LG opens 29,000 patents…raising USD 150 million venture fund

2015_02_LG innovation centerTo create the creative economy ecosystem in Chungcheongbuk-do, LG will open 29,000 patents and raise a venture fund to the tune of KRW150 billion. Also, LG affiliates, including LG Chem, will invest KRW1,600 billion over a 3-year period to invigorate the local creative economy.

The LG Group announced this plan at the launching ceremony for the Chungcheongbuk-do Creative Economy Innovation Center held at the Chungcheongbuk-do Knowledge Industry Promotion Agency in Ochang, Chungcheongbuk-do on February 4. President Park Geun-hye, Lee Si-jong governor of Chungcheongbuk-do, Koo Bon-moo chairman of LG and the CEOs of over 140 local small and medium-sized venture firms were present at this ceremony.

LG will install the ‘IP Support Zone’ which shares patents with local small and medium-sized venture firms. Here about 29,000 patents, including the 27,000 patents owned by LG and the 1,600 patents of 16 government-funded research institutions, will be opened for free or at minimal costs. Among them, 3,058 patents will be transferred to small and medium-sized venture firms free of charge. The patent areas include bio, beauty and energy, earmarked for the Chungcheongbuk-do area, as well as electronics, chemistry and communication.

For full article, see Korea IT News.


Smartwatch war expected to intensify

From top to bottom: Samsung Gear S, LG G Watch R, Apple Watch

The competition among Samsung, LG, Apple and other smartwatch makers is expected to intensify this year, industry watchers and analysts said Sunday. Samsung Electronics plans to unveil a new, round smartwatch, codenamed “Orbis,” at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 which takes place in Barcelona, Spain, next month. Consumers have already applauded the circular displays of the Moto 360 from Motorola and the G Watch R from LG Electronics, so it is no surprise that Samsung has been working on its own round watch, industry insiders said.

So far, Samsung’s 3 wrist watches ― the Gear, Gear 2, and Gear S ― were square-shaped, under the strict concept of smart device rather than traditional wrist watch. Orbis is a Latin word that has many meanings including circle. The project name gives a hint that the company’s next model will be circular.

For full article, see Korea Times.

Computers can now imagine narration and dialogue based on video

A video segment inspires this computer program to create a sentence of narration based on what happens.
A video segment inspires this computer program to create a sentence of narration based on what happens.

Korean research team announced on Feb. 3 that they have successfully developed an imaginative computer program that can acquire information contained in videos and make up words or dialogue suitable for each scene shown on the screen. A research team headed by Jang Byung-tak, professor of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Seoul National University, entered the 1,232 minute long Korean animation Pororo into the computer program. They found that the program was able to teach itself to recognize scenes, lines, stories, and characters using associative memory that resembles a human brain’s neural network.

After entering specific scenes, the program can create dialogues appropriate for each character. The dialogues may differ from the original ones. It is also possible to see different versions created depending on whether 100 minutes or 10,000 minutes of the cartoon are entered into the program. The phenomenon is attributable to the possibility that the nature of characters may change as time goes by.

For full article, see Business Korea.

Samsung puts priority on IoT

Yoon Boo-keun, Samsung Electronics' consumer electronics division president. Source: Yonhap News.
Yoon Boo-keun, Samsung Electronics’ consumer electronics division president. Source: Yonhap News.

Samsung Electronics said Tuesday a new order prevails in the global consumer electronics industry with the Internet of Things (IoT) leading the way, prompting it to search for new business opportunities in the field. “There’s no question that IoT is the next key driver for Samsung,” Samsung Electronics co-CEO Yoon Boo-keun said at a news conference in Seoul. Yoon said Samsung wants IoT to be totally open. “By 2020, every single product that Samsung sells will be connected,” he said. He said IoT will significantly change everyone’s life and Samsung is positioned to become a leader in a more connected era.”Samsung aims to closely collaborate with industries to really make IoT happen. We will continue pursuing a human-centric business philosophy,” he said.

He made the remarks at an event to unveil new home appliances at the company’s Secho Tower in southern Seoul. Yoon said consumes are embracing IoT, which will be relevant across all segments from industry to wearables, smart homes, cars and more, with multiple devices from different parts of people’s lives being connected.

For full article, see Korea Times.


Korean government to make extensive change of e-banking regulations

2015_02_bank wallet kakaoOn Jan. 27, the Financial Services Commission and the Financial Supervisory Service announced a measure to support the convergence of IT with banking industries. The measure is aimed at introducing and expanding financial technology (fintech).

By June, financial authorities will get rid of all regulations that demand the obligatory use of specific technologies including the systems for reviewing security and rating certification method. As a result, payment services using finger and iris recognition technology or those using smart watches and glasses are likely to be available in the market. As for payment methods using signatures, the limit on person-to-person transactions will be eliminated. Accordingly, the allowed amount will increased from 500,000 won (US$457) to 2 million won per day and 5 million won per month (US$4,572) for Bank Wallet Kakao.

