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Korea is looking to establish a test bed of radio frequency identification (RFid) tag technologies at Inchon's Songdo, a region tapped as a potential high-tech hub. An RFid tag is a small integrated-circuit chip, which is expected to revolutionize the distribution industry in the not-so-distant future by replacing current bar codes. The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) on Sunday said it plans to foster an RFid cluster at Songdo, which will house manufacturers of RFid tags, sensors and readers. With this vision in mind, Information-Communication Minister Chin Dae-je has gone all-out of late to attract offshore investment in the electronic tag sector during a series of meetings with senior officials of foreign firms. During last week's meeting with Patrick Gelsinger, chief technology officer of Intel, Chin asked the U.S.-headquartered chipmaker to set up RFid research facilities at the envisioned Songdo cluster. Earlier this month, the minister met with Bill Owens, CEO of Nortel Networks, and Edward Zander, head of Motorola, and encouraged them to join the initiative. In response, Zander promised the world's second-biggest mobile phone maker would dispatch its RFid team to Korea soon, according to the MIC. In a related move, U.S.-based computer giant HP also opened a research and development center, named Korea Development Center, in Seoul this month to study the RFid segment. RFid chips consist of a radio circuit and an imbedded identification code that can be scanned from a distance, even through walls. The leading-edge technology has already been under commercial use in the fields of livestock tracking, highway toll collection and premium product manufacturing. However, the radio tag technology is expected to fully take off in the next four or five years especially in the retail industries. Then the RFid will change our daily lives in a dramatic fashion. For example, if the electronic tags are attached to items, people will not have to queue up at counters, waiting for cashiers to check each product's bar code one by one. Instead, the total bill will be calculated automatically as soon as people pass through the Rfid tag scanners at the exit of the supermarket or discount chains. Recognizing the upside potential of the new technology, the MIC included it as one of the so-called 839 strategies, a bold roadmap of the government designed to preempt future markets. The ministry projected RFid tags and related businesses would generate 18.2 trillion won in industrial production locally by 2010. The nation plans to spend 162.6 billion won through 2010 to develop the technology.