Seoul to Make “AI Yangjae Hub” As Global AI Research & Startup Hub for Approx. 80 Companies

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“AI Yangjae Hub,” established by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) in December 2017 to make Yangjae a special cluster for AI companies and talented workforce, is celebrating its third anniversary.

Presently, approximately 80 fledgling AI start-ups are stationed in AI Yangjae Hub, paying low rent and receiving full-scale support from the SMG. The start-ups employed 443 new employees in the course of the last two years (accumulated from 2018-2019) with revenue of KRW 60.7 billion and attracted investment of KRW 36.2 billion. AI Yangjae Hub’s professional educational courses offered by AI College also produced 572 prospects, including AI-path job seekers, students and developers, as of last year.

Having being focused on laying the foundation for the stable operation of AI Yangjae Hub and the early development stage of AI start-ups, the SMG announced that it will now start its full-scale leading of new projects to support the “growth of companies” and “cultivation of convergent workforce.”

First, the SMG will strengthen its education and training for the cultivation of convergent personnel starting with the operation of an education campus near AI Yangjae Hub at the beginning of this month—nine courses will be offered with the aim of cultivating a total of approximately one thousand individuals this year. Moreover, Big Data Campus will be in operation on the first floor starting from the end of this month, and accessibility to the use of big data by companies located in AI Yangjae Hub is expected to be much enhanced. AI Yangjae Hub is open to the public through pre-registration and visitors can browse and analyze any private/public data.

Additional educational courses will be prepared, which will be a step forward from the pre-existing education which focused on software education, to highlight AI’s hardware–software–data connections for fostering a convergent workforce.
Professional education courses of different levels will be operated as well: AI engineer job training; basic education for non-majors; special education for fostering a workforce required at industrial settings.

Second, support will be reinforced so that start-ups can grow into global unicorns.

Companies will also receive management support services, including consulting for tax affairs, accounting and intellectual property rights, for better business capability and will be offered to participate in the investment attraction program. The SMG will also cooperate with the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) to launch the “AI Technology Demand Matching Project,” where various source technologies are provided when the companies’ technologies become commercialized.

Also, a remote mentoring program will be operated by an expert consultation group from Silicon Valley in order for companies that want to enter the global market to be able to settle optimized localization strategies. A networking program will also be operated with experts from global AI leading companies, such as Google, Microsoft and NAVER.

The SMG is also securing additional space in line with other companies’ increased demand to move in. Monthly rent at AI Yangjae Hub is quite affordable—KRW 5,000 per square meters for individual offices and KRW 60,000 per seat for open office space (requires prepayment for 6 months’ use, excluding VAT).

Third, the SMG will expand the scale of support for R&D of AI-based core technologies to prepare for the post-coronavirus era. In the second half of this year, a total of KRW 2.75 billion will be invested, including a revised supplementary budget. Among others, “high-performance computing infrastructure” and “contactless disinfection R&D fund” will be supported.

While the high-performance computing infrastructure is necessary for AI R&D, it is not easily purchasable for individual companies due to its high prices. After being settled, it will be open not only to companies stationed in AI Yangjae Hub, but to 70 other bodies including Seoul-based start-ups, universities and graduate schools, SMEs and venture enterprises, and public institutions.