Korea Establishes Medical Equipment Zone

In June of this year, the Korean government released a plan to develop an industrial zone in Wonju, Korea, specializing in medical equipment. Even though the project does not officially begin until 2005, Wonju has already established a medical equipment development center, medical equipment technology valley and an industrial complex specifically for the testing and use of medical equipment. The Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) is leading the project along with added support from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Government Administration and the Gangwon Provincial government. The medical equipment zone will receive 100 billion won (US $86 million) from the Korean government each year until 2008, when the establishment of the medical zone is expected to be completed.

Presently, about 45 medical equipment companies are located in Wonju. A large number of these companies specialize in rehabilitation and electronic medical equipment. By 2007, the region’s government hopes to have 180 medical equipment companies and manufacturers established in Wonju. By 2006, after one year of establishment, total production of medical equipment is expected to exceed 448 billion won (US$390 million) in this region.

In addition to providing opportunities for technological advancement and innovation, the plan will allow the Wonju region to have closer ties with government-affiliated research centers. These ties will provide for research facility upgrades and the establishment of pre-clinical laboratories. Currently, the Wonju region accounts for about 40% of medical equipment exports in Korea, but in the next few years, the region’s government hopes to contribute closer to 80% towards Korea’s medical equipment export market.