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.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry on Monday unveiled a new defense vision based on information and communication technologies, and other cutting-edge digital platforms to better counter evolving North Korean threats and other security challenges. During its New Year’s policy briefing to President Park Geun-hye, Defense Minister Han Min-koo said the ministry would push to incorporate into military operations innovative technologies such as ICT, big data solutions and the Internet of Things, under the “Creative Defense” vision.
Capitalizing on the country’s technological savviness, the ministry will step up efforts to develop future weapons systems such as combat equipment using laser beams and electromagnetic waves, and unmanned platforms, he said. “In consideration of the limited defense resources and various security threats, we will push to come up with more creative, innovative ways to manage our military, going beyond the old approach that was mainly about catching up with others rather than moving ahead of them,” Han told reporters after the policy briefing at Cheong Wa Dae.
Korean investment in local start-ups reached a record high of 2.54 trillion won ($2.3 billion) last year, shooting up 61.9 percent over 2013, largely thanks to contributions from the private sector. According to data disclosed on Tuesday by the Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA), more than half of the new investments came from the private sector, including commercial banks, pension funds, conglomerates and successful start-ups that have grown into large businesses.
The private sector’s contribution of 1.5 trillion won to local start-ups in 2014 showed a drastic increase over the previous two years, due to the Park Geun-hye administration’s efforts to boost start-ups. National policy funds – central and regional governments, the state-run Korea Development Bank and their joint funds – put about 1 trillion won into start-ups last year.
The SMBA added that there were 481 start-up funds operating at the end of last year, holding a total of 12.2 trillion won. The SMBA said that the bigger boost from the private sector is a sign that the nation’s start-up ecosystem has improved and became more attractive to investors.
The government will provide loans of 100 trillion won ($92.3 billion) for the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and other software projects to foster new growth engines. In a joint briefing Wednesday, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and four other ministries said the state financing scheme will benefit fifth-generation mobile networks, bio medicine, solar and fuel cells, bio energy and nano semiconductor and sensor technologies.
“We will help finance hydrogen cars, zero-energy towns and the Internet of Things (IoT) in 17 regional Creative Economy Innovation Centers,” said Science, ICT and Future Planning Minister Choi Yang-hee. These centers will also involve Hyundai Motor, Hyundai Heavy Industries, LG, Doosan, Lotte, Hanwha, CJ, GS, Hanjin, KT, Naver and Daum Kakao. The innovation centers are a pet project of President Park Geun-hye — Daegu, Daejeon, Gumi in North Gyeongsang Province and Jeonju in North Jeolla Province are currently home to such centers.
Korea’s exports of information and communications technology (ICT) products and services reached a record high of $170 billion last year, the government reported Thursday. According to data released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, ICT products accounted for almost 30 percent of the nation’s $573 billion in exports, contributing to a 2014 trade surplus of $86.3 billion.
Semiconductors were the top ICT export category, thanks to DRAM and 3-D NAND flash memory chips. In 2014, memory chips became the nation’s first export product to surpass $60 billion, increasing 9.6 percent year-on-year to reach $62.7 billion. Semiconductor exports surged 33.2 percent last year to a record $34 billion, while shipments of system semiconductors slumped 9.8 percent to $22.5 billion. Exports of display panels slipped 3.2 percent, as demand dropped in China, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Chinese producers of cheaper panels also dragged down prices for LCD televisions.
This year the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) will invest 3.9520 trillion won (US$3.578 billion) in research and development (R&D) on areas of science and technology and Information Communications Technology (ICT). The MSIP announced on Jan. 4 that it has confirmed the “R&D Business Comprehensive Implementation Plan,” which invests 2.9037 trillion won (US$2.63 billion) in Science and Technology and 1.0484 trillion won (US$949.12 million) in ICT.
The investment scale this year, which excludes research and operating expenses of the National Research Council of Science and Technology and research institutes under the direct control from its total R&D budget of 6.5138 trillion won (US$5.9 billion), is to grow 7.9 percent compared to last year. By sector, technology development accounts for the largest part of the budget with 2.2508 trillion won (US$2.04 billion), following basic research with 744.3 billion won (US$673.88 million), foundation construction with 640.2 billion won (US$579.63 million), commercialization and standardization with 161.7 billion won (US$146.4 million), and science and technology and ICT manpower training with 155 billion (US$140.33 million).
Korean firms’ investment in research and development leans toward the electronics sector, reaching 46.6 percent of total R&D spending in 2011, according to a report by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Evaluation and Planning. But the levels of investment in the high-tech industries of aerospace technology, pharmaceuticals and machinery stalled at 0.2 percent, 2.3 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.
The term “creative economy” puzzled many when President Park Guen-hye was inaugurated in February and declared it as her administration’s economic paradigm. By June, the government came up with its own definition — “combining creative ideas with science and information and communications technology (ICT) to help create new businesses, markets and industries and to generate more jobs.”
Along with the definition, the government announced six strategies. Starting a business will become easier, with proper rewards for creative ideas. Small and medium enterprises will play a lead role in an economy that large conglomerates or chaebol have traditionally dominated.
The government also plans to encourage the integration of science and ITC into existing industries to add value and competitiveness. It also wants to educate students to foster creativity and entrepreneurship, and plans to invest more in science and ICT. The last strategy is to create a culture where good ideas are freely communicated and brought to reality.
Although the government has laid out somewhat specific goals and detailed plans to achieve them, the public is still learning to understand what a creative economy is, while foreigners remain largely confused. The Korea Times’ Business Focus talked to foreign experts to hear their perception of a creative economy and the most important ways to achieve it. The four interviewees visited Korea in June to participate in the Global Industry and Economy Forum 2013, which the state-run Korea Development Institute and the Ministry of Strategy and Finance organized.
“For continued growth, we must aspire to become a creative company capable of leading change. Erecting our R5 institute was one such chance for precipitating the change and advancement required for becoming a truly creative company,” said Shin Jong-kyun, Samsung Electronics mobile unit chief. His speech was on the day Samsung held a ceremony for marking the move into Samsung’s newest mobile research institute, the R5, in Suwon, home to the world’s largest consumer electronics company and chipmaker.
Industry watchers said both the speech and the ceremony signaled that mobile products and services would continue to be the nerve center for Samsung, which this month celebrated the 20th anniversary of the “New Management Initiative” by chairman Lee Kun-hee. Research and development is cited as one of the most significant driving engines behind Samsung’s growth into a global electronics powerhouse.
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.