Mayor Song Gi-sub of Jincheon County, Chungcheongbuk-do, celebrated his first anniversary in office on April 14. Keen attention was the focus of Mayor Song, who served as the administrator of the National Agency for Administrative City Construction (NAACC), a vice-minister level official of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, was qualified as a figure with the right stuff to induce remarkable development of the region by making the most of his human network with the central government and his career expertise in the areas of urban planning and land utilization.
He cruised to victory with a 53.63 percent share of votes cast in a by-election for the Jincheon mayorship on the ticket of the Minju Party of Korea, which coincided with the general elections on April 13, 2016.
While reflecting on his first year in office, Mayor Song said, “I have been devoting myself to making Jincheon a ‘brand city’ with a population of 150,000 under the catchphrase ‘Saenggeo Jincheon (city’s ancient name) Filled with Happiness,’ since I took the helm of the county.”
Song is said to have a remarkable track record by making tangible achievements in diverse areas of regional development for the past year. Following is a summary of a news conference in which Mayor Song spoke about his achievements and what he plans to do for the development of the county during the remainder of his term.
“I’ve lent an ear to the voices of county residents while ardently looking around fields. I’ve made efforts to promote regional integration by curing a rift, caused by the division of the election and ensure regional integration through communications and trust building,” he said. “I’ve dramatically overhauled organizations and systems under the catchphrase ‘Creative Destruction’ to transform the county’s administrative organization into a future-forward, efficient and powerful one designed to lay the foundation to be elevated to ‘Jincheon City’ with a population of 150,000.
“I’ve introduced a system in which each office chief takes responsibility for management, inaugurated the Future Strategy Office to reinforce its role as a control tower, and expedited collaboration among departments. Regardless of weekends, day and night, I’ve huddled with county officials to do our utmost in implementing such jobs as job creation, the attracting of prominent companies and the securing of budgets from the central government.
These efforts have paid off: We’ve managed to top in several indexes of regional development, including population growth rate, fiscal autonomy rate, and per capita gross regional domestic product (GRDP).”
Jincheon County had a population of 75,863, including foreigners, as of the end of March. The county saw its population surpass the 70,000 barrier in the number of registered residents in January 2016 for the first time. Jincheon tops among all counties of Chungcheongbuk-do in terms of population growth for seven years in a row. In particular, Jincheon, which saw its population rise about 6,000 residents for the past two years, ranks fourth among all counties across the nation.
“The Saeoreum IV, the Jincheon County long-term development, established after I took the helm of the county, calls for elevating the county to a city with a population of 150,000 by 2030,” he said. “The innovative city development project, Gyoseong district/Seongseok district city development project and the smart city project in the Iweolmyeon area would raise its population by 30,000 people, 20,000 people and 30,000 people, respectively. If the innovative city development project is completed by 2020, the county’s population is expected to surge to about 100,000 people.”
The per capita GRDP is closely related to the portion of value-added industries in the region. Jincheon’s percentage of manufacturing businesses stood at about 70 percent to top the counties of the province.
The county saw the number of manufacturing firms rise from 751 at the end of 2010 to the current 1,060. A survey showed that the county’s manufacturing industries’ contribution to growth of the regional economy stood at as much as 86.3 percent.
“I’ve concentrated on attracting advanced industries and prominent companies in a strategic and aggressive fashion,” Song said.
Since the conventional paradigm cannot proactively cope with changes, Jincheon County aims to be a human-oriented, eco-friendly future city. “We pursue identity and values to be a ‘human city’ with a focus on sensitivity, a solar city substituting for fossil fuels, a ‘design city,’ and a ‘green city,’” he said.
On top of the nurturing of the photovoltaic power industry, one of the county’s growth engines, Jinchoen plans to implement the smart city project designed to spearhead the nation’s advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution, advanced multi-industry complex project and international culture/education zone development project.
Mayor Song Gi-sub of Jincheon County poses with his county officials after he won the 2017 Korea Global Leaders award at an awards ceremony at Millennium Hilton Hotel in Seoul on May 12.
