Samsung to invest $81.3 million in center for local S. Korean startups

February 12, 2015
The site of the Daegu-Samsung Creative Economy Zone in the southeastern city of Daegu. (Yonhap)

The site of the Daegu-Samsung Creative Economy Zone in the southeastern city of Daegu. (Yonhap)

DAEGU (Yonhap) — Samsung Group, South Korea’s top conglomerate, said Thursday it will invest 90 billion won (US$81.3 million) to build a center at the conglomerate’s birth city that assists local startups.

The group, which holds the world’s top smartphone maker Samsung Electronics Co. under its wing, said it will build the Daegu-Samsung Creative Economy Zone in this city 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul, where the business empire first started out as a merchant selling fruits and dried seafood.

Samsung is the latest conglomerate to participate in the government’s creative economy policy that seeks to form new opportunities and jobs by integrating information technology with other industries.

“The creative economy center will lend support to new startups in the IT, software and textile firms,” Samsung said, adding it will also offer space for artists, allowing them to collaborate with venture companies.

Samsung has been operating a support office in Daegu, providing up to 500 million won each per investment cases, as well as other consulting services. The office will be relocated to the new zone once it is completed by end of 2016.

Currently, 18 firms are receiving support from Samsung in various areas, including a high-tech hearing aid maker, a waterwork technology firm and a financial application developer. One of the projects is led by a group of high school students.

The zone is being built on the founding site of Cheil Industries Inc., the de facto holding firm of Samsung Group. The 90 billion won project also includes restoring the first Samsung building, located in another part of the city, that opened in 1938 and was dismantled in 1997. Thursday marks the birthday of Lee Byung-chull, the founder of Samsung who died in 1987.

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