"As the story of the man who nailed one nail in a palace went on to claim that he built the palace, each small software company that is successful could say that they created the Korean software industry," said Director Chung Suk-kyun of Software Industry Division Information and Communication Policy Bureau.
Although Korea has been struggling in the software industry due to lack of labor and competitiveness, the growth rate of software has been continuously increasing. Korea is well aware of the importance of the software industry. Software has been used in cost analysis of many areas including 52.4% of the car industry and 54.3% of the cell phone industry. Most modern technologies and inventions require intelligent software.
Further statistics showed that software adds 28.7% more value to a product and creates 24.4% employees per 1 billion dollars. It is about time for Korean software companies to hit dae bak, a Korean word for big hit or success. "We are hoping for software companies to be kept on encouraged until any of them hit the dae bak. And we feel that it is us, the government's role to provide an encouraging environment for 7,000 software companies in Korea from small to big," the Director said. What have been the negative factors to the improvement of the software industry
Director Chung Suk-kyun started by saying: "America is a strong software country. Obviously, people won't stop using Excel and adapt to new software each time a similar one is out. Always the best remains in the market and the rest fade away." That would be the case of the programs Hangul and Word Perfect. Director Chung continued: "Frankly, software development is a long process. And therefore, it is difficult for one man to take charge and start something.
Because it takes patience not only for one who leads in the line, but also those in the back who follow the steps, or sitting back to see what are being done. At this point, Korea lacks labor, technology, and quality in the software industry. People don't jump into the software industry easily, seeking its weakly gleaming vision. And therefore, it takes extra hours and energy to develop a bit of technology and quality of software."
"Another factor," Director Chung added, "is the monopolization of the big software companies." When a government or big firms need software, it is convenient for both of them to deal with one software company who is professional enough to design and create suitable software for them, and continue to manage the programs for them.
Because of this, most government buildings and firms have been dealing with a few topline companies. Director Chung commented on this: "Fair competition must take a place. The solution to this was open bidding on government software development projects. It basically gives the hidden yet competitive companies a fair chance to compete against big companies with only their merits." Throughout the open bidding, the quality of software products will increase, the process will be clear, and these factors will contribute to the improvement of software. "It just toughens the government officials because now we actually have to go through each project and evaluate, but we have to persevere. They did their part, so it is our part to put up with extra work for the good of all," Director Chung showed his philosophy as a government official.
It is true that software market has been a black box as Director Chung described during the interview. "Anyone who has great potential should be given a chance.
Chances to enter the market, interact with many companies, and grow to develop into a global company." The Director said that natural circulation should be made to trim down 7,000 software-related companies, leaving the best ones to compete with each other. And once the chance is given, the companies with potential should grasp a chance to go to the next level. The new policy raised the profit margin from 10% to 25% for the software companies. Also, the participating cost was raised from US$500 million to US$1 billion. Director Chung's last vision is for small and medium sized companies to have the spirit to bet on innovative software Samsung once had to have for their semiconductors.