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Park vows to boost startups by young people from S. Korea, France

According to Yonhap News,

(PARIS=Yonhap News) South Korean President Park Geun-hye pledged Thursday to further facilitate startups by young people from South Korea and France as Seoul seeks to expand trade and investments with the European country.

She said the two countries are set to sign a cooperation deal on creative economy following her summit with French counterpart Francois Hollande on Friday.

Park has been pushing for a creative economy by viewing it as the only viable growth engine for Asia's fourth largest economy.

The president's signature creative economy is meant to, among other things, turn new ideas into real businesses with the help of cutting-edge science and information technology.

France opened the French Tech Hub in Seoul in March to help its own startup companies make inroads into South Korea.

Currently, South Korea and France have been running a program under which both sides select five startups each and help them enter their respective markets.

Park called on South Korea and France to diversify trade, noting Seoul and Paris are set to establish a dialogue channel between their top officials in charge of their economies.

“I hope you will play a leading role in expanding trade and investments by taking advantage of dialogue and information channel,” Park told about 220 South Korean and French business executives at a hotel.

She also asked French business executives to invest in South Korea in such sectors as the Internet of Things, biotechnology and energy.

The two countries can enjoy “a win-win situation in new energy industries, ICT and biotechnology if French scientific and technological prowess is combined with South Korea’s technology for application and production,” Park said.

Park also said Seoul and Paris can stay ahead in the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle market if liquefaction technology of French Air Liquide S.A. and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. join forces.

Hyundai has said its hydrogen fuel cell versions of its popular Tucson iX sport utility vehicle can travel 600 kilometers on a single charge.

A fuel-cell car only emits water vapor as it converts stored hydrogen into electricity, which turns the vehicle's motor. The technological advance could eventually reduce the heavy reliance on internal combustion engines that produce greenhouse gases, largely responsible for global warming.

Separately, Park met with several South Korean and French business executives as about 100 South Korean companies held meetings with some 190 French counterparts to explore business opportunities.

Also Thursday, Park attended the groundbreaking ceremony for a residence hall to be used mostly for South Korean students in the International University Campus in Paris.

"I am very pleased that we broke ground this year on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties,” Park said in the ceremony.

Park, who studied in France, said she hopes that the residence becomes a place where South Korean students and young people around the world can forge partnership.

The move came five years after France offered to provide 2,600 square meters worth US$9.6 million for the South Korean residence at the campus during summit between leaders of South Korea and France.

The South Korean student residence can accommodate up to 260 people -- about 180 South Koreans and the rest from other nationalities.

Park said she expects the construction of the South Korean residence will further strengthen friendship between South Korea and France.

The campus was built after World War I to provide a meeting place for young people around the world, including students, to help promote peace and cooperation.

Some 12,000 students, researchers, artists and athletes are accepted each year in 40 residences, according to the International University Campus in Paris. Currently, only 18 South Korean students stay in the residence halls.

The campus said on its website that 10 new residences will be built by 2020, providing accommodations for a further 1,800 students, or a 31 percent increase in student capacity.

Copyrights Yonhap News. All Rights Reserved.

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Source: Yonhap News (Jun. 02, 2016)
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