“As China’s moves to diversify away from data solutions developed by global software giants,
like IBM, Oracle and EMC (which have thus far enjoyed dominant market positions in China) have gotten off the ground, Korean-made data solutions are now given the opportunity to gain ground in China.
Thus, the Korea Database Agency (KoDB) is keen on forging close cooperative relations with China to soup up the exchange of data technologies between the two nations,” says. KoDB President Seo Kang-soo tells The Korea IT Times that the KoDB is working on laying the foundations for exporting homegrown data solutions to China in anticipation of a rise in China’s demand for Korean data solutions.
As part of the KoDB’s such efforts, the 2015 Korea-China Data Business Day was held on May 20-21. At the event, Korean developers of data solutions, such as WareValley, Encore, WiSe i Tech, Altibase, Cubrid, Saltlux, Databank Systems and Banet Information Technology, held various one-on-one business meetings with Chinese customers.
What’s more, as several Korean solution developers and Chinese R&D institutes had discussions on projects, in which custom-tailored multifunctional product lines are jointly developed and marketed in China under a co-branding agreement, things were looking up for Korean software companies’ entry into the Chinese market.
The following are the excerpts from KoDB President Seo Kang-soo’s interview with The Korea IT Times.
Q: The data solution sector is not so much conglomerate-driven as SME-driven. Do you have any program to support business projects utilizing data
A: Unlike large companies, SMEs and venture firms are having difficulty utilizing, analyzing data and managing data experts. To address this, we are planning on diverse support programs. A case in point is our voucher program whereby those who cannot afford to take advantage of data will be given financial support.
As our society has a range of voucher programs for the unprivileged (e.g. culture vouchers, welfare vouchers, travel vouchers), we plan to adopt this voucher system to partially fund SMEs’ purchase of data solutions and thus help them make use of data.
In addition, we plan to embark on the development of an application programming interface (API) so as to facilitate the distribution and utilization of data held by companies and entrepreneurs.
Q: The data industry’s most important infrastructure boils down to human resources. What’s your support for nurturing data talent
A: In the past, data was what we had to accumulate. Today, data is transitioning into something that we have to capitalize on. Hence we have witnessed demands for big data analysts surging across all industries.
In order to meet the surging demand, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) and the KoDB had set up Big Data Academy in 2013. Since then, Big Data Academy has produced 403 big data experts. This year, we also plan to nurture 200 into experts in big data technologies and to train people to become data experts for each promising industry.
Furthermore, we have been running a technical qualification examination system in the categories of database design, development and analytics, with a view to evaluating the capabilities of data experts we produce.
Q: We’ve heard that the recently-created Gangwon Creative Economy Innovation Center will serve as a go-between for the distribution of paid big data services in connection with online data marketplace “Data Store,” run by the KoDB. Could you elaborate on that
A: As of May of 2015, Data Store, the largest data open market in the nation, boasts nearly 4,000 subscribers and distributes approximately 2,200 data products. The number of online data transactions surpasses 1,140. Above all, we’ve seen the private sector achieving a variety of results by using the data distributed on Data Store. For example, bike helmets, custom-tailored map curation services and air quality monitoring services are all born out of the utilization of data provided by Data Store.
On top of that, Data Store is working towards greater interoperability with private data marketplaces (e.g. KT’s API Store and SK Telecom’s Big Data Hub) in order to grow into a data portal that offers access to all the data available in the nation. The connection of Data Store to Gangwon Creative Economy Innovation Center’s big data portal, we believe, would create the nation’s largest big data distribution platform, which can stand on a par with other global data distribution platforms around the world.
Once such a big data distribution platform has been set up, it can spur up the creation of start-ups by encouraging wannabe entrepreneurs to develop creative services based on data. And it also can serve as a driving force behind the government’s manufacturing industry 3.0 innovation strategy and policy for the promotion of starting businesses that can create new service industries.
Q: What’s the focus of the KoDB’s business this year
A: Under the vision “Turning S. Korea into a data superpower that is commensurate with its reputation as the world’s ICT infrastructure powerhouse,” we are pressing ahead with various policies for the promotion of the data industry. Our focus is on projects designed to revitalize data distribution, create businesses, transform Korean data developers into global companies and nurture data talent with practical skills.
As aforementioned, in cooperation with not only public institutions but also with private telecom operators, we will make Data Store interoperate with various online data marketplaces, therefore revitalizing public-private data distribution and utilization.
In the future, we will expand Data Store into an open-source data platform where individuals, companies and public institutions can upload their data and trade in them by themselves.
The DB Stars, a program designed to promote data-based start-ups, will be held this year too to discover excellent data utilization services and support the commercialization of such services. Last year, a total of 13 companies applied for the DB Stars, of which six companies received KRW 5.3 billion in investment. The KoDB will continue to proactively unearth and support promising start-ups, packed with great growth potential.
As regards our efforts to grow Korean data solution developers into global companies, we will discover Korean companies armed with great database technologies and spare no efforts in helping them move beyond the domestic market and prove their worth in the global market. To ensure Korean data-based venture firms’ successful entry into overseas markets, we plan to conduct researches on the Chinese market and assist them in turning their products into exportable ones and in launching overseas marketing campaigns. Yet the Chinese market is not our sole target. We also plan to pay the way for Korean data companies to make forays into developing nations showing an interest in Korean data technologies.
Last but not the least, data experts are 'salt and light' to the data industry. To nurture data talent, the KoDB will donate homegrown data solutions to universities in order to help them improve their data education infrastructures. Furthermore, we will continue to run our Big Data Academy to meet surging demand for big data experts.
By Yeon Choul-woong