Seoul draws record US$10.2 bln in FDI in 2020 despite pandemic

SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) — Seoul attracted a record US$10.2 billion in foreign direct investment last year despite the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic, the city government said Wednesday.

Last year was also the second consecutive year FDI in the capital city topped $10 billion, continuing an upward trend since 2017, according to the local government.

Seoul City Hall (Yonhap)

The increase comes at a time when total FDI in the world dropped sharply by 42 percent last year from 2019 to $850 billion amid the pandemic, the lowest level in 15 years, it said, citing the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

FDI in South Korea fell 11 percent over the same period to $20.74 billion, of which Seoul accounted for 49 percent, the city government added.

It attributed last year’s increase in FDI in Seoul mainly to the services sector, citing a 132 percent jump in investment in the finance and insurance industries, a 99 percent rise in investment from the Americas and a 40 percent increase in investment in “new industries,” such as the information and communications sector.

 This year, the city government said it plans to help attract more FDI in startups here by offering them up to 50 million won (US$43,900) each to expand hiring and assisting their participation in overseas trade fairs.

This graph, provided by the Seoul metropolitan government, shows the total amount of foreign direct investment in Seoul from 2017 to 2020, in US$ millions. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)