Jung Sung-hwa [Photo provided to fao.xm.gov.cn]
Xiamen, where Jung Sung-hwa, director of the Xiamen office of Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), now works and lives, is a port city in East China's Fujian province. Jung has gained a deep understanding of marine culture there and the city has also become the source of his musical inspiration.
Today, let's get closer to Jung Sung-hwa and learn about his story with Xiamen.
First visited Xiamen for CIFIT
I worked in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong province, from 2010 to 2015 and always wanted to visit Xiamen at that time. In 2011, I came to the city to attend the China International Fair for Investment & Trade – or CIFIT – and that was the first time I visited Xiamen.
Our agency has representative offices in 21 countries around the world. Although I didn't have a detailed tour of Xiamen when I first came here, I thought it was very beautiful. When I applied for the next overseas assignment after my tenure in Guangdong, I chose China from several countries and Xiamen was my first choice. Fortunately, in 2018, I was sent to work in Xiamen.
Xiamen's maritime culture is fascinating
Xiamen is a real international tourist city. I have been living here for three years and have fully experienced the unique charms of Xiamen.
Many Xiamen people have family or friends abroad, which make them tolerant and friendly and give them a broad international perspective.
Through an in-depth understanding of Xiamen, I have changed my impression of China. Before I came to China, I thought it was just a landlocked country. But after I came to Xiamen, I found that China's maritime culture was fascinating. Through the history of the Maritime Silk Road, I have learned more about the splendid and diverse maritime civilization of Xiamen.
In my opinion, to truly know China, one must have a thorough understanding of its land and sea cultures. Living and working in Xiamen, facing the sea every day and exploring the rich culture and history of Xiamen, are the happiest moments for me.
Integrated development makes city special
Since I lived in Xiamen, the city has built many links – undersea tunnels, subways and bridges – connecting Xiamen Island with the city's off-island areas and there will be more in the future.
Although I have lived in Xiamen for a short time, I have seen great changes in the off-island areas, such as Haicang and Jimei districts. The environment is becoming more and more comfortable and the transportation is becoming more and more convenient.
At present, most South Korean companies in Xiamen are based on the island, with their factories located outside the island. However, the changes in Haicang and Jimei have given them more choices and provided higher-quality living conditions.
Xiamen is a civilized city. For example, when you walk over zebra crossings, automobiles automatically give way to pedestrians. This kind of thing has become symbolic of Xiamen as a people-oriented city.
Source of inspiration for startups, artists
Many manufacturers in South Korea have invested in Xiamen, with the upstream and downstream industrial supply chain for the manufacturing industry in the city more complete than that in any other country or region.
Xiamen has developed maritime logistics. Xiamen Port is between Guangzhou Port and Shanghai Port, plus it is also close to South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia. It has a unique geographical advantage and has a comprehensive land and sea transportation system. The China-Europe (Xiamen) freight train route has become a new national logistics channel across the straits and spans the Eurasian continent.
Xiamen is a hot spot for overseas investors because most local entrepreneurs have an international business philosophy, while it has an excellent living environment and preferential government policies. Whether it's high-tech industry or traditional industry, Xiamen is the first choice for most overseas investors.
There are many famous musicians in Xiamen as well and I think the ocean in Xiamen is the source of their creative inspiration. As distinct from other ocean cities, Xiamen is a deepwater port. The port is close to residential areas and people often see container ships running out to sea.
Different kinds of seascapes keep inspiring the artists. I personally get a lot of inspiration when walking in Seashore Park and looking over at Gulangyu Island. I got the inspiration for one of my songs from the ocean view.
Xiamen FAO provides great help during epidemic
What touched me most was the sincere concern of the Foreign Affairs Office of Xiamen Municipal People's Government for South Korean businessmen during the COVID-19 epidemic.
In the early stage, we were panicking. Then leaders from the foreign affairs office came to visit us. They offered us masks and passed on epidemic prevention experience, which calmed us down and reassured us. In addition, the foreign affairs office also donated masks to sister cities and friendly exchange cities in South Korea.
At that time, we often needed to report on the epidemic situation in Xiamen to our headquarters in South Korea. The staff of the foreign affairs office provided us with the information and answered our questions, no matter if it was during weekends or in the early hours of the morning.
The development of the Xiamen Special Economic Zone is the result of the opening-up strategy advocated by then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. As a trade and investment promotions agency, we hope that more South Korean enterprises based in Xiamen will make more contributions to the development of the city.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the construction of the Xiamen Special Economic Zone. I hope that Xiamen can give full play to its geographical advantages and further expand trade and commerce with South Korea on the basis of the development of semiconductor equipment industry, maritime sector and other industries.