Amid one of the worst recession in history, the power of manufacturing turns out still shining. The city of Ulsan, the home of the world's largest shipyard, oil refinery, and auto assembly plant, took the No. 1 spot in terms of per-capita gross regional domestic products with more than US$50,000. The provinces of South Choongchung and North Jeolla that have lately hosted large industrial plants followed suit with No. 2 and 3 positions.
According to a report "2011 Regional Income Statistics (Preliminary)" published by the Korea Statistical Office on December 24, the aggregate GDP (nominal) of 16 cities and provinces of the nation in 2011 has been 1,243 trillion won, up 6.0 percent from the previous year.
Moon Kwon-soon, senior manager responsible for regional income statistics at the Korea Statistical Office, said, "Ulsan could improve its real value-added growth performance at 12.1 percent in 2011 thanks to a rapid rise in exports. South Choongchung and North Jeolla provinces also showed excellent performances of 6 to 8 percent, mostly from aggressive manufacturing investment."
For South Choongchung Province, investments in the LCD manufacturing plant in Tangjung (Asan), chemical processing plants in Seosan, and the steel-making cluster in Dangjin led the growth. As for North Jeolla Province, the industrial zones in Gunsan and Saemangeum have been the engines of regional growth.
The regional per-capita GDP of Ulsan last year was 62.53 million won, more than double the national average of 24.97 million won. In U.S. dollar terms, this is $56,430, the first time a regional per-capita GDP broke the $50,000 barrier.
Meanwhile, the region with the lowest per-capita income was South Jeolla Province, with 12.26 million won. It was largely due to Typhoon Muifa that swept the southwest in early August in 2011.