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Seoul government launches 2nd fintech hub in Yeouido

July 05,2019
The Seoul city government opened its second fintech hub in Yeouido, western Seoul, on Thursday, which will host 14 companies from Korea, the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore.

“While the first Seoul Fintech Lab, which was established in April 2018 in Mapo, mainly targets early-stage start-ups, the second fintech lab will focus on fintech start-ups that have already entered the growth stage,” the city government said in its statement on Thursday. “To that end, the Seoul Metropolitan Government selected companies with four or more employees that have met specific criteria, such as having attracted over 100 million Korean won [$85,500] in investment and recorded over 100 million won in annual sales.”

The 14 companies - including M-DAQ from Singapore, DarcMatter from the United States and XQuant from Hong Kong - are located in one floor of WeWork Yeouido, and many of them specialize in AI and blockchain, the city government said. It plans to expand the hub’s size to have more fintech companies join and take up three additional floors of WeWork Yeouido within this year.

Yeouido is the financial hub of Seoul. The city government is paying the 14 companies’ rent at the WeWork space and also providing training and mentoring services for the companies registered at the city government’s two fintech hubs.

The first fintech hub is located at the Seoul Start-up Hub in Mapo District, western Seoul. A total of 14 Korean fintech firms are located there, and they have garnered 3.3 billion won in sales and 5.1 billion won in investment, according to the city government. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has been trying to attract foreign fintech start-ups to Seoul, a plan that the mayor announced during his visit to London in May.

“The Seoul Metropolitan Government is also operating a $1-billion Seoul Innovation Growth Fund and investing in promising start-ups,” Park said at the Bringing Financial Services to Seoul conference at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London St. Paul’s in the City of London on May 3. “In addition, the Korean government decided to put in place a regulatory sandbox to facilitate the activities of start-ups […] Please use Seoul as your foothold into the Asian market.”

“The second fintech lab will become the center of fintech in Asia by providing customized support for each member company, utilizing Yeouido’s advantageous location and the strengths of WeWork’s global platform,” said Cho In-dong, deputy mayor of Seoul for economic development. “We will attract competitive overseas companies to Seoul and operate the second fintech lab as a key anchor of the fintech industry, helping our promising local start-ups advance abroad.”

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]