Seoul's Competitiveness

What makes Seoul different

The US-based technology market research organization Strategy Analytics discovered that the United States and Singapore have an internet user rate of 88% and 60%, respectively. In Korea, this number is as high as 95%. Strategy Analytics explains that Seoul, a city of more than 20 million inhabitants (including its satellite cities), is a giant internet hotspot that offers cheap wireless internet connections virtually anywhere in the city, and praises Korea for its high connection rate.

  • 1st place of

    World Electric Government 

    Awarded for seven consecutive years (2013~15)
    UN-Rutgers University(SPAA) 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009
    , and Rutgers University only 2011, 2013, 2015

  • 6th place of

    World's Largest Business Centres and Real Estate Markets 2016 

    JLL Global 300 Cities 2016

  • 6th place of

    Comprehensive Ranking on Global Power City Index (GPCI)

    Awarded for five consecutive years (2012-16)
    The Mori Memorial Foundation 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

  • 8th place of

    The City in Motion Index 2016

    IESE Business School Report 2016

  • 8th place of

    Business Friendly Country

    World Bank 2012

  • 1st place of

    Mobility and Transportation 

    IESE Business School Report 2016

  • 6th place of

    Global City Performance Index 2017

    JUNIPER Research 2017

  • 5th place of

    Convention-Friendly Cities

    For three consecutive years (2010-12)
    UIA 2012

  • 7th place of

    Sustainable Cities Index 2016 

    ARCADIS Design & Consultancy 2016

  • 3rd place of

    Economic Competitiveness

    Newsweek 2011


Lists of Awards (76)

List of Award
Category Awards
Public Service and Innovation (8)
  1. UNDESA_UN Public Service Award_Oasis of 10 Million Imagination_Finalist (2009)
  2. UNDESA_UN Public Service Award on Open Citizens Tax Court_2nd Place Winner (2011)
  3. UNESCAP_City-to-City Cooperation Awards (2012)
  4. Metropolis Awards_A Special award in Root out Crime by Design (2014)
  5. Place Marketing Forum _the Place Marketing Awards_Sharing City Policy through Innovative Public- Private Partnership (2016)
  6. The Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development in Sweden _Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon for spearheading Sharing City  Seoul (2016)
  7. World Capital Institute (WCI)_MAKCi Award for the Most Admired Knowledge Cities (2016) 
  8. Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP)_Milan Pact Award Special Mentions_Urban Rural Coexistence Public Meal Service Project (2018)
Women (7)

Environment (10)

Welfare (2)

  1. UN-HABITAT_Scroll of Honor Special Citation award_ SHIFT long-term housing rental system, the transformation of Nanjido, and the restoration of Cheonggyecheon (2010)
  2. UNDESA_UN Public Service Award_Happiness for Women Project_First Place Winner (2010)
  3. UNDESA_UN Public Service Award_The Hope Plus Bankbook program _2nd Place Winner (2010)
  4. International Awards for Liveable Communities_The LivCom Awards_Environmentally Sustainable Projects(Built)_Hangang Renaissance Project_Gold Award (2010)
  5. UNDESA_UN Public Service Award_Self Empowerment for Women_2nd Place Winner (2011)
  6. Metropolis Awards_Special Mention for Women Friendly Seoul Project of Seoul Metropolitan Government (2011).
  7. The City of Guangzhou-UCLG-Metropolis_Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation for a Youth Prostitution Prevention Project and Preventing Internet addiction from expanding (2012)
  8. UNDESA_UN Public Service Award_ Seoul Welfare Standards enabled by and for the Citizens of Seoul _First Place Winner (2013)
  9. UNDESA_UN Public Service Award_Initiative for Women of Single-Person Household _2nd Place Winner (2013)
  10. UNDESA_UN Public Service Award_ Eco-mileage, a program to engage citizens in GHG reduction_2nd Place Winner (2013)
  11. ICLEI & WWF_National Capital of the Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) for reducing its CO2 emissions (2014)
  12. Energy Globe National Awards for its co-project with Seoul National University regarding Green Roof and Rooftop Vegetable Garden (2014)
  13. C40 & Siemens_City Climate Leadership Award in the Green Energy category for its Solar Panel System (2014)
  14. UNDESA_UN Public Service Award_Fighting Violence Against Women: Making Seoul a Safer City for Women_First Place Winner (2015)
  15. ICLEI·WWF_Global Earth Hour Capital_One Less Nuclear Power Plant Eco Mileage etc.(2015)
  16. C40_C40 Climate Change Award_First Award for Social Equity_Energy Welfare Public Private Partnership (2016)
  17. UNDESA_UN Public Service Award_Category 5: Promoting gender-sensitive public services to achieve the SDGs_Public Sanitary Pads Support Policy for Menstrual Health Equity (2019)
  18. Shenzhen & United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Blue Sky Award in Global Green and Low-carbon Field_Individual Award (2019)
  19. C40 Bloomberg Foundation_C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards_Renewable Energy Category Final Winner_Solar City Seoul (2019)
Urban Development and Planning (8)

