Located on the south-east of the Korean Peninsula, Ulsan is the nation’s industrial powerhouse that has the world’s largest automobile assembly plant and shipyard, as well as the 3rd largest oil refinery. 

Ulsan is a metropolitan city situated on the central part of East Asia and the south-eastern tip of the Korean Peninsula. The city’s location makes it accessible to major countries in Northeast Asia such as China, Japan and the eastern part of Russia, which is reachable within 2 hours by plane. As of 2020, the population of Ulsan was 1.16million.

With a long history since the prehistoric era, Ulsan has achieved intensive economic growth rooted in the manufacturing industries due to the city’s official designation as ‘Special Industrial District’ since 1962. For nearly 50 years, Ulsan has led Korea’s economic growth and is famously known as ‘Korea’s Industrial Capital’.

Ulsan was a small fishing town with a population of 210,000 and exports of $260,000 in the early 1960’s. The city has since developed into a world-class industrial city with annual exports of 69.5 billion US dollars and manufacturing output of 173.6 billion US dollars.

The leading city in the hydrogen economy

Ulsan produces more than 50% of Korea’s total hydrogen production and has storage facilities for 140 million barrels of liquid cargo and 120,000㎥ of compressed gas, for optimal production and storage of hydrogen.

In 2013, Ulsan began mass production of hydrogen-powered cars in a world-first and has since established itself as the centre of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles through the next generation of Nexo, a hydrogen fuel cell that can run for a maximum of 609km after a 5-minute charge, as well as through hydrogen buses and taxis which began operations for the first time in Korea.

Korea’s Special Industrial District

As Korea’s industrial capital, Ulsan achieved rapid growth by focusing on three major industries: automobile, shipbuilding and petrochemical. The city has played a leading role as an industrial city in helping Korea become the 6th largest exporter in the world.

Ulsan is home to Korea’s automobile industry, accounting for 20% of Korea’s automobile output. Automobile production of 38.56 trillion KRW (20.3%) in 2018, National Statistical Office.

The world’s largest shipbuilding city where global companies including Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard are located. Shipbuilding production output amounted to 11.96 trillion KRW (34.2%) in 2018 according to National Statistical Office (Amount of shipment to the shipbuilding industry)

Ulsan city is ranked 1st in petrochemical production in Korea, where Korea’s large petroleum companies such as SK Energy equipped with Korea’s largest refinery facility and S-Oil are situated. Production of the petrochemical industry amounted to 108 trillion KRW (29.5%) as of 2017 according to the National Statistical Office.

Ulsan provides a gateway to domestic and overseas markets. 

Ulsan is preparing for the second heyday by constructing industrial complexes for Ulsan Newport and the oil hub of Northeast Asia in order to strengthen its position as one the world’s three liquid bulk terminals.

Discovery of industries that create new added value 

Ulsan is keeping up fast with the world’s industrial trend by fostering the genome and bio-health industry, constructing automobile component R&D infrastructure through the application of 3D printing technology, and by promoting smart plants and the digital content industry.

Advancement of major industries by integrating ICT technology 

Ulsan is becoming an advanced industrial city by discovering high value-added future industries such as the project for developing smart autonomous surface ships and a self-driving car, integrating Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for the advancement of city’s 3 major industries.



Ulsan Metropolitan City
Invest Korea
University of Ulsan 

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