MCST aims at doubling the contents export in 5 years

Korean government established an ambitious goal of doubling the size of cultural contents export, to USD 10 billion, in 5 years. Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) is preparing a mid-to-long-term plan for such goal, to be announced in May. The plan will iterate the plans to develop ‘killer contents’ in 5 genres, game, music, animation & characters, movie and concerts.  MCST presented its 2013 business plan to the President on the 28th, which includes the aforementioned goal.

MCST plans to work with Ministry of Future Creative Science on its mid-to-long-term plan to create a healthy ICT environment by converging the planning and creation of contents with their distribution and consumption, which is being handled by the two ministries respectively. The close-cooperation between the two areas is essential to the success.

For full article, see Korea IT Times.


Park ditches ‘green growth’ in environmental policy shift

Korea has been credited with establishing “green growth” as an international goal.  Former President Lee Myung-bak touted it as the next big thing, harmonizing environmental protection and economic development.

A slew of projects, including a river restoration, were pushed in its name and Korea carved its place in the international community by bridging rich and poor countries whose priorities clashed. Like many of his policies, however, “green growth” is now at risk of sinking into obscurity, as the new government conducts a comprehensive policy review.

President Park Geun-hye and her officials are openly skeptical toward Lee’s green packages, saying they were too oriented toward economic growth. They hinted at a shift back to the goal of sustainable development, which Lee had ditched as outdated. Government agencies are investigating the controversial river project over not only its negative impact on water quality but also unsavory ties between the government and contractors.

Cheong Wa Dae has sharply scaled down the Presidential Commission on Green Growth, which was set up by Lee in 2008 as the main driver of the policy, and demoted it to an office under the prime minister. Even the post of ambassador for green growth has been abolished, stoking concerns of a reduced role for Korea in global environmental activities.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013: South Korea and the US lead in a global international comparison

Source: Innovation Union  Scoreboard 2013
Source: Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013

Comparing the EU27 with a selected group of major global competitors, this year’s Innovation Union Scoreboard edition again confirms that the US, Japan and South Korea have a performance lead over the EU27 with South Korea joining the US as most innovative country. Although this lead has been increasing for South Korea, the EU27 has been able to close almost half of the gap with the US and Japan since 2008. The global innovation leaders US, Japan and South Korea are particularly dominating the EU27 in indicators capturing business activity as measured by R&D expenditures in the business sector, Publicprivate co-publications and PCT patents but also in educational attainment as measured by the Share of population having completed tertiary education.

The EU27 continues to have a performance lead over Australia, Canada and all BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). However, this lead has been declining with China, remained stable with the other BRICS countries and has been increasing compared to Australia and Canada.

For full report, see Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013.

Output efficiency of transparent solar cell pushed close to 10%

The transparent property of dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC), the next generation solar cell, allows it to be attached onto the glass walls and generate electricity. A team of Korean researchers was able to increase the efficiency of DSSC close to 10%.

The technique developed by the research team involves a relatively simple process of adding an inexpensive material, acetylene black, and volatilizing it to enhance the generation efficiency, making it to be suitable for commercialization.  The joint research team including Professor Soongil Yoon of Choongnam University and Taeyeon Cho of SeAH E&T announced on the 26th that it was able to increase the generation efficiency of DSSC up to 9.8%.

For full article, see Korea IT Times.

Nuclear waste a growing headache

The country’s radioactive waste storage is filling up as its nuclear power industry burgeons, but what South Korea sees as its best solution ― reprocessing the spent fuel so it can be used again ― faces stiff opposition from its U.S. ally. South Korea fired up its first reactor in 1978 and since then the resource poor nation’s reliance on atomic energy has steadily grown. It is now the world’s fifth-largest nuclear energy producer, operating 23 reactors.But unlike the rapid growth of its nuclear industry, its nuclear waste management plan has been moving at a snail’s pace.

A commission will be launched before this summer to start public discussion on the permanent storage of spent nuclear fuel rods, which must be locked away for tens of thousands of years. Temporary storage for used rods in spent fuel pools at nuclear power plants is more than 70 percent full.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

Private companies benefiting from wind power generation

2013_03_jeju_windEfforts to privatize ‘wind’ in Jeju Island have become a topic of controversy. While large companies are jumping in to take control of Jeju Island’s wind power business, controversy is snowballing over the use of wind as a profit-making resource. On Feb. 26, Jeju council’s committee for wind power generation reviewed 6 wind power business zones and designated 5: Seogwipo City Pyoseon-myun Gasi, Jeju City Gujwa-eup Gimnyeong, Aewol-eup Uh-eum (conditional contract), Hallim-eub Wolryeong, Sangmyeong as these zones. The sixth zone, Seogwipo City Sumang zone is under additional deliberation.

