Korea receives $800 mil. in investments from Vestas, Merck and Novartis at Davos

The logo of the World Economic Forum
The logo of the World Economic Forum

By Lee Kyung-min

Korea has attracted a $300 million (371 billion won) investment from Vestas, a Danish wind turbine manufacturer, the industry ministry said Wednesday. The government also seeks to bring in a combined $500 million in investments from Merck Life Science and Novartis, two major Europe-based global health and biopharmaceutical players.

The sizable foreign direct investments will spur the government’s drive to attract a greater number of overseas investors to Korea, often shunned due to unfavorable business conditions. Chief concerns are militant labor unions, a lack of predictability and inconsistency in policies hampering effective business planning.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said a delegation of the ministry and officials of the Danish energy firm held an event to celebrate the investment at a hotel in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday (local time). The meeting was held at the World Economic Forum, otherwise known as the Davos Forum, which is being held in Switzerland from Monday through Friday (local time).

Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Lee Chang-yang and Vestas CEO Henrik Andersen were among the attendees.

The investment will enable the Danish firm, which has supplied over 160 gigawatts (GW) of wind turbines worldwide, to build a manufacturing plant housing large wind turbines and related parts production facilities.

This in turn will contribute greatly to the local economy in the form of a higher number of quality jobs and high-value creation. The products manufactured will be exported to various locations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Also expected is the elevation of Korea’s profile on the global stage, as lifted by the manufacturing plant functioning as a key innovation hub for renewable industry players in the Asia-Pacific region.

The next day, Lee held one-on-one meetings with Merck Life Science CEO Matthias Heinzel and Novartis President Marie-France Tschudin.

The Merck CEO expressed interest in considering Korea as a place to build a manufacturing plant for the production of raw materials and relevant products.

Lee in response said the Korean government is spearheading a series of deregulations to enhance the business environment, especially for foreign investors looking to make hefty investments in high-tech industries.

The Novartis head called for greater policy assistance to advance investments in the biotech and life science industries and to simplify patient access to innovative drugs.

Lee in response stressed that a package of government measures is being outlined and put in place to foster the health and bioscience industries, adding that the fortified cooperation with Novartis will help the government’s initiative to nurture the high-tech, research-intensive industries as growth drivers.