IoT and software projects to receive 93 billion USD in loans

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.

For full article, see Korea Times.

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10,000 plants to become ‘smart’ by 2020, private – government to invest KRW 1 trillion

The government, through private – public joint effort, will promote a project to intellectualize and optimize entire production processes in 10,000 plants of small and medium-scale manufacturing companies by 2020 with an investment of KRW 1 trillion. The goal is to foster the three soft powers of manufacturing industry, which are engineering, design and embedded software, into new innovation industry to continue on the success of materials and parts industry.

On the 26th, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MoTIE) announced ‘Manufacturing Industry Innovation 3.0 Strategy for Creative Economy’ at a talk in Cheong Wa Dae with chairmen from the Chambers of Commerce across the country invited by President Park Geun-hye.

“As convergence between manufacturing industry and IT, software, service and other industries spreads throughout the world, new production methods, such as 3D printing and smart plant, are coming up to the surface,” said Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jick. “To respond to this trend, we need to change our strategy from pursuing to leading the advanced countries and promote evolution of Korea’s manufacturing industry.”

For full article, see Korea IT News.

Samsung to build 5 R&D hubs

Samsung Electronics will invest 5 trillion won ($4.5 billion) to build five new research and development (R&D) centers in Korea over the next three years, company officials said Tuesday. “R&D is crucial to ensuring success in the rapidly-changing consumer electronics industry. Total investment will amount to 5 trillion won,” a Samsung official told The Korea Times, asking not to be named. The official said that the money will be used to build five R&D centers. Under the plan, it has spent around 800 billion won in constructing R5, a research institute in Suwon designed to develop smart devices.

Samsung will spend 1.2 trillion won to build a cutting-edge design research center in Woomyeon-dong, southern Seoul. The center will begin operating from June 2015. The design center will house some 10,000 Samsung designers, software developers and strategists. The center will be designed to help researchers maximize creativity.

For full article, see Korea Times.

Can Samsung build its own ecosystem with Tizen?

2013_02_samsung_OSSamsung Electronics has emerged as a global corporation commensurate with U.S. technology giant Apple but a weakness in software is still the Korean firm’s Achilles heel. The world’s largest electronics maker by revenue is now first in market share and annual shipments of smartphones and total handsets, thanks to the popularity of its Galaxy series. Now it hopes to expand to software with its own operating system (OS), Tizen.

The firm will showcase a high-end phone running on the OS to clients at the Mobile World Congress to be held in Barcelona from Feb. 25 to 28, though the event won’t be open to the public. Samsung is beating Apple on the hardware front, backed by smartphones with high-quality, large-sized screens, which are its most valuable asset, according to mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun. But its software ecosystem is, to put it mildly, meager compared to its California rival.

For full article, see Korea Times.

How can Korea boost its software industry?

Korea may be known as an IT powerhouse, but its place in the global software industry remains decidedly modest. Korean software took up less than 2 percent of the global market last year. Even in the domestic market, more than 80 percent of software originates from abroad. In the view of the government, the monopolization of the market by chaebol affiliates, crowding out smaller players, is one of the main reasons for the relatively weak position of the local industry.

“We do not have a very healthy ecosystem in the domestic market,” Kwon Hyouk-woo, senior deputy director of the software division of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, told Voice. “We do need a very healthy and clean ecosystem where both large and small companies could exist together, but I think in Korea we do not have that, because (of) system integration affiliates of large conglomerates, such as Samsung SDS, LG CNS and SK C&C.”

Law revision

To address this, the National Assembly in May amended the Software Industry Promotion Act to disqualify large affiliates from procuring government contracts. The change will come into effect in January. The government also initiated the three-year World Best Software project in 2010, committing 160 billion won ($147 million) to supporting local businesses.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

Presidential candidates converge on science policy

The three major presidential candidates may differ on key policies but all believe that Korea’s future depends on science and technology for growth. Their policies in the field converge in many aspects, including plans to revive the ministry for science and technology, as well as increasing support for research and innovation.

The Saenuri Party’s Park Geun-hye has the most extensive agenda. An engineering graduate, she prioritizes developing the software industry, supporting start-ups and establishing the Creative Science Ministry. “We must lead Korea’s mid- to long-term growth based on knowledge (of science and technology),” she said on Oct. 17 when announcing the camp’s science and technology policy in Yeouido.

