The Korea IT Times held an interview with Cho Sung-Kap, president of International Cooperation Agency for Korea IT (ICA) at the Ministry of the Information and Communication to discover the agency's aims, its involvement with the 'IT 839 project.' Following are excerpts from the interview.
Q: How important is the 'IT839 project' in economic terms
|Cho Sung-Kap |
President of International Cooperation Agency for Korea IT (ICA)
A: We at ICA call the 'IT 839 project the'IT 8392 project. This is because we believe the goal of achieving a national per capita income of US$20,000 begins with the project.
As you know, Korea lacks in natural resources, land and population. In addition, as recently as four to five years ago, not much could come into mind when people overseas spoke of Korea. Despite such shortcomings, however, Korea was able to record US$245 billion in exports in 2004, a remarkable advance since it posted just US$100 million in annual exports three decades ago.
Moreover, the nation has won official recognition from the OECD that it ranks top for its competitive strength in exports in the IT sector. I believe that from now on we have to embark on a mission to ensure the IT industry acts as an engine of growth in bringing national per capita GDP to betweenUS$20,000 and 30,000.
Q: What steps and measures should be taken to revamp the nation's IT industry
A: First of all, I think we should have a capitalistic mindset, upholding market principles. Even though China, for instance, is a communist state, the Chinese people are much closer to market-oriented thinking. To put it differently, if there is someone who is more able to perform a given task, he or she can garner respect for their performance despite their age, gender or background. Likewise, I think that we can overcome our handicaps in terms of natural resources, land and population, only when we are armed with this sense of morality and capitalistic mindset.
Secondly, I hope that our two million professionals in the IT industry keep in mind that the people we are competing with in China are businessmen, a powerful resource numbering about 60 million and who have this capitalistic mindset, and incomes of up to US$100,000, as well.
This again reminds us of their strength and we should straighten our minds all the more, and devote our energies in the development of products and take every precaution in our operations. Even such efforts, however, do not guarantee our success.
Q: What role can ICA play to consolidate Korea's status as a world IT powerhouse
A: Today, national IT exports are characterized by being centered on a limited number of items, such as semiconductors, cellular phones and TFT-LCDs, from mostly large conglomerates in particular regions. Game software and other digital contents, for instance, occupy a mere two to three percent of the total. Moreover, IT exports by large conglomerates account for more than 70 percent of the total amount.
To counter this imbalance, the ICA is concentrating its efforts to give assistance to small and medium-size IT companies whose lack of personnel resources, capital and software make it difficult for them to have easy access to invaluable information in a rapidly changing market.
By forging networks through diversified routes, our job is to provide quality information as much as we can so that companies can diversify cooperative relations and concentrate on seeking opportunities overseas. This, I believe, is the most important task we should be actively engaged in.
Until recently, it had been difficult to properly evaluate any achievement made by those working at the government or its agencies. These days, however, it is a different story, given the sophistication of achievement measuring systems. With this in mind, we at ICA are ready to work on a pay-by-performance basis to support the private sector in achieving its goals.
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