Coex, once considered a venue for exhibitions and conventions, is pushing for a project to build a creative cluster for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions ― the so-called MICE industry ― in Samseong-dong, an affluent business district in southern Seoul.
The reason? To prepare for the future, says Byun Bo-kyung, chief executive of Coex.
“I believe the district, where Coex and other service firms, including hotels, shopping malls and performance halls, are located, makes it the perfect place for an MICE industry cluster,” Byun said in a recent interview with The Korea Herald.
In the era of the knowledge-driven economy, a growing number of cities around the world are capitalizing on building clusters for service and culture-driven creative industries, instead of manufacturing. The MICE business is a creative field that is fast gaining popularity, with many international cities competing to house related projects.
Samseong-dong has been the strongest candidate for an MICE cluster in Seoul, but the problem was that the service firms located in the area surrounding Coex worked separately, without real communication with each other.
Willing to take on the role of coordinator, Byun set up a committee for the MICE cluster project last year and attracted 12 service business firms, including Hyundai Department Store, Coex Mall, Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas, Coex InterContinental Hotel, Seven Luck Casino and SM Entertainment.
The meetings ended with Coex being designated to launch a MICE industry-driven festival mixed with cultural events in May next year. The festival is being called the C-Festival for now, Byun said.
During the festival, Coex will also host the general meeting of the Asian Federation of Exhibition & Convention Associations in an effort to promote Korea’s MICE industry cluster to Asian countries.
“It is important to make the MICE cluster a successful project, as it will help Coex advance into the MICE consulting business to move beyond our current rental business,” Byun said.
Less red tape has also helped Coex accommodate the cluster project, he added.
Seoul City is poised to designate Coex and its neighboring district as a “special zone for tourism” by the end of this year in a move that would allow for more marketing and promotional activities, including outdoor performances.
Riding on these favorable conditions for the MICE industry cluster, Coex is exploring the possibility of joining hands with Seoul City to turn parts of the land that a consortium led by Hyundai Motor Group purchased from Korea Electric Power Corp. last month into another MICE industry-driven complex.
The 80,000 square meters of land is located directly across from Coex.
Byun added that Coex is looking into various options, including direct investments, to get involved in the development of the Hyundai site.
“In the near future, Coex and its neighboring area will become a must-visit place in Seoul, especially for business people,” Byun said.
By Seo Jee-yeon (email@example.com)
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