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The Seoul of World Design

The Korean capital, soon to host the Design Olympiad, is funding projects to promote style in Korean brandsand help keep growth on track

Korea's economy has long been one of Asia's success stories, but pessimists fret for the future as Korea is sandwiched between fast-growing China and longtime rival Japan. Could a government-backed plan to raise Seoul's standing as a city focused on design help keep its growth on track?

Seoul Mayor Oh Se Hoon certainly thinks so. Oh, leader of a city home to nearly a quarter of the country's population of 48 million, is convinced Korea can stand out from its larger neighbors by establishing the capital as a international design center.