This Month we get to know better Pohang:

What was your motivation to join ICCA?

The construction of the Pohang International Exhibition Convention Center (also known as POEX) and entry into the meeting industry are crucial efforts to revitalize the local economy and facilitate community recovery following the damage caused by the Pohang earthquake in November 2017. Despite being a small city with a population of 500,000, Pohang boasts immense industrial and environmental appeal. Joining the convention industry aims to showcase this attractive city and establish a global network within the meeting industry sector.

Tell us your story. How Pohang City get started?

Pohang emerged as a key player in South Korea's steel industry, catalyzing the 'miracle of Yeongil Bay' and propelling the industrialization and modernization of South Korea with the establishment of POSCO (then Pohang Iron and Steel Company) atop the lush reed beds in 1968. As the national essential industry company POSCO (formerly Pohang Iron and Steel Co.) was established in Pohang, the city that relied on small-scale agriculture and commerce rapidly grew and gained attention as a global steel city. Pohang, once a small fishing village, has transformed from a world-renowned steel city into a high-tech science city and an eco-friendly green city.

What sets Pohang City apart?

Pohang is a vibrant city where advanced technology and rich cultural heritage coexist. It offers diverse attractions, including scenic spots like Homigot Sunrise(at the eastern extremity of the Korean peninsula), Naeyeonsan Mountain's 12 Falls, and the Yeongildae-Pavilion & Nightscape of POSCO. The city is also known for its unique festivals, such as the Pohang International Fire & Light Festival and Homigot Sunrise Festival. Pohang's blend of natural beauty and industrial innovation provides visitors with memorable experiences. 1. Maritime Scenery: Located on South Korea's east coast, Pohang is famous for its beautiful beaches and marine landscapes along its 204 km coastline. Homigot, situated at the easternmost point of South Korea, is particularly renowned as a

popular spot for sunrise views. 2. Science and Technology: Pohang is home to POSTECH, a world-renowned university that serves as a center for science and technology research and education. The city also hosts over 22 R&D institutions, including the Pohang Accelerator Laboratory (PLS-II, PAL-XFEL), the Asia-Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, the Nano Convergence Technology Institute, and the Apple Developers Academy, making it a high-tech city of science and education. 3. Eco-friendly Green City: Pohang is a leader in forest management, representing one of the foremost cities in modern forest management in South Korea (4,500 ha). The city has received model urban forest certification for the Pohang Rail Park Forest and the Garden of Fire, which transformed abandoned railway land into urban forests (total length of 9.3 km).

What can we expect to see from Pohang City in the future?

The POEX, set to be completed by the end of 2026, will host MICE events related to local industries while providing spaces for citizens to enjoy during regular times. Connected to Duho Park at the back, POEX will offer visitors a pleasant stroll through the park. The rooftop will feature an observatory and a rooftop area, offering expansive views of the sky and sea, as well as the night view of POSCO, creating a relaxing space for visitors. Furthermore, the second phase of POEX's expansion is underway, aiming to establish a convention center that directly connects Duho Park to Yeongildae Beach, allowing MICE participants to fully appreciate Pohang's charm.

What is an industry challenge your organisation is facing currently?

Pohang's steel industry has been the region's critical national industry for decades. However, since the 2010s, the stagnation of global growth in the steel industry has necessitated the diversification of the industrial structure. Pohang has focused on enhancing the steel industry's future competitiveness and

structural advancement. Amid the global demand for carbon neutrality, the city is focusing on nurturing new growth industries such as batteries, bio-health, and hydrogen. In 2019, Pohang was designated as South Korea's first 'Next-Generation Battery Recycling Free Regulatory Zone.' The city is evolving into a hub for the battery industry, with significant investments, including EcoPro's large-scale investment of over 1 trillion KRW in Pohang and investments by POSCO FUTURE M and GS Construction. Pohang is also developing into a bio-health industry hub centered around bio-infrastructure such as POSTECH, Pohang Accelerator Laboratory, and the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute. The city is establishing facilities like the Knowledge Industry Center, the Cell Membrane Protein Research Institute, and the Green Vaccine Demonstration Center. Additionally, to lead the hydrogen economy, which is a vital part of new industries in the carbon-neutral era, Pohang is fostering the hydrogen industry through comprehensive and systematic development, including the creation of a hydrogen fuel cell power cluster and support for the development of localization technologies for core hydrogen fuel cell components. Through such industrial diversification strategies, Pohang is driving regional growth. By fostering the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) industry, the city aims to host numerous exhibitions and conventions to help accumulate knowledge and networks across various industries, thereby invigorating Pohang's industrial sector.