SKKU developed tech to make graphene batteries 10x smaller, same strength

2015_02_aerogel batteryA Korean research team has successfully developed a technology to make a sponge-like electrode material using graphene and a polymer, leading to a graphene battery. The newly-developed battery is ten times as small as existing ones, but can show the same product performance.

A research team headed by Park Ho-seok, professor of the School of Chemical Engineering at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), announced on Feb. 1 that it has succeeded in developing a very porous graphene aerogel electrode material by combining polyvinyl alcohol and graphene. Studies on developing high-capacity and rapidly-chargeable batteries are underway worldwide. It is necessary to compress devices in order to supply energy in extreme conditions. However, when existing graphene-based batteries are compressed by 30 percent, product performance suffers owing to the destruction of the inside structure.

For full article, see Business Korea.


North Korea’s smartphone imports from China hit record

North Korea’s smartphone imports from China surged to a record high last year, a sign of a growing number of people there being connected to the net, according to data released Friday. North Korea brought in US$82.8 million worth of smartphones from China in 2014, almost double the amount recorded a year earlier, according to the Seoul-based Korea International Trade Association. It marked the largest volume since 2007, when related data were introduced.

Imports of portable data-processing devices, including laptops, also jumped 16 percent on-year to $23 million in 2014 despite a 3-percent decline in the North’s overall imports from China in the year. Around 10 percent of the communist nation’s 24-million residents reportedly use smartphones, with its 3G network run by Koryolink, a joint venture with an Egyptian company, Orascom Telecom.

Source: Yonhap News.

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.

Global companies fiercely compete for Korea’s disaster safety communications network project

2015_01_emergencyThere is now intense competition between global communications equipment suppliers Nokia, Huawei, Ericsson, and Alcatel-Lucent for the national disaster safety communications network project, which will be the first trial of its kind in the world. The winner of the government project of South Korea, which is an IT powerhouse, will be recognized for its technologies. Moreover, major countries like the U.S., the U.K., and Canada are planning to build a disaster safety communications network using Public Safety-LTE (PS-LTE), which was already adopted by Korea. Therefore, the reason for fierce competition seems to lie in the belief that it could be a test-bed for the suppliers’ capabilities in the PS-LTE market, which is still at early stage, to win the order of the Korean project.

According to sources in the government and communications industry on Jan. 25, the national disaster safety communications network project is estimated to be worth 2 trillion won (US$1.85 billion). However, the size of the project is expected to increase to more than 3 trillion won (US$2.8 billion) if 10 year-maintenance costs are included. So competition between global communications equipment suppliers for the project is heating up.

For full article, see Business Korea.

Mobile shoppers want fewer and better choices

2015_01_online shoppingKim Jin-young was looking for a birthday present for a friend and thought a pair of gloves would be just right. But when she used the keyword “gloves” in a search on G-Market, a popular e-commerce site in Korea, she was faced with a daunting 227,100 results. Even when the 28-year-old sorted the results by a single brand, hundreds of different gloves from the label were offered. Overwhelmed with the results, Kim was turned off the purchase.

Consumers like Kim are pushing online retailers to jump onto the curated commerce bandwagon. All major online retailers – including G-Market, 11st and Coupang – now either have a separate curated commerce site or designated a section for items that have been selected specially.

In the early days of online shopping, people were excited by the fact that a vast assortment of products could be seen with the click of a mouse, something that would have required hours or days of shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. But large online retailers such as G-Market, Auction and 11st went too far by showing hundreds of thousands of products in a single search. Shoppers rebelled against the cognitive overload.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

World’s 1st IoT complex to be constructed in Korea

2015_01_IoT complexThe audience can see action replay of specific scenes at a ball park on the weekend using a WiFi-enabled smartphone. They also can order chicken and beer from a snack bar to the very seat they are sitting. Such ‘Smart Service’ is expected to be realized in some cities of Korea from the second half this year. According to the Ministry of Science, ICT and future planning and the National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA) on Sunday, two complexes of Internet of Things (IoT) would be constructed in Korea for the first time in the world. In these complexes, even business processes are connected to the internet, beyond connections between equipment and person and between equipment and equipment.

