SEJONG, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's industry ministry on Wednesday announced its first batch of locations to establish what it calls smart industrial zones, which will utilize high-end information and communication technologies to improve companies' productivity.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said it decided to apply smart factory technologies in the industrial complex of Changwon, 398 kilometers south of Seoul, along with the Banwol-Sihwa complex southwest of the capital city.
The announcement comes in line with the government's plan to open 10 smart industrial complexes throughout the country by 2022.
The government plans to allocate 200 billion won (US$177 million) this year alone for the smart industrial complex project.
The ministry said companies based in such smart industrial complexes will be able to improve their productivity through top-notch technologies.
By bolstering the connectivity of resources and data of such smart industrial complexes, the government said a production line will boast 15 percent better productivity compared with those with just a smart factory solution.
Companies in smart industrial complexes will also engage in the ecosystem of the sharing economy, helping them cut costs further. They can save money by jointly purchasing materials, it added.
Among 44 industrial complexes in South Korea, the ministry said it has chose Changwon and Banwol-Sihwa as they are anticipated to have a larger impact on the country's economy.
The ministry said the industrial complex in Changwon is competitive in terms of its access to universities and research institutes, while the Banwol-Sihwa industrial complex boasts a high density of small and medium-sized companies.
The ministry said smart industrial complexes will serve as the new growth engine for the South Korean economy, which recently has faced hurdles due to the sluggish automobile and shipbuilding industries.
The government said it will make full-fledged efforts to establish smart industrial complexes at the two newly designated areas starting in April and announce more regions in the second half of 2019.