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Coex History

The idea to build a major exhibition center was developed as part of a 5-year economic development plan (1972-1976). In December 1976, President Park Chung Hee approved the construction of Korea’s first exhibition center in the planned development area south of the Han River. This exhibition center would provide a venue to showcase the Korean industry in trade shows, encouraging greater foreign trade.


In 1979, the exhibition center was opened as a subsidiary of KITA, Korea International Trade Association. It became a separate corporation named KOEX in 1986, under the ownership of KITA.


From 1979 to 1988, KOEX played an important role in the economic development of Korea. In 1988, coinciding with the Seoul Olympics, meeting facilities were added to the exhibition center. Coex became part of the Korean World Trade Center and constructed the Trade Tower, the Grand Inter Continental Hotel, the new Hyundai Department Store and City Air Terminal in order to support trade related activities. Ten years later, KOEX was re-branded Coex, Convention & Exhibition Center, to signify the increasingly important role of conventions.


When comparing to the previous picture, one can see the considerable development that had taken place here in Samseong-Dong, Developments at Coex were remarkable with more yet to come. The Coex site would experience yet another makeover in time for the 2000 Asia-Europe Meeting, which would include a newly built Convention & Exhibition Center, ASEM Tower, Coex Mall, and Coex Inter Continental Hotel. In 2002, Coex hosted the FIFA World Cup Media Center and in 2004 it acquired ISO 9001 certification.


Rigorous improvements at Coex have continued until today. Coex has maintained its status as number one convention and exhibition center in Korea. With everything here under one roof, you can now watch musicals at the classy new theater, the CoexArtium, shop, dine, or relax in our fun Piano Fountain Park and beautiful gardens. With more green spaces and the initiation of a “Green Campaign” Coex increasingly focuses on sustainable growth and the well-being of our community.

The Coex of today is more than a convention and exhibition center: It is your business and entertainment hub in Asia. Come and see where the world meets.