Candidate locations narrowed down to the four – Bukchon (traditional culture) in Seoul, Centum City in Haeundae Busan, Songdo in Incheon and Health Care Complex in Daegu. The government is expected to select two among the four places by March, introducing service in the second half through preparations including platform construction. It has already allotted budget worth 12.5 billion won ($11.5 million) for the materialization of the complexes.

For full article, see Maeil Business.


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.

Android smartphones grab 95% of 2013 sales in South Korea

Only five percent of smartphones sold in South Korea last year adopted mobile operating systems other than the “Android.” Sales of Android-powered smartphones came to 24.9 million units last year, comprising 94.8 percent of total sales in the Korean market, the US market consultancy Strategy Analytics (SA) said Thursday. This is the highest share since 2010 when Android smartphones were put on sale in the domestic market.

Smartphones running the Android accounted for the biggest 59.1 percent share in 2010, their debut year, and boosted their share steadily from 78.4 percent in 2011 to 91.4 percent in 2012. In contrast, sales of the Apple’s “iOS”-powered “iPhone” took up 28.2 percent in 2009, its first year, but has gradually shed share to 4.2 percent last year. But the Android is likely to lose ground from this year, SA said.

SA forecast Android smartphones would consistently lose their share to 81.7 percent by 2018.

Source: Maeil Business.

Carriers submit to era of free texts with hot new app

2013_01_joynKorea’s three mobile carriers, which have been threatened by the emergence of free mobile messengers led by KakaoTalk and Line, have joined hands to launch a next-generation mobile communication platform called joyn.

The collaborative move indicates that the mobile service providers have determined to give up their earnings from text messaging services as their new rivals have been undermining the carriers’ profits by offering their texting services for free. In contrast, carriers charge 20 won ($0.02) per SMS.

Joyn offers more functions than existing mobile messengers and bills itself as a “rich communication suite” (RCS) telecommunication tool. It enables users to send and receive text-based SMS and multimedia MMS messages, transfer image and video files, and make mobile Voice over IP (mVoIP) voice calls – all free of charge.

At 100 megabytes, the new platform’s single file transfer capacity ceiling is five times bigger than KakaoTalk’s.

For full article see Joongang Daily.

Korean publication grows their wings

With ever changing information and technology today’s world, the publication industry is also evolving into electronically based industry, but some of the criticism remain for the fact that Korean publication industry has not been up to date with current global trend. Young-goog Park, Director General of Media Policy Bureau of the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism talked about the five year plan of promotion of publication industry in an interview with Korea IT Times.

Q. To start off, can you please explain the future plan for the next five years of publication industry promotion Agency of Korea.

A. As you know, the society has become more of the knowledge based and with the all the resources we have to gather, promotion of publication industry appears to come to an important position in Korea. However, the information people are gathering is not necessarily from the paper-print based publication, but rather from the digital-content based, and we can see that from reduction of paper-print publication from 102 million print-based publications in 2010 to about 100 million publications printed in 2011. 

But there are also positive aspects of it as well. Although the paper-based publication has been reduced over the course of last couple of years, the electronic publication is growing very fast and we expect for the Korean electronic publication to expand from the revenue of USD208 million in 2011 to almost USD400 million industry in 2015. This is positively affected by the growth and popularity K-Pop in the world. 

With that in mind, our future plan for the 5 years is certainly focusing on the vision of becoming more globalized publishing powerhouse in the world, strengthening the competitiveness of publication contents, establishing advanced distribution environment, revitalizing the overseas expansion, and discovering new growth industry. We also have 23 subsidiary performance tasks that have been already set up in order to accomplish the mentioned 5 main focus.

For full interview, see Korea IT Times.