• 2016-02-25

ICT & Korea

The importance of Information and Communications Technology is being emphasized in an increasing number of industries in Korea, ranging from electronics to fashion. We sit down with an expert to get a better understanding of the ICT industry.
 한국 경제의 구원투수 ICT, 앞날은?


‘제4차 산업혁명’의 핵심으로 떠오른 ICT(통신기술)산업! 주요국들은 저성장 시대의 돌파구로 ICT 육성에 나서고 한국 정부는 파격적인 예산공급과 규제완화를 통해 산업 육성에 나섰는데… 전 세계 ICT 수출액 3위를 기록하며 한국 경제의 구원투수 역할을 톡톡히 하고 있는 ICT 산업에 대해 자세히 알아본다.

The Korean Government plans to inject some 66billion dollars of public funds this year to nurture new growth engines such as the ICT industry in order to realize president Park Gunhae’s creative economic drive.  So what are some of the ideas behind this industry, and what future lies ahead of it? Let’s find out. Smart cars, surgical robots, and drones are only a few of the many technologies that make use of artificial intelligence. And these are expected to be the next big thing in the industry of information communication technology, or ICT this year. Already out in the market ideas like clutch bags, designed use solar panels to charge smart phones and smart golf wear that are equipped with in sleeve chips to provide on course information through mobile apps. And with growing expectations that ICT will affect and reshape most parts of our society in the coming decades, the Korean government has been focusing on the sectors of ICT and software, shifting away from its past emphasis on heavy industries. President Park Geun-hye has emphasized in order to overcome difficulties building a creative economy based on science, technology, and ICT is the only alternative and growth engine for the future. On the horizon though is stronger competition from neighboring rivals like China and Japan, as Korea’s information technology industry suffers from a tepid growth.


Host(H): And tell us more about this. We’re now joined by Kim Bum-soo, the head of part in ICT research center.  So good to have you join us today.


Bumsoo Kim(K): Pleasure to be here.


H: All right, so I know we mentioned a little bit in the report just now, but can you first tell us more about the concept of ICT and how it differs from the IT industry?


K: Traditional IT industry focus on human communication and sending, receiving data or information. Nowadays, in the ICT industry we are focusing more on machine-to-machine interface, machine talking to the human, and human talking to the machine. And as machines start talking to the human, we are seeing more communications happening in the real world at the real-time.


H: Alright then, just in time for this I guess, is the World Economic Forum in Davos which kicked off today and I heard that this year’s meeting has a lot of focus on technology under the theme of mastering the fourth industrial revolution. Can you tell us more about what exactly does fourth industrial revolution is and how the ICT industry is expected to play an important role in it?


K: Fourth industry of revolution talks about the diffusion and convergence of IT technology with bio medical and other various technologies. And in this new fourth industrial revolution industry we see that IT offers more pleasure, more convenience to human beings.


H: Then, what could it mean for countries that are looking for a new growth engines including Korea and what could this ICT industry mean for these kind of countries?


K: The global convergence of different ICT technologies means more data, more intelligence needed to communicate to process. In other words, in the future we are going to see intelligent Internet-of-Things society taking place and happening, which means we need more investment, more effort putting into developing better intelligent devices analyzing software data more efficiently.


H: What kind of areas could we look into then? what kind of areas are we talking about here when we talk about ICT?


K: when you talk about the ICT we are talking about mobile communication technology, sensor technology, energy industry, and the digital devices such as smartphones, digital TVs, and digital panels.


H: So those are all the areas that countries could I guess eye on, right? Okay, well now when it comes to Information Technology Korea is considered as one of the world leaders, in fact Korea’s ICT exports rank third in the first five months of last year right? So what are some of the major achievements that Korea made in this field up until now?


K: Korea has been leading IT industry and ICT industry, and has been number one country over across the world and especially in terms of ICT export. Korea has been ranked as number three by producing, exporting lots of smartphones and memory chips and digital TVs and digital panels, which include most of the ICT exports.


H: Now but we have to talk about the sluggish? smartphone, I guess, exports up until in the recent years or recent months even almost all last year because of Chinese and Japanese competitors right? Can you tell us about that situation a little bit?


K: Smartphone market is going to be saturated pretty quickly. In addition to that, the competitor, China is producing much cheaper competitive devices on that matter, and we are hoping that Samsung, LG, and other domestic manufacturers can produce more efficient, more convenient and devices which can deliver better happiness to individuals.


H: Now adding to that. the Korean information society development institutes’ latest report actually estimated Korea’s growth and this ICT sector to grow less than one  percent this year. Why such a forecast?


K: The Korean domestic products and ICT products and exports focus has been focusing on the consumer goods, on digital TVs, smartphones and so on, and at the same time we see the slow demand on this devices globally which means the exports cannot grow anymore and we are going to see that, we are hoping that, even if the growth is slow, we are hoping that much smarter devices can build up and fit in and create the new demands as a result, we are hoping to see more growth in the market.


H: Now hoping to grow this sector into new future growth engine, the Korean government has actually stepped up investment in this industry. Can you tell us more about that?


K: Korean government has pledged a big amount of investment funding and support. Korean government has been very successful and very aggressive in creating, supporting start-up businesses in the process. We have seen some success stories in the process. For instance, Creative Economy Innovation Center collaborated with large scale businesses, or established. And we are seeing some success stories out of it and we are continuing it, that will help us to enhance and increase the demand and success stories in the future.


H: With that support we still have a long way to go, I guess, in this industry. Thank you so much for coming in today.


K: Thank you