Song Designated as one 2017 Korea Global Leaders
Jincheon County Mayor Song made it on the 33-member list of the 2017 Korea Global Leaders awards. An awards ceremony of the 2017 Korea Global Leaders awards took place at Millennium Hilton Hotel on May 12 under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Korea International Trade Association and the Korea Commission for Corporate Partnership.
Chungcheongbuk-do Gov. Lee Si-jong, Mayor Song Gi-sub of Jincheon County, Hanwha Q Cells President Cha Moon-hwan participate in a ceremony to sign an agreement on expanding of Hanwha Q Cells’ photovoltaic power cell plant in the Sansu Industrial Complex in Jincheon last November. (Photos: Jincheon County)
Mayor Song Swears to Make Jincheon County the Busiest Industrial Hub
Mayor Song Gi-sub of the Jincheon County of North Chungcheong Province has been busy administering one of the busiest hubs of traffic and logistics in Korea. Located an hour from Seoul, a number of expressways crisscross the nation including Seoul-Busan, Chungbu, and Dongseo.
The county is located an hour from Cheongju Int’l Airport and only 40 minutes from Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.
Last year, Jincheon County signed an agreement with Hanwha Q-Cells providing for an investment of up to 1.7 trillion won as part of its drive to spur the local economy by wooing top-class businesses to create jobs and help the local economy grow.
Hanwha Q-Cells, Korea's leading photovoltaic solar cells maker, will increase its solar cell module production capacity by 20 percent. Once the expansion project is completed, Hanwha Q-Cells will become the world's largest solar cell module supplier.
The company said that it would increase its solar panel capacity from 5.7 gigawatts to 6.8 gigawatts by the end of the third quarter this year through new investments and efficiency gains in existing production lines.
Currently, the world's No. 1 and 2 suppliers of solar panels are China's Jinko Solar (6.3 GW) and GCL Power (6.0 GW), respectively. Hanwha remains the world's third-largest producer in solar panels. If the Korean company completes the current expansion, it will rise to the No. 1 position.
Of the 1.1-gigawatt capacity Hanwha is in the middle of building, 0.6 gigawatts will be increased through greenfield investment in its Jincheon site, while the remaining 0.5 gigawatts are through efficiency gains in its sites in Malaysia (0.3 GW) and China (0.2 GW). Even though the investment sum in the Jincheon works is not announced, it is estimated at 150 billion won.
Located in Jincheon County, North Chungcheong Province, Sewang Brewery is one of Korea’s oldest continuously functioning breweries. Built in 1930, and run by the same family for three generations, the beautiful wooden brewery, built of pine cut from the forests of Mt. Baekdusan, was so perfectly designed for its task that when repair work was done in 2006, it was discovered that its framework hadn’t rotted at all. The clay jars in the fermentation room are from the 1930s. The brewery was even featured in cartoonist Huh Young-man’s serial in the Dong-A Ilbo, “Sikgaek.” If you’re a fan of makgeolli, you won’t want to miss the Sewang Brewery, which produces some of the finest makgeolli in the Republic of Korea, along with a wide variety of other interesting yakju (medicinal liquors).
Botapsa Temple is a gorgeous Buddhist nunnery hidden away in the mountains outside of town. It’s famous for its three-story wooden pagoda, built by master woodcutter Shin Young-hoon in 1992 based on the design of the long-gone nine-story wooden pagoda of Gyeongju’s Hwangnyongsa Temple. Wooden pagodas are extremely rare in Korea, and as an added bonus, visitors can climb all three stories.
The province is part of the Hoseo region, and is bounded on the west by Chungcheongnam-do province, on the north by Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do provinces, on the south by Jeollabuk-do province, and on the east by Gyeongsangbuk-do. Chungcheongbuk-do is the only land-locked province in South Korea. The province is mostly mountainous, dominated by the Noryeong Mountains to the north and the Sobaek Mountains to the east.