Gwangju is the sixth largest city in South Korea with a population of over 1.5 million residents. The city lies to the southwest of South Korea in the Honam region, and covers an area of 501km2. The city is composed of 5 districts: The Buk-gu district, the Dong-gu district, the Gwangsan-gu district, the Nam-gu district, and the Seo-gu district. Gwangju occupies a special place in the modern history of the Republic of Korea as the birthplace of the May 18th Democratic Uprising of 1980.
A key driver of economic development in Gwangju is the establishment of the Energy Valley, an industrial complex designed to be a smart energy hub. Initiatives and technology in active development and implementation in the Energy Valley include, for example, the Smart Grid, the Micro Grid, solar panels, and LED lights.
Gwangju’s economic development is also propelled by its automotive industry, centred around its Vehicle Valley. Notably, the Vehicle Valley in Gwangju is the home of a complex of KIA Motors Factory. The automotive industry in Gwangju focuses primarily around developing a future-oriented industry and technology, such as electric/hydrogen engines.
Within the World Cities programme, Gwanju is mainly cooperating with Tampere (FI).