silicon Valley of Korea, Daejeon is home of various private and public Research Institutes, Centers and Science parks (i.e. R&D centers of Samsung, LG, Korea University of Science and Technology) are located within Daedeok Science Town in Yuseong-gu.

Daejeon features a technology cluster known as DaedeokInnopolis defined by the national Universities KAIST and Chungnam National University and surrounded by government research institutes, government-invested corporate research institutes, corporate research centers and venture companies. The mutual stimulation and cooperation between these communities produces remarkable innovation and commercialization of available technologies.
DaedeokInnopolis derives its power from its ability to effectively innovate, an organic and fluid ecosystem for creativity .

Daejeon at glance

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