So, Yi-hyeon 기자2016.11.07 13:00:49
Nowadays, an increasing number of people prefer natural things to artificial ones. This encourages the development of oriental medicine, which is environmentally friendly and safer to humans. In Daegu, Yangnyeongsi has been a major herbal market since 1668 in the Joseon Dynasty. Furthermore, as oriental medicine products are particularly fascinating to Chinese visitors, related start-ups have also been created. The KNU Daegu Yangnyeongsi Herbal Medicine RIS (Regional Innovation System) helps start-up businesses in this field. The KNU Times interviewed professor Hwang Ui-wook, the head of this agency, to learn more about it.
Some people do not know much about Yangnyeongsi. Can you briefly introduce this place?
Yangnyeongsi is the first Yakjeon (Pharmacopoeia) Alley of commerce for herbal medicines appointed by king Hyo-jeong of the Joseon Dynasty, in 1658. However, these days, facilities such as department stores, cafés and hair shops are entering the alley. Therefore, it is hard to maintain this street just for selling traditional medicines, as in the past. In order to activate this place and maintain its identity, the Daegu Yangnyeongsi Herbal Medicine RIS has proposed development plans, and receives 600-800 million won from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, along with 160 million won from Daegu city, and some contributions from Kyungpook National University (KNU) every year during the project. This agency helps the descendants of the traditional distributors in Yangnyeongsi to start their own business and make specialized products using herbal medicines.
What made you get into the work? Is this related with your major?
There is no direct connection between my major and this work. In 2008, I worked as a deputy director at the Industry-Academic Cooperation Foundation, which was a financial department in KNU, so I handled finance encouraging the university and the region. Furthermore, I have been a director of the Daekyeong Bioforum Corporation since 2011, which is an association of professors in Daegu and the Kyungpook region. The association mainly considers ways in which to activate the local community through the biotechnology industry, creating biology related jobs for young people and developing the tourist business. Though it is not related to my major, I am interested in contributing to the community as a member of the local society. Reviving the Yangnyeongsi by keeping its own historical identity is ultimately good for Daegu, and we should do more of this before all the historically meaningful places disappear.
What does the KNU Daegu Yangnyeongsi Herbal Medicine RIS do exactly?
We do not make complete products in Yangnyeongsi. Instead, if some people have ideas based on herbal medicines, we evaluate the potential and support them in changing their ideas into real products. For example, medicinal herb teas, cosmetics, ointments, seasonings, air fresheners and hangover remedies are primary products of Yangnyeongsi. KNU, the Daegu Haany University and DAEGU TECHNOPARK are supporting the production process. At first, professors in the related fields provide technical support and education about herbal medicine used in making products. After they are made, the RIS helps designing and packaging the products. To promote sales, we contact retail agencies and manage the networks for worldwide distribution to Japan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, New Zealand and other countries.
The project is scheduled to be finished in January, 2017. Is there any other plan after this project?
This project has progressed for six years and this is the sixth year since 2011. We built the foundation for the first three years and enabled 17 venture businesses to be started in the last three years. Moreover, we helped three shops to open in Japan, selling Yangyeongsi’s products, and introduced the products in the Hong Kong Food Expo, which is the world-famous food exposition in Asia. The products are also planned to be displayed and sold in general supermarkets in Vietnam and New Zealand. We will continue invigorating the local community. It cannot be done in a day and needs continuous attention and effort.
The KNU Times