Korea Land and Housing Corp. (LH) has been taking charge of designing a new city in Kuwait, some 30 km from the capital Kuwait City, called “South Saad Al Abdullah New City.” It is some 59 sq. km in size, three times bigger than Seongnam City in Gyeonggi Province, Korea.
The new town being built has the best accesses to anywhere in Kuwait, and is to be modeled after a number of cities in Korea, such as Bundang and Pankyo, which is why the new town has been getting the most attention in the Middle East country.
LH, after settling huge debts of around 2.5 trillion won in the first half, is now out to spearhead the spread of the Hallyu around the world.
The company has been leading the exports of its K-Smart City Project internationally, which is the fusion of its urban development knowhow and ICT.
LH has been able to focus on its overseas operations thanks to the settlement of its huge debts, which have been whittled down to 89.9 trillion won as of the end of last December, down around 8.7 percent YoY from 98.5 trillion won as of the end of 2014. The debts amounted to 106.7 trillion won in 2013. Most of the company’s debts are accrued from its financing for the Three Rivers Restoration Project, which was completed in 2013 at an immense cost.
LH also attracted investments of 720 billion won from the private sector for its public housing projects to cut its debts to the current level.
The company’s management has been achieving great results in recent years, with sales last year jumping 12 percent to 23.7 trillion won, up 12 percent YoY and operating profit rising 32 percent YoY coming to 1.471 trillion won.
LH officials said they have yet to finalize the accounting for H1, but they’re sure that the results will turn out fine due mostly to the company going all out to boost sales and cut debts, among other strategies.
LH has been looking for future growth engines now that its operation has turned the corner, focusing mainly on overseas urban development projects to export. The officials at LH think that they can help build a town with 300,000 residents in three to five years, while it would take over 20 to 30 years in many countries overseas.
LH President Park Sang-woo said the K-Smart City Project is a high value-added one, and LH is ready to help private companies expand overseas through the project.
Improving the quality of residential houses is also the sector that cannot be left out of the projects that LH plans to undertake in the months ahead.
The Kakao Talk Service that LH introduced in July last year has attracted 161 people daily on average for consultations on housing repair. LH set up the Housing Function Research Development Center to concentrate its resources on the development of housing construction technologies.
LH also plans to faithfully play its given role as a state-owned firm by investing 730 billion won in its new housing projects to assuage the fear of a global economic slowdown from Brexit that might impact the Korean economy. The company has also been looking to do its share to enliven the local economy this year, being the second year since its relocation to Jinju, South Gyeonsang Province, last year.
The company plans to contribute to the creation of jobs in the Jinju region, build residential houses and other diverse projects to spur the growth of the local economy to the extent that the company will be known as a successful example among the companies that moved to local cities from Seoul.
The governments of South Korea and Kuwait will jointly build a new city - The South Saad Al Abdullah New City -40 km west of the center of Kuwait at an estimated cost of $4 billion, said a report.
The city, which will be spread over an area of 59 sq km, is set to house 25,000 residential units, reported Pulse News.
Kang Ho-in, Minister of South Korea’s Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT), and Yasser Hassan Abul, the Kuwaiti Minister of State for Housing Affairs, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate on the development of the new smart city.
Besides this, Korea Land and Housing Corporation (LH) inked another agreement with the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) of Kuwait in connection with the project.
Under the deal, LH will draw up a comprehensive plan and conduct a feasibility analysis in creating the city and, together with PAHW, set up a special-purpose vehicle (SPV) to jointly invest and build the development. The SPV company will be in charge of designing, construction and operation of the city.