President Park Geun-hye asked the nation's business leaders and policymakers to promote the commercialization of cultural content integrated with information and communication technology, calling it a major growth engine for the nation.
"I believe that the culture industry is the core engine of our future growth," Park said Wednesday at a ceremony held to launch a joint project aimed at nurturing South Korea's cultural content industry, on Wednesday.
"The cultural content industry is the alchemy of the 21st century as it generates fresh values (by collaborating with) other industries including tourism, medical, education and manufacturing businesses," she said.
With the project, the Park administration aims to build an ecosystem in which individuals and start-up companies can develop their creative cultural content into high value-added products. The government plans to set up an idea-developing centre, a business incubator facility, a theme park and an education institution, to systematically develop and commercialize cultural content and ideas. The supportive system will be fully established by 2017, officials said. A total of 64 government agencies, cultural and entertainment businesses agreed to participate in the project, they added.
South Korea achieved economic prosperity through its hardware manufacturing industry, followed by information technology. The ceremony signifies a shift of focus from past hardware industries to creative industries integrated with cultural content, An Chong-bum, Park's senior secretary for the economy, told reporters later in the day.
The government also plans to provide legal and financial consultation to firms seeking to enter the global market.
An said the plan was part of Park's creative economy vision. Park believes that a creative economy can become a solution for emerging problems such as deepening income inequality, slowing economic growth and rising youth unemployment.
As part of the ceremony, the nation's entertainment giant CJ Group and Gyeonggi Province government agreed to make a 1 trillion won (S$1239 million) investment to build a cultural content hub, tentatively named K-Culture Valley, in Goyang, north of Seoul.
They plan to create an entertainment theme park where visitors can experience both Korean traditional and pop culture as well as studios for companies producing films and dramas. The envisioned park will also include a 1,500-seat theatre to stage popular performances like Nanta, officials said.
The government expects the park to have an economic impact of 25 trillion won over the next 10 years and create 170,000 new jobs.