  1. UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation: Hanok Regeneration in Bukchon (2009)
  2. Institution of Civil Engineers, ICE- the Brunel Prize for Construction Method (TRcM+CAM: Tubular Roof construction Method + Cellular Arch Method) of Seoul Express Bus Terminal Station of Line 9  (2009)
  3. UN HABITAT_the Scroll of Honor Special Citation Award for three important sustainable development and social cohesion projects: the SHIFT Long-term Housing Rental System, the transformation of Nanjido, and the Restoration of Cheonggyecheon (2010)
  4. UNDESA_UN Public Service Award_Improving transparency, accountability and responsiveness in the public service_First Place Winner (2013)
  5. Asia Pacific FutureGov Awards to exemplary cases of public institutions especially for the Urban Planning Information System of Seoul (UPIS) in recognition of its transparent and efficient provision of urban planning information (2013)
  6. International Union Architects (UIA)_Sir Rrbert Mattew Prize for conducting an exemplary pilot programme to renovate the Yeongdeungpo Dosshouse Town (2014)
  7. World Cities Summit_Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize_2018 Prize Laureate_Role of Governance in Urban Transformation of Seoul (2018)
  8. UN HABITAT_Asian Townscape Award: Seoul Landscape Documentation Project (2021)
Water Management (5)
1.UNDESA_UN Public Service Award_First Place WinnerOn and Off-Line Real-Time Water Quality Opening Services, Office of Waterworks (2009)
2.International Water Association(IWA)_Project Innovation Awards(PIA) for Premium Seoul Tap Water_From “Clean & Safe Water” to “Tasty Water” created by the Office of Waterworks under the Seoul Metropolitan Government (2010)
3.International Water Association(IWA)_Project Innovation Awards(PIA) for Water Management System generated by the Office of Waterworks under the Seoul Metropolitan Government (2012)
4.National Sanitation Foundation(NSF), authorized by WHO_Certification for bottled tap water called ARISU for the first time in the world (2012)
5.US Berkeley Springs_25th Annual International Water Tasting: People's Choice Packaging Design_Fouth Place Winner (2015) 
Urban Transportation (12)
  1. Institute for Transportation and Development Policy(ITDP)_Sustainable Transportation Award from three institutions: ITDP, TRB, ED (2006)
  2. International Association of Public Transport (UITP)_The 2006 UITP Award for Innovative Solutions (2006)
  3. Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS)_Outstanding Transportation Project Award for Excellence of the reforms in mass transit in Seoul including transfer discounts and median bus lanes (2007)
  4. International Association of Public Transport (UITP)_Youth Project Awards in Asia (2009)
  5. Russian Federation Parliament and Ministry of Transport under the Government of the Russian Federation_Golden Chariot Awards for its contributions to transport industry development and international cooperation (2011)
  6. International Association of Public Transport (UITP)_UITP PTx2 Regional Award: Asia-Pacific Best Policy Award for its improvements in accessibility for mass transit services including median bus lanes and transfer centers (2011).
  7. International Association of Public Transport (UITP) UITP PTx2 Regional Award:  First Place Winner in the Innovative Technology category (2011)
  8. International Association of Public Transport (UITP) UITP PTx2 Showcase Award for its contributions to the promotion of mass transit through an intelligent transport system (2011)
