arlier this year, KOTRA, the
South Gyeongsang provincial
government, the Ministry of
Trade, Industry and Energy and
the Korea Aerospace Industries Association
hosted "KORUS Aero Partnering 2016,"
an event where Korean aviation part suppliers discuss their cutting-edge technologies and high-quality aviation parts. The
event was attended by about 50 Korean
companies and garnered the attention of
major aerospace companies from North
America such as Bombardier, Triumph
and Nordam. The impressive turnout to
the forum was no coincidence.
South Korea’s exports of aerospace parts have grown 17 percent on average over the past three years, a growth surpassing the world’s annual average of 4 to 5 percent. Last year, South Korea exported USD 871 million worth of military equipment — up from USD 73 million in 2009. The aerospace industry is also expected to be a new growth engine in Korea, along with semiconductors, steel, shipbuilding and the auto industry. And at the heart of Korea's rapidly developing industry is Sacheon City.
Sacheon City is located in the southern
tip of South Gyeongsang Province.
Although best known for its scenic landscapes and fresh seafood, it is also the up-and-coming center of the aerospace industry.
Sacheon is accessible by Sacheon Airport, the Korean National Railroad and the Namhae Expressway. Sacheon Airport provides daily domestic flights to Gimpo Airport in Seoul, and serves
as the base of
the the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).
The Namhae Expressway connects the
city to Yeongam, Suncheon, Gwangyang,
Jinju, Changwon and Busan. Sacheon also
has bus terminals that serve local and
regional destinations such Jinju, Masan
Furthermore, Sacheon is close to the Changwon Industrial Complex and other free trade zones in Masan, Gunsan, Ulsan and Gimje. The Korean government provides a variety of tax benefits for foreign firms and foreigners, as well as simplified regulations, an optimum living environment and a wide array of administration services geared for foreigners.
Appointed as the official defense industry vendor by the Korean government in
1999, Sacheon-based Korea Aerospace
Industries Ltd. is the country's only aircraft manufacturer. KAI posted KRW
2.90 trillion (USD 2.41 billion) in sales
and KRW 285.7 billion (USD 244.27
million) in operating income last year, up
26 percent and 77 percent on-year,
respectively. Its new orders amounted to
KRW 10 trillion won (USD 8.55 billion),
a whopping 416 percent rise from a year
ago. Furthermore, KAI's exports accounted for 62 percent of its total sales last
year, in stark contrast to its domestic sales
representing 86 percent of the total in
KAI's Sacheon factories, produces four to five planes every month, including mil- itary planes. International buyers have included the
Philippines, Iraq, Thailand
and Indonesia. KAI also exports key parts such as wing ribs and bodies to major
civic airplane manufacturers.
As the headquarter of KAI, Sacheon is
also part of the Gyeongnam Technopark
(GNTP). The GNTP was founded as a
technological belt for the establishment of
technology-intensive corporations and the
technical advancement of local industries
as well as a way to build cooperative relations among industry, academia, research
institutes and the government in the South
The Aerospace Center, one of the key centers to develop the province into the center of the aerospace industry in Northeast Asia, is located in Sacheon City. With state-of-the-art equipment and resources for research and development of aviation parts, the center has provided multilateral support for resident companies, aerospace firms and related institutes, while striving to build an aerospace industry cluster.