In an interview with Korea IT Times, Minister Chin said, "The government has mapped out the IT839 strategy to help the domestic IT industry bolster its international competitiveness and preoccupy the new market with advanced technology."
Noting that the IT839 strategy means a new project for national development, Minister Chin said, "We plan to newly introduce and activate eight kinds of services and offer growth momentum and advanced services to the communication, broadcasting, and service markets." The eight services are WiBro service, DMB service, home network service, telematics service, RFID-based service, W-CDMA service, terrestrial digital TV, and Internet Telephony (VoIP).
"Along with this, we will build three infrastructures broadband convergence network (BcN), ubiquitous sensor network (USN) and next-generation Internet protocol (Ipv6) to back up the offering of services and attract large-scale facility investment in the IT sector," said the minister.
"At the same time, we will strengthen the competitiveness of the nine new growth engines to make Korean-made products in the IT industry top-class ones in the world." he said. The nine new growth engines are nextgeneration mobile communications, digital TV, home network, IT SoC, next-generation PC, embedded SW, digital contents, telematics, and intelligent service robot.
Commenting that the domestic IT industry is able to enjoy a remarkable development through the IT839 strategy, Minister Chin said, "The nation can achieve $20,000 in per capita gross domestic product (GDP) if the domestic IT industry succeeds in reinforcing the international competitiveness." Asked about the status of IT industries in Japan and China, Minister Chin said, "Japan has a merit in terms of original technology, and China is growing at a rapid pace based on its huge market volume and active introduction of foreign technology and capital."
Noting that both competitive factors and mutually supplementary factors are being mixed in the IT industries of the three countries South Korea, Japan, and China, the minister said, "Accordingly, a policy, which mixed competition and cooperation factors of the three countries, should come out. For instance, we can expect mutual synergy effects by combining Japan's origin technology, China's market and assembly & processing technology, and Korea's application technology and test bed environment."
At the same time, the three countries need to closely cooperate in the new service, infrastructure, and industrial sectors through cooperative channels, including a meeting of IT ministers from the three countries in order to bolster their competitiveness in the technology and standard fields, he stressed. On the ITU Telecom Asia 2004 to be held in Busan from Sept. 7-11, Minister Chin said, "A total of 55 companies, including Sewon Teletech, Chongho Information and Communications Co., and Danam, will participate in the international event concerning information and communications."
"In particular, we will operate Korea Pavilion during the ITU event to introduce high-tech goods produced by Korea's small and medium-sized IT companies to foreign visitors and enhance the value of the national brand," he said. Most items to be displayed at Korea Pavilion are those in the mobile communication, broadcasting, software, Internet, and game sectors.
Pointing out that about 70.8% of the total IT companies in the country are located in the metropolitan area, Minister Chin said that the concentration phenomenon in the IT industry is somewhat excessive.
"Without development of provincial regions, however, it is difficult to expect the national competitiveness in an era of knowledge informatization and globalization. Accordingly, the ministry will actively push for various measures to help the IT industry serve as a growth engine for the regional economy," he said.
Related to this, the ministry will establish "regional IT cooperation study centers" in the nation's major four regions, including Gangwon Province, South Chungcheong Province, and Jeju Province, as a means of activating joint study about the IT business among the industrial, academic and research circles in the provincial regions.
After conducting a survey of 17,983 smaller IT companies in the country, the ministry will map out proper measures to strengthen their competitiveness and supply ASP to 1 million smaller companies through a low-price rental method until 2008.
The ministry will also complete construction of super-speed networks for 240,000 households in agricultural and fishery regions by 2007 as part of its project to narrow information gap between metropolitan and provincial regions, he added.
Q: It was learned that the Ministry of Information and Communication plans to operate Korea Pavilion at Busan ITU Telecom Asia 2004. Would you comment on the number of participating companies, standards of selection, operating means, and anticipated impact
A total of 55 companies, including Sewon Teletech, Chongho Information and Communications Co., and Danam, will participate in the Busan ITU Telecom Asia 2004. In particular, we are arranging Busan Pavilion separately for small and medium-sized IT companies in Busan, the venue of the international IT event. We selected the participants from those with advanced technology related to information and communication or great potential for growth in the future.
