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Up to 100 years of rent-free land lures 7 S'pore food firms to Korea
SEVEN local food manufacturers have agreed to set up factories in Foodpolis, an initiative of the government-supported Korea National Food Cluster, which has offered 100 years of rent-free land in a bid to woo investors there.
An article by Lianhe Zaobao on Friday said that the seven inked an agreement with the South Korean government following the invitation to set up factories there.
They are: Chee Seng Oil Factory, Chop Hup Chong Food Industries, Chye Choon Foods, Fong Yit Kaya, Hock Lian Huat Foodstuff Industry, Thong Siek Food Industry and Tai Hua Food Industries.
Under the plan, which is still in the primary stage, the seven manufacturers will set up shop in Iksan city in South Korea's west coast.
The total land allocation for the seven manufacturers is about 156,000 square metres, with each factory ranging between 5,000 sq m and 100,000 sq m.
Thong Siek Food Industry, which has a 6,700 sq m factory in Singapore, is said to have been allocated 100,000 sq m in Foodpolis, while Tai Hua Food Industries was reportedly allocated 20,000 sq m.
The report said that construction of the factories is underway.
William Tan, managing director of Hock Lian Huat Foodstuff Industry, said that the Korean government had approached the Singapore Food Manufacturers' Association (SFMA) in April or May this year.
In July, the seven separately went to Korea to sign the memorandum.
Mr Tan said that there were several incentives that drew him to making the investment in Foodpolis, but the key was the rent exemption of between 50 per cent and 100 per cent for 50 years. This can be renewed for another 50 years, up to the maximum of 100 years.
The Foodpolis website said that tenant companies are eligible for 100 per cent corporate tax exemption for three years, as well as investment subsidies of up to US$4 million per company, for investments of at least US$850,000.
Foreign investors can also get employment subsidies of up to US$430 per employee for up to six months, amounting to US$430,000 per company, among other perks.
Thomas Pek, president of SFMA, was quoted as saying that the association would promote Foodpolis to its members.
Foodpolis has a total area of over 3.5 million sq m, of which some 2.3 million sq m form the food industry zone. The remaining area is devoted to ancillary facilities such as housing, education, and commercial zones for employees of tenant companies.
Development of the residential district will run in tandem with the industrial district and is expected to be completed by 2015.
The project aims to attract more than 150 companies and research institutes and position itself as an export platform to the region, with next generation food processing and food packaging technologies.
The Food Cluster is a nationally-funded project launched in 2008 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in an effort to tap into the huge consumer market in the North Asia region, which comprises roughly 1.5 billion people.