South Korea starts work on $330m national AI complex

A rendering of the AI complex (Courtesy of Gwangju City/Invest Korea)
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Monday for a $330m artificial intelligence complex in the southwestern Korean city of Gwangju, the Yonhap news agency reports.

The National AI Industrial Convergence Complex will be developed over the next three years. When complete in 2024 it will offer office space and a data centre to some 77 start-ups looking to develop commercial AI projects.

Earlier this year, President Moon Jae-in described the 46,200 sq m complex, to be built in the city’s Cheomdan District 3, as a “forward base”, helping Korea “leap beyond the information and communications powerhouse in the post-Covid-19 era into an AI powerhouse”.

Invest Korea noted that the complex would complement the city’s AI training centres, such as the Gwangju AI Academy, which opened last year, the AI Graduate School and AI Convergence College of Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology.

It said the complex would “transform the regional industrial structure centred on the manufacturing industry into a future-oriented industrial structure by linking with Gwangju’s flagship industries such as automobile, energy, and healthcare. Through this, the national AI industrial convergence complex will become an outpost to create the basis for sustainable and stable future growth.”

Gwangju is home to the Hanam Industrial Complex, which makes automobile, and the Cheomdan Industrial Complex, which specialises in energy and healthcare. There is also the Cultural Industry Investment Promotion District and tech companies such as Samsung Electronics and LG Innotek, and automotive company Kia Motors.

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