  9. International Association of Public Transport (UITP) Best Efficient Energy Award of Metrorail in Asia-pacific (2011)
  10. The Intelligent Transportation Systems Society_ Local Government Award for the global ITS technology innovations and the development of citizen-engaged information services (2013)
  11. International Association of Public Transport (UITP)-Asia Pacific Innovative Policy Award (2017)
  12. International Association of Public Transport (UITP)- Award in the Operational and Technological Excellence category (2019)
Design & Culture (16)
  1. Philips Lighting and LUCI (Lighting Urban Community International)_City. People. Light Award_First Prize for Cheonggyecheon Stream Restoration Project (2008)
  2. Design Foundation_INDEX: Awards 2011 Winner in terms of The Community Prize: Design Seoul (2011)
  3. TTG Asia Media_TTG Travel Awards_Best BT MICE City (2011)
  4. Business Traveler Magazine Awards_Best Place to Connect for International Business Meetings Destination: Seoul (2012)
  5. Philips Lighting and LUCI (Lighting Urban Community International)_ City. People. Light Award_Second Prize for Yeoui Central River Park (2013)
  6. Global Traveler _Global Traveler Tested Reader Survey Awards_Best MICE City (2013)
  7. Hong Kong Design Centre_Design for Asia(DFA) Awards, one of 10 Grand Awards for Rooting out Crime by Design (2014)
  8. Global Traveler_Global Traveler Tested Reader Survey Awards_Best MICE City (2015)
  9. The Red Dot Award_Communication Design 2016 for "I·SEOUL·U" (2016)
  10. The Chicago Athenaeum_2016 Good Design Award in the Graphic Design category for "I·SEOUL·U" (2016) 
  11. Business Traveler USA _Best in Business Travel Awards_World Best International Business Meetings Destination (2016)
  12. LUCI (Lighting Urban Community International)_City. People. Light Award_Second Prize for Gyeongui Line Forest Park Lighting Design Project (2016) 
  13. International Forum Design (Germany)_iF Design Award: Yeonhui-dong Community Center (2017)
  14. Hong Kong Design Center_Design for Asia Awards_Silver Award_Seoullo 7017 (2017)
  15. Global Traveler_ GT Tested Reader Survey_Best MICE City for four consecutive years (2018)
  16. International Forum Design (Germany)_iF Design Award_Service Design category for Democracy Seoul (, a digital democracy platform (2019)
e-Government (8)
  1. 2007 Annual Government Technology summit hosted by UNDP and Alphabet Media of Singapore_Government Technology Awards for e-Government Technology (2007)
  2. UNDESA_UN Public Service Award_ Cyber Information System Planning Bureau fostering participation in policy-making decisions through innovative mechanisms (2008)
  3. US ESRI_SAG Award for GIS Portal System developed by Seoul Geographic Information Office, Seoul Metropolitan Government (2011)
  4. Rutgers Univesity-Newark, co-sponsored by the UN Division for Public Administration and Development Management and the American Society for Public Administration _First Place in E-Government Web Portal Excellence for seven consecutive years (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015)
  5. Fira Barcelona_World Smart City Awards_Project Award for its mVoting service (2015)
  6. Smart City Expo World Congress_Main Prize in the City Award category (2016)
  7. WITSA (World Information Technology and Services Alliance)_Global ICT Excellence Award_First Place Winner in the public sector for Clean Construction System (2016)
  8. Smart City Expo World Congress_ Main Prize in the Digital Innovation Category (2019)