Main fields to be displayed are mobile communication, broadcasting, software, Internet, and game. In particular, we will introduce up-to-date technologies of domestic smaller companies, including head set, a product applying Bluetooth wireless technology, Bluetooth USB, satellite two-way multimedia communication system, digital pen, mobile game, and multimedia contents.
Along with this, we will build a two-floor exhibition hall on a space of 1,701 square meters, which will house 20 exhibition booths, IT PR zone, and a consulting room. The IT PR zone was built to introduce the ministry's "IT839 Strategy" and the future of the domestic IT industry. At the same time, we will receive HD-class video from Europe and the U.S. and demonstrate it on high definition TV with LCD monitor at Korea Pavilion, boasting that South Korea is the best in the world in terms of the video transmission field. Through operation of Korea Pavilion, the government will introduce advanced products of domestic smaller companies and build a foundation to actively advance into overseas markets, while promoting the value of the national brand.
Q: The Busan ITU Telecom event is expected to greatly contribute to the regional development. On the occasion of this international event, would you explain the ministry's policy for development of regional IT industry
The size of the nation's metropolitan area accounts for a mere 11.8percent of the entire national land. However, 46.3percent of the total population, 88.5percent of headquarters of the top 30 large companies, and 100percent of the central government agencies are located in the metropolitan area. Considering this, the concentration status of the nation's pivotal function and an economic power has reached a serious level. In case of the IT industry, in particular, 70.8% of total IT companies are located in the metropolitan area and 69percent of the total production has been concentrated on the region, showing an excessive concentration phenomenon, compared with other industries. However, in an era of knowledge information and globalization, it is difficult to attain competitiveness of the state without development of provincial regions.
To help the IT industry serve as a growth engine for regional economy, the ministry plans to extend various supports to strengthen R&D activities and actively foster talented people in the IT sector in provincial regions.
At the same time, the ministry will operate 11 software supporting centers and eight soft towns in provincial regions to actively foster the software industry and achieve balanced development between regions. The software supporting center will be established in Ulsan, Masan, Pohang, Gangnung, North Chungcheong Province, Mokpo, Jeju, Ansan, Anyang, Goyang, and Yongin, and the soft town will be built in Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, Chuncheon, Daejeon, Jeonju, Incheon, and Seoul.
Q: Would you make an appraisal of the IT industries of Japan and China, major trading rivals of South Korea, and comment on the nation's strategy to cope with the competition from then quarters
Japan has a merit in terms of origin technology, and China is growing at a rapid pace by making the best use of its huge market, and technology and capital introduced from foreign countries. I think that the IT industries of the three countries possess both competitive factors and mutual supplementary factors simultaneously. As a result, I think it is needed to introduce a policy mixing competition and cooperation.
For instance, Japan's original technology, China's huge market and assembly processing technology, and South Korea's application technology are in a complementary relation, which can expect mutual synergy effects. Accordingly, we will place the emphasis on strengthening competitiveness to develop new technology and preoccupy new markets through the "IT839 Strategy."
Q: We learned that the government has introduced a catchphrase to realize the $20,000 era of per capita GDP through broadband IT. Would you explain the "IT839 Strategy," a core project to increase per capita GDP
In a nutshell, the IT839 strategy is a project for national development. Through the strategy, we will introduce and activate eight kinds of new services and offer growth momentum to the communication and broadcasting service markets, as well as providing advanced services.
The ministry will also build three major infrastructures to back up the offering of services and attract massive facility investment in the IT sector. By supporting the eight new services and strengthening the competitiveness of the nine IT new growth engines based on three infrastructures, the government will foster the nation's IT industry as the No. 1 industry in the world.
Through the IT839 strategy, we will achieve the nation's economic development and promote quality of Korean people's living, while attaining the long-cherished dream of the $20,000 era in terms of per capita GDP.