$1.6b for Robot Theme Parks
SEOUL - SOUTH Korea will spend about US$1.05 billion (S$1.6 billion) to build two robot theme parks as part of a drive to nurture the robotics industry as a new growth engine, officials said on Thursday.
The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said it would build the world's first robot theme park by the end of 2013 in Incheon, a port city west of Seoul.
The government said it has set aside 784.5 billion won (US$559 million) for the Incheon park, to be called 'Robot Land.' Construction would begin later this year, it added.
The second theme park will be built in the southern industrial city of Masan although detailed plans have yet to be drawn up, it said.
The two parks - requiring a total of 1.48 trillion won from local and central governments - will help create 18,000 jobs and boost the competitiveness of the robot industry, the ministry said.
They will have research and development centres, amusement rides, stadiums where robots can compete in various events and exhibition and education facilities.
South Korea considers robotics a key growth industry, particularly 'service robots' that can clean homes and provide entertainment.