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South Koreans in Weihai
    2007-11-20 06:43:15     CRIENGLISH.com

The name posts of most shops in Weihai are bilingual-written in Chinese and Korean, October 15, 2007. [Photo: CRIENGLISH]

Walking along the streets of Weihai, you will be surprised to find that the name posts of most shops are bilingual written in Chinese and Korean. With its good living and investment environment, Weihai has attracted numerous South Koreans to cross the border for business and traveling. We will meet two South Koreans and share their stories in Weihai.

Weihai is the closest Chinese city to South Korea. It only takes 45 minutes to travel by plane.

There are 3,500 South Korean enterprises in Weihai by the end of 2005. With a total contract investment capital of 9 billion U.S dollars, 70 percent of the city's foreign investments are from South Korean-funded companies.

The number of South Korean tourists traveling to Weihai also reached over 3,000 per week in 2006, with about one-sixth coming to play golf over the weekends. Weihai is becoming the third most popular Chinese city for South Koreans, after Beijing and Shanghai.

Lee Hee-Hyung, head of Korean Society and Enterprise Association in Weihai, is a representative South Korean who has witnessed the development of South Korean enterprises in Weihai.

"South Korean enterprises are mainly focused on clothing, electronics, machinery and the shipbuilding industry. At the beginning, many companies were operating on small and low level, but now these firms have grown bigger and many giant companies started to invest in Weihai, like shipbuilding companies. With the increase of business, more and more South Koreans choose to live in Weihai. Now there are about 30,000 South Koreans living in the city. Weihai is the best place to live in China with clean air and the sea. In addition, expenditures here are cheaper than that in South Korea. We all love this city"

In order to promote exchange and friendship between Chinese and South Korean enterprises, the two parts hold golf competitions four times a year.

"South Korean and Chinese sides each organize the competition twice every year respectively. After the competition, we will have dinner together and communicate our ideas and experience."

As the head of the Association and the board chairman of two companies, Mr. Lee has received 200 friends every year from South Korea visiting China.

"I usually invite my friends to play golf, or go to Liugong Island, Chengshan Cape and Chishan Mountain."

For Lee's friends, wine, pearls and agricultural products are the necessary souvenirs they want to bring home.

Kang Jong-Kyu, managing director and general manager of Weihai Dahua Timber Co. Ltd, is another representative businessman who first invested in Weihai in early 1994. He told us the start of his business in the city.

"After a thorough investigation in 1994, we found Weihai as one of the best Chinese cities, no matter in weather condition or geographic position. As it is the closest city to South Korea, transportation and logistics are very convenient as well, so we choose Weihai to open our first Chinese branch. Weihai's opening policy and government's endeavor also encouraged us at that time. "

After 13 years of development, Mr. Kang's company has expanded from a small company with a capital of 100,000 U.S dollars in the very beginning to one with 900 workers and an export value of 10 million U.S dollars.

"It is not only us who choose Weihai. I know that many South Koreans are doing business here. As far as I know, the number and the capital of South Korean enterprises have increased by more than 10 percent annually."

For Mr. Kang, Weihai has become his second hometown.

"When I first arrived in Weihai, I felt it was a small city. Now it has become like a developed middle-scale city in South Korea."

He has a house here and his son is attending a local primary school.

"My son was born in South Korea and came to Weihai when he was one year old. He has more love for Weihai than for South Korea, I believe, since he spends most time here."

When on holidays, Mr. Kang likes to bath on the beach and ride a bike along the coast road with his family. He says Weihai is a beautiful city with green mountains and clean sea.
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