Ulsan (Korean pronunciation: [ul.s͈an]), officially the Ulsan Metropolitan City, is South Korea's seventh-largest metropolitan city and the eighth-largest city overall, with a population of over 1.1 million inhabitants. It is located in the south-east of the country, neighboring Busan to the south and facing Gyeongju to the north.
|Ulsan Metropolitan City|
|• Revised Romanization||Ulsan gwang-yeoksi|
|• McCune-Reischauer||Ulsan gwangyŏksi|
Top: View of downtown Yaeum-dong area
Middle: Samsan-dong downtown area (left), Iaan Expodium Tower (right)
Bottom: Ganjeolgot (left), Taehwagang Train Station (right)
Seal of Ulsan
|Districts||5 (including 1 county)|
|• Mayor||Song Cheol-ho|
|• Body||Ulsan Metropolitan Council|
|• Total||1,057.136 km2 (408.162 sq mi)|
|• Rank||8th Korea|
|• Density||1,100/km2 (2,900/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||KR-31|
|GDP||USD $67.8 billion (2017)|
|GDP per capita (nominal)||USD $65,093 (IMF, 2017)|
|GDP per capita (PPP)||Int $80,058 (2017)|
Ulsan is the industrial powerhouse of South Korea, forming the heart of the Ulsan Industrial District. It has the world's largest automobile assembly plant operated by the Hyundai Motor Company; the world's largest shipyard, operated by Hyundai Heavy Industries; and the world's third largest oil refinery, owned by SK Energy. In 2017, Ulsan had a GDP per capita of $65,093, the highest of any region in South Korea.
Stone tools found at the Mugeo-dong Ok-hyeon archaeological site indicates that Ulsan was inhabited by humans at least as early as the Paleolithic Era. Other findings indicated human inhabitation in the Neolithic Era. Ulsan also contains a substantial number of town remains from the Bronze Age. During the Jinhan confederacy, Ulsan was a site of iron mining and production. In the Later Silla period, Ulsan served as an important port for the economic hub of Gyeongju, and likely saw the import of luxury Persian goods such as silver, glass, and peacock tails.
Records from the Joseon Dynasty show that Ulsan was developed as a shipbuilding site as early as 1642.
As the centre of the Ulsan Industrial District, the city is the corporate base of the multinational Hyundai conglomerate. Up to 1962, Ulsan operated as a fishing port and market centre. As part of South Korea's first five-year economic plan, Ulsan became an open port. Additionally, the government designated Ulsan as an Special Industrial District, which encouraged development of major industrial plants and factories: an oil refinery, fertilizer plants, automobile production, and heavy industries were developed here. The shipbuilding port Bangeojin was annexed by the city in 1962.
Hyundai Group founded Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan in 1973, which effectively turned the city into a company town and drew a large influx of workers into the city. The company's importance to the city can be seen in its name's omnipresence, with a highway named after Hyundai's founder, and the hospital, school, theater, as well as many restaurants and department stores bearing the Hyundai name.
Amid a global downturn in shipbuilding, Hyundai Heavy Industries sold $1 billion of assets and laid off large numbers of employees in 2016. The company borrowed money from the state-run Korea Development Bank in order to purchase Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, forming Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering, with plans to move corporate headquarters to Seoul. Some view this downturn as an indicator of South Korea's over-reliance on chaebols, and fear that a period of deindustrialization for Ulsan mirroring the United States' Rust Belt could be on the horizon.
The city has the world's second largest oil refinery with 840,000BPD, owned by SK Energy South Korea no.3 S-oil refinery complex with 669,000BPD and 1.7million PX plant of world single largest facility,39,000BPD lubricant base oil owned by Saudi Aramco is also in Ulsan.
Ulsan is the home of the world's largest automobile assembly plant of 300,000 annual capacity 5 assembly plants, proving ground and in-house peers, operated by Hyundai Motors started 50,000 capacity in 1968 now 30 times expansion of massive motor top complex in the world with own export piers with logistics competitiveness. Its integrated design of related functions was inspired by the Ford River Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan.
Lithium-ion battery manufacture
In November 2011, SB LiMotive opened an advanced lithium-ion battery production plant in Ulsan. SB LiMotive was a 50-50 consortium of Samsung SDI and Robert Bosch GmbH. In September 2012, Samsung SDI purchased the Robert Bosch GmbH portion of SB LiMotive for $95 million to gain 100% ownership of the Ulsan production facility. The Ulsan plant is one of Samsung SDI's trio of advanced car-battery production facilities.
The city transport department plans to build a light-rail line. The public transportation system is as good as any other major Korean city. The bus system shows a specific ETA at most bus stops.
Ulsan Airport, constructed in 1970 and expanded in 1997, has more than 20 flights per day to and from Seoul's Gimpo International Airport and 4 flights per week to and from Jeju International Airport. In November 2010, Korea's high-speed train network, the KTX, was extended to Ulsan. This provides a high-speed link to Seoul, with a running time of just over 2 hours. The new KTX station (Ulsan Station) is in nearby Eonyang, with a series of express buses (5001-5005), as well as some city buses serving the new station. The original city station has been renamed Taehwa River Station.