The Democratic United Party’s Moon Jae-in, a former human rights lawyer, suggested reviving the late President Roh Moo-hyun’s science policy with the potential science minister also holding the title of deputy prime minister. Roh had set up a science innovation unit under the wing of the science ministry. “Without science and technology development, there would also be no job creation,” Moon told the science community last month. 

For full article see Korea Herald.

Korea’s rebuilding itself on the Internet

When a nation goes from having no smartphones to having them almost everywhere in just three years, you naturally ask what difference it makes.

I came to Korea in October, with one theory about this: that this was another example of smartphones opening a country to the world. I left with a slightly different theory, that Korea ― especially its young people ― was already open to the world, the smartphones just made it easier for them to reach it and touch all of it at once. I was lucky enough to meet PSY and have an hour taking questions from students who had travelled from across Korea, who all showed a real desire to reach out and succeed across borders.

It’s only natural that they should pick the Internet to do that. Consumer electronics have been experiencing a global transition, and Korea is leading the way into what I see as the third wave of consumer electronics.

For the full article by Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman, see Korea Times.

SW industry develops the core technology of vertical farming

Since Professor Dickson Donald Despommie of the Public Health and Environmental Health Sciences Department at Columbia University established the concept of Vertical Farming, it has emerged as an alternative solution to food and farmland shortages. In 2009, he presented a blueprint saying that “a 30-story building can provide food for 50,000 people” when he attended an academic event in South Korea.

South Korea, taking advantage of it strengths in IT, BT, ET technologies, is stepping up its efforts to develop this area.

At a time where food self-sufficiency is on the decline every year in Korea, it is no surprise to see high expectations for Vertical Farming. For that reason, the Korean government considers it an alternative solution to addressing food shortages in the future, and is subsequently providing more investments in the area.

In 2009, the Rural Development Administration, in collaboration with Marine Research Institute developed and dispatched the Vertical Farm to the King Sejong Antarctic Station. It was Korea’s first government sponsored vertical farm. In 2011, the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (Seodun-dong, Kwonsun-gu, Suwon-city, Gyeonggi-do) under the Rural Development set up a vertical farm in a total floor area of 396 ㎡ designed for research.

For full article, see Korea IT Times.

Government Policy Trends in Korea’s Software R&D

The project called World Best Software (WBS) that is setting the stage for Korea to become a software power is currently in the final stage. It is not common for domestic software to be greeted in the global market with success. Even in the domestic market, over 80% of our software is controlled by foreign companies. For three years now the government has been working on WBS as a business-centered project, targeting the world market from the planning stage in order to break through the status quo of Korea’s software. Currently, Korea hasn’t created well-known global brands except for Samsung and LG. The large-scale project has been promoted so that domestic software companies can focus on research and development with a long-term prospective by reducing the burden to make short-term profits.

The WBS project was designed in consideration of various factors to improve the industrial competitiveness of our software companies including supporting the development by small- and medium-sized companies. It will be finished by 2013 after investing 160 billion won over the course of three years.

The WBS project is led by companies in order to create practical outcomes from the development. It allowed for the development of software that meets the market demand by letting individual companies participate in the development consortium. The National IT Industry Promotion Agency (Nipa) took charge of the quality control in all of the development stages. This was done to prevent a case where nobody pays attention to the development outcome in the market due to the hit-or-miss development practice, or having no management system in place. These measures are all for the sake of the development of quality software required in the global market. The project also motivated the development urge of software companies by granting the intellectual property rights resulting from the process of technology development to the actual software development companies rather than the agency in charge of the project. Each software company will be able to get the intellectual property for their share of development.

For full report see Korea IT Times.

Korea’s R&D in IT and biotech on the rise

Korea has been increasing its research and development projects in the fields of information and technology and biotechnology, spearheaded by 30 state-run agencies over the last three years, according to the National Science & Technology Commission.

R&D investment in software, renewable batteries and displays accounted for 19.4 percent of the total last year, up from 18.3 percent in 2009, the commission reported on Sunday.

Meanwhile, investment in the development of new drugs, and the welfare and medical industries accounted for 19 percent, up from 17.7 percent during the same period

For full article see Korea Herald.