Korea's reputation as an IT infrastructure superpower has been shaken. Rival countries such as Japan and China have started to catch up with Korea in next-generation IT infrastructure construction; furthermore these nations have elbowed out Korea in the computerization drive, ringing alarm bells in the local industry.
Korea led competitors in such IT infrastructure sectors as high-speed Internet services and mobile phone subscriber pools. According to data from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Korea topped the list of high-speed Internet distribution ratios of countries in the world. The British government, various academic circles and the media have suggested benchmarking Korean industry in order to become leaders in the high-speed Internet service world. Nobody can deny that Korea has acted as a testbed for a variety of advanced IT devices and services.
But now, Korea is on the verge of losing its reputation as an "IT superpower" to rivals which have lagged behind in technological power. Japan has started building FTTH (fiber-to-the-home)-based next generation networks ahead of any rivals. Korea's slump is primarily due to failure to make timely investments in next-generation devices or efforts to enhance technological sophistication, instead resting on aging laurels.
It is true that the IT industry is still buttressing the Korean economy and will do so for the time being. But it is critical for the government and the citizens to pay double the attention to this strategic industry if it is tol spur the nation to greater heights.
Below, we report on the status of various IT industry sectors - and forecast their futures.