The committee decided on the 6 zones last July and announced their capacity at 85MW. In October of that year, the committee announced a change of capacity to 146MW. Jeju government is planning to officially announce the wind power generation zones by March 21, and plan for follow-up procedures some time after that.

The problem is that large corporations are planning to control the wind power generation zones. SK D&D is in Gasi (30MW), GS E&C and Hyundai Securities Co. is in Gimnyeong (30MW), Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction is in Wolryeong (24MW), Korea Midland Power is in Sanmyeong (21MW), Hanhwa E&C is in Uh-eum (20MW). POSCO is currently participating in Sumang (21MW). Although in some zones local businesses, the village community and farming cooperatives are also participating in the wind power business, major companies with capital and technology are taking the lead. The reason for large corporations’ participation in the wind power business is government standards that require a certain portion of their more than 500MW production to come from renewable energy.

For full article, see Hankyoreh.

Korea’s e-learning market up 12.1 pct in 2012

South Korea’s market for online or electronic education systems dubbed “e-learning” rose sharply last year due to the rising demand for services on mobile devices, the government said Tuesday.    The combined sales of the country’s e-learning service operators came at 2.7 trillion won (US$2.48 billion) last year, compared to 2.45 trillion won tallied a year earlier, according to the data by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy.

Of South Koreans aged three and above, 53.3 percent used e-learning services in 2012, up 0.5 percentage point from 52.8 percent tallied the previous year, the data showed.  The ministry attributed the growth to the rising number of students with mobile devices, as 30.2 percent of South Koreans aged three and above experienced using e-learning services through portable equipments last year.

For full article, see Yonhap News.

Girls more dependent on smartphones than boys, survey finds

2013_phone-addictionFemale students were found to be three times more prone to smartphone addiction than their male counterparts, according to a new survey.  Nearly 6 percent of students were at high or potentially high risk of addiction, according to the survey of 1,600 students conducted late last year by Gangbuk I will Center, a public institution to fight Internet addiction. This broke down into 8.3 percent of female students and 2.8 percent of male students.

These students at high risk are hooked on mobile devices an average of 7.8 hours on weekdays and 9.8 hours on weekends.  When cut off from the devices, addicts show symptoms of withdrawal, nervousness and tolerance to overuse and experience difficulty in daily life, according to the National Information Society Agency. Around 70 percent of addicts use smartphones mostly for chatting on mobile messengers.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

Hyundai-Kia to boost investments in green car, electronic control units

Chung Mong-Koo, Chairman and CEO of South Korea’s Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group said the group will pursue more aggressive investments this year to secure future growth engines. “The domestic and overseas markets will face turmoil this year due to the eurozone fiscal crisis and global economic recession. So we will enhance brand innovation by raising the quality of our vehicles,” Chung noted in s business report on the Kia Motor’s shareholders meeting Friday.

“The group will concentrate more on its investment in developing new growth engines,” added Chung. “More investment will be made to boost our R&D activities in the green cars and electronic control units.” Kia set its sales goal for this year at 2.75 million units, higher than last year’s 2.72 million units and will focus on sharpening its competitive edge.

For full article, see Maeil Business.

KAIST develops wireless power transfer technology for high capacity transit


KAIST and the Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) have developed a wireless power transfer technology that can be applied to high capacity transportation systems such as railways, harbor freight, and airport transportation and logistics. The technology supplies 60 kHz and 180 kW of power remotely to transport vehicles at a stable, constant rate.
KAIST and KRRI successfully showcased the wireless power transfer technology to the public on February 13, 2013 by testing it on the railroad tracks at Osong Station in Korea. Originally, this technology was developed as part of an electric vehicle system introduced by KAIST in 2011 known as the On-line Electric Vehicle (OLEV).
OLEV does not need to be parked at a charging station to have a fully powered battery. It gets charged while running, idling, and parking, enabling a reduction in size of the reserve battery down to one-fifth of the battery on board a regular electric car. The initial models of OLEV, a bus and a tram, receive 20 kHz and 100 kW power at an 85% transmission efficiency rate while maintaining a 20cm air gap between the underbody of vehicle and the road surface. OLEV complies with the national and international standards of 62.5 mG, a safety net for electromagnetic fields. In July 2013, for the first time since its development, OLEV will run on a regular road, an inner city route in the city of Gumi, requiring 40 minutes of driving each way.
For full article, see KAIST.