South Korea

Biotech regions in South Korea

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South Korea has emerged in recent years as one of the prime investment locations in the Asia Pacific region. Its strong economic growth, increasingly favourable business environment, and rapid transformation into a truly knowledge-based information society have contributed to the creation of a wealth of investment opportunities. It comprises an estimated 50 million residents distributed over 99,392 km2 with the capital and largest city, Seoul, with a population of 10 million.


Life Science industry

South Korea has a tremendous amount of growth potential in the life sciences industry with its strong Korean governmental support, highly educated personnel, growing infrastructure and burgeoning innovation from the academic and private sectors.

Its biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry has been rapidly growing from $1.2billion in 2000 to $2.7 billion in 2005 representing an 18% of annual growth rate. The Korean Government formulated Bio-Vision 2016 in November 2006 to acquire competitive source technologies and expand industrial infrastructure over the next 10 years. As the future growth engine industry, the Korean market of biotechnology industry will develop to $6.5 billion in 2010.


Currently, there are hundreds of companies that make up Korea's biotechnology industry, and more than half are located in the capital area of Seoul. The industry, however, is moving toward geographic diversification thanks to government policies that nurture bio-clusters throughout the country. Domestic biotechnology firms focus on the bio-pharma and bio-foods. The medical sector accounts for about 47% of Korea's biotechnology industry. Major products which are being actively developed include hepatitis vaccines, antibiotics, amino acids, particularly lysine, and more recently, post-genomics related products.

In line with global trends, Korea's biotechnology is strengthening its R&D capacity in genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics. There are also new researches being done in bio-products through the incorporation of cutting-edge technologies. The annual average investment has increased at a hefty rate of 23%, which shows the strong will of the Korean government to promote the biotechnology sector. In 2011 it reached 49.8904-trillon won, which accounts for 4.03% of GDP and ranked 2nd in the world.