Encouraged by continuous construction orders from overseas, the government is ready to promote its newest construction idea -- the U-city design. "U" stands for "ubiquitous," and it represents a brand new concept of city design that encompasses information technology and other state-of-art techniques.
The Ministry of Construction and Transportation (MOCT) has recently established a U-city association abroad to promote Korean U-city design, specifically its ability to solve existing transportation and environmental problems and significantly improve education, medical and high-tech services.
Korea's first design of new town abroad in Buinan, Algeria. Korean President signed a deal with Algerian government to build a new town there in May, 2006. The consortium of five Korean builders plans to complete the construction in 2011. The association -- whose founding ceremony took place on Monday (Oct. 15) --is composed of research centers, public corporations and some 20 businesses involved in construction, IT, telecommunications, system integration (SI) and other fields. It is also co-sponsored by the International Contractors Association of Korea and the Korea Home Network Industry Association
Since the U-city design ensures healthy construction, IT and other sectors, the concept, could become an excellent example of diversifying and generating overseas markets by providing added-value goods and services.
The MOCT also announced plans to provide financial assistance for studying validity of the market and dispatch a group composed of both businesspeople and public officials to help develop a network for U-city sales abroad.
Dr. Lee Sang-hoon of the Korea Institute of Construction Technology meanwhile pointed out that the Middle East is a particularly good place for market-driven U-city development. For the U-city concept to take hold, Lee explained, it is important to come up with a profitable model.
Some participants at the association's official launch said that although the potential is clear, it will not be easy to carry out the concept given its convergent nature; requiring the simultaneous efforts of several businesses. Still, they expressed high hopes for win-win results.
Korea's overseas construction meanwhile broke the $20 billion mark last August and the $28 billion mark less than two months later, signaling a "Renaissance” in that sector.