Daejeon is South Korea's fifth-largest metropolis, with a population of 1.5 million as of 2019. Located in a valley in the central region of South Korea, Daejeon serves as a hub of transportation for major rail and road routes, as well as for technology and administration sectors. The city is known for celebrating its natural environment, with most mountains, forests, hot springs, and rivers freely open for public use. Daejeon is approximately 50 minutes from the capital, Seoul, by KTX or SRT high speed rail.
Daejeon is one of South Korea's administration hubs with the Daejeon Government Complex (Other administrative hubs: Seoul, Gwacheon and Sejong City). The Korean administration in the 1980s decided to relocate some of its functions from Seoul, the national capital, to other cities. Currently, 12 national government offices, including Korea Customs Service, Small and Medium Business Administration, Public Procurement Service, National Statistical Office, Military Manpower Administration, Korea Forest Service, Cultural Heritage Administration, and Korean Intellectual Property Office, as well as Patent Court of Korea, are located in Daejeon. Korail, Korea Water Resources Corporation, and Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation are also headquartered in the city.
Daejeon is home to 23 universities and colleges, including Institute for Basic Science, KAIST and Chungnam National University. Daejeon has earned its name as "Asia's Silicon Valley" and "high technology city". The city hosted the Taejon Expo '93 and the International Mathematical Olympiads in 2000. Several important research institutes are based in the city.
Daedeok Innopolis (Daedeok Research and Development Special Zone) is composed of 28 government-funded research institutions, as well as 79 private research institutes with as many as 20,000 researchers. In addition, Daejeon established the World Technopolis Association (WTA) in 1998 with the view of realizing regional development through international cooperation with world science cities. The WTA has grown to have 67 members from 32 countries, and it actively cooperates with many international organizations including UNESCO as its official consultative body.