The city hosts the K League 1 football club Ulsan Hyundai FC. After the 2002 FIFA World Cup, they relocated from their former stadium in Jung-gu, which is now a municipal ground, to the Munsu Stadium, which hosted several matches during the 2002 World Cup. Ulsan was home to another football team, Ulsan Hyundai Mipo Dolphin FC, which played in the Korea National League until 2016, when it was dissolved.
It is also home to the University of Ulsan and its sports programs. Ulsan also hosts Korean Basketball League team Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus. Their home ground is Dongchun Gymnasium, which located in jung-gu ulsan.
Ulsan is bounded on the east by the East Sea. Busan is 70 km (43 mi) to the south.
Ulsan has a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa/Cwa), with cold but dry winters, and hot, humid summers. Monthly means range from 2.0 °C (35.6 °F) in January to 25.9 °C (78.6 °F) in August, with diurnal temperature ranges generally low. Its location on the Korean peninsula results in a seasonal lag. The warmest days occur in August and averaging very near 30 °C (86 °F). Precipitation is relatively low in the winter months, but there is high rainfall from April to September.
|Climate data for Ulsan (1981–2010, extremes 1931–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||19.3
|Average high °C (°F)||7.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||2.0
|Average low °C (°F)||−2.3
|Record low °C (°F)||−14.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||34.3
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||5.3||6.3||8.1||8.4||9.2||10.0||13.5||12.1||10.3||5.7||5.1||3.9||97.9|
|Average snowy days||1.7||2.1||1.1||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.1||1.1||6.1|
|Average relative humidity (%)||49.6||51.9||57.6||60.3||66.1||73.3||78.9||77.7||75.7||67.2||59.9||52.4||64.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||190.7||176.4||187.5||207.2||215.4||172.7||151.5||167.3||150.0||193.7||182.0||194.6||2,188.8|
|Percent possible sunshine||61.2||57.4||50.6||52.8||49.5||39.6||34.2||40.0||40.3||55.3||58.8||64.0||49.2|
|Source: Korea Meteorological Administration (percent sunshine and snowy days)|
There are seven tall mountains (Gajisan, Sinbulsan, Ganwolsan, Cheonhwangsan, Yeongchuksan, Goheonsan, Jaeyaksan) over 1,000m above sea level. Sinbulsan (MT.) Ridge, where grasses turn silver in autumn, is one of the best sights to see in the Yeongnam Alps. Eoksae festival is held every early October in Ganwoljae, which is best known for its colony of silver grass.
Oegosan Onggi village
Korea's largest traditional folk Onggi (earthware) village is Oegosan. The traditional Onggi (earthware) manufacturing process is carried on here and is open to tourists, including Onggi workshops and kilns. The Ulsan Onggi museum offers a variety of information related to Onggi and displays a diversity of this earthware.
Jangsaengpo Whale museum & Whale Ecological Experience Hall
As the only whale museum in Korea, Jangsaengpo whale museum collects, maintains and displays whaling-related artifacts. They have become more rare since 1986, when whaling was internationally prohibited in order to protect the species. The museum provides a variety of information related to whales and marine ecosystems; it is a space for education, research and experience. Whale cruises depart from Jangsaengpo port.
- Ulsan Grand Park: This is claimed as the best ecology park in a downtown area in Korea, boasting a vast area of 3,640,000 m2 (39,180,634 sq ft). "Natural, Clean and Comfortable" are the main themes, and it is a place for urbanites to seek nature. It sponsors a variety of events and festivals for families. it is a pleasant place for relaxation where you can breathe in nature during daily life. In particular, the Rose Festival every June presents a feast for the eyes and nose.
- Taehwagang River Grand Park : Simnidaesup (bamboo grove), one of the 12 scenic beauties of Ulsan, was restored; now the river and the bamboo grove are connected. This space expresses the related ecology of the area, showing the importance of nature and environment. It allows visitors the chance to observe and experience wildlife in its natural environment and to relax while being one of nature.
Ulsan Industry Park has been leading the Pacific Rim industry in the 21st century. Ulsan has Hyundai Motor Company, with the world's largest single-purpose plant; Hyundai Heavy Industries, the biggest heavy industry leader in the world; Hyundai Mipo Shipbuilding, and Petrochemical Park, leaders in Korea's chemistry industry.
Ulsan has beautiful beaches (Jinha, Ilsan). Daewangam Park features a lush, hundred-year-old pine forest. Ganjeolgot Cape is noted as the first place to see the sunrise from the Korean peninsula. A sunrise festival is held every New Year's Day.
April: Seo Duk-chul's creative theme
Twin towns – sister cities
|Khánh Hòa Province||2002|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ulsan.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ulsan.|
- Ulsan Metropolitan City official site (in English)
- Ulsan Metropolitan City official site (in Korean)
- Ulsan : Official Site of Korea Tourism Org
- Ulsan's Foreigner Living Site
- "2015년 인구주택총조사 전수집계결과 보도자료" [2015 Population and Housing Census]. Statistics Korea.