The criteria for capital needed to run e-banking businesses will be lowered as well. Right now, at least 5 billion won (US$4.6 million) is required to set up digital currency companies, 3 billion won (US$2.7 million) for companies that facilitate digital money transfers, 2 billion won (US$1.8 million) for pre-paid and debit card companies, and 1 billion won (US$914,000) for online payment service providers. The nation’s two financial regulators are planning to slash the size of minimum capital requirements by more than 50 percent in the mid to long term.

For full article, see Business Korea.

Naver focuses on mobile shopping

Naver is trying to finally crack the mobile business, which it admits has been its Achilles’ heel. Naver is the largest search engine and portal in the country. However, as people steadily shift away from PCs to access the Internet, Naver has been seeking new businesses in the mobile sector. Naver said Tuesday it is introducing a one-stop mobile shopping platform in the first half of this year that forecasts the needs of users and reflects them in search results. It hopes users will shop and pay for goods using its payment system Naver Pay.

“Everyone knows that Naver is not No. 1 in the mobile business,” said Han Seong-sook, head of Naver’s services departments, at a press conference at Naver Partner Square in Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam, southern Seoul Turesday. “Naver lacks content and sharing functions, which are the most important component in mobile. We have a sense of urgency.”

Social networking services such as Google and Facebook are also competing in the mobile shopping market to compete with Amazon, Alibaba and eBay. Naver said it will use an Shopping Trend Graph algorithm that shows relevant information about shopping in search result and the algorithm can predict the users’ interests. Around 34 percent of keywords in Naver searches are already shopping related.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Yongsan evolves from electronics industry center to the Mecca of 3D printing

2015_01_3D-printingExperience area and exhibition space built over a site of approximately 1,322m2, will be opened as early as the end of next month. A large-scale 3D printing experience area will be installed in ‘Yongsan Electronics Shopping Mall,’ a center of electronics industry in Korea. This is anticipated to produce synergy as the government is accelerating 3D printing industry development as a next-generation growth item.

According to the industry, Najin Industries will build ‘Cooperative Space of Infinite Creativity’ including a 3D printing experience area over a site measuring approximately 1,322m2 on the ground floor of Najin Shopping Mall Building 14 inside E-World in Yongsan, Seoul. This project was planned and has been promoted by Najin Industries, an E-World management company, since last year. This facility will be opened officially at the end of next month or early March at the latest. Cooperative Space of Infinite Creativity will offer a range of 3D printing related facilities in order to develop Yongsan into the ‘Mecca of 3D printing.’ This facility will comprise of ‘Seoul 3D Printing Experience Center’ together with a remote controller store, an education and experience center, a seminar room and an exhibition and event space. 3D printer developers Carima and Rokit, a 3D modeling program manufacturer and distributor Inteli Korea, a 3D scanner maker Onscans, a 3D printing solution provider STL and a 3D design provider Sculpy will open shops in the facility. The tenants in Seoul 3D Printing Experience Center can receive information about equipment, material and market trends from industry experts. Najin Industries has set out a policy to continuously increase tenants.

For full article, see Korea IT News.

Korea’s mobile ad market to surpass 900 million US$ this year

The local market for mobile advertisements is anticipated to top the 1-trillion won ($928 million) mark in 2015, a report showed Monday, as people spend more time on smartphones compared to traditional PCs. South Korea’s market for mobile advertisements is estimated to rise 27 percent on-year to reach 1.06 trillion won this year, according to the report released by market researcher DMC Media. The market expanded 74.1 percent on-year to reach 832.9 billion won in 2014.

The researcher said the growth is attributable to the rising number of smartphone users, while people are spending less time using computers. “Mobile messengers’ earnings will also improve, as they will roll out various payment-related services other than mobile games, which have been considered as traditional cash cows,” DMC Media said. “Other global messenger providers will also expand their revenue from advertisements on the back of their mobile platforms.”

For full article, see Korea Herald.

Content industry achieves 2014 sales revenue of US$87 billion

2012_08_kartriderLast year’s aggregate sales revenue of Korea’s content industry was 94.3 trillion won (US$87.4 billion), up 3.4 percent from the previous year. The industry-wide exports were $5.41 billion, 9.8 percent higher than that in 2013. The industry set this year’s target at 98.9 trillion won (up 4.9%) and $5.84 billion, respectively, for sales and export volume. The Korea Creative Content Agency will hold a forum on January 19 at the COEX Conference Hall in Seoul’s Gangnam and present the industry’s performance in 2014 and the outlook for 2015 including these figures.

The sales revenue in the game segment rose 7.4 percent to 10.4 trillion won while exports growing 12.2 percent to $3.05 billion. The segment’s growth was buoyed by the rapid increase in the mobile game market, with competition getting fiercer as several large-scale foreign game developers and publishers moved in to the domestic market. The sales in the character business were 870 billion won, up 4.6 percent from 2013 while the exports growing 10.8 percent to $490 million.

For full article, see Korea Economic Daily.