Korean business hoping for ID cards in the UK

Samsung's software division, fresh from involvement in Korea's national ID system, has arrived in Europe hoping to get involved in the proposed UK scheme

Samsung Data Systems, the software subsidiary of the giant Korean manufacturer, has set up business in Europe, aiming at small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as at the public sector. One of its biggest opportunities could be a national ID scheme, if the home secretary, David Blunkett, decides to go ahead with proposals to introduce one. Streamed video: Korean companies at Comdex talk about their plans Although Korea's smartcard-based national ID scheme is regarded as a failure due to its unpopularity with the public, Samsung believes its involvement with the technical side will stand it in good stead if the UK government proceeds with the idea of a smartcard ID system containing digitised fingerprints, photo, name and address. After a year operating quietly from premises in Brentford, it is formally launching in Europe at CeBIT this year. Bucking the business climate, SDS is hiring people, as well as looking for partners: "We have 80 people now, and want to have 150 to 160 by the end of 2002," said Hamid Sabet, marketing director, EMEA. If the UK pushes ahead with a national ID scheme, the company hopes for a key role: "There will be a $2bn opportunity if it happens," said J H Park, business development director. SDS would be able to capitalise on its experience building Korea's own national ID system, he explained. The company did $21m worth of business in Europe last year, about half of which was supplying other Samsung businesses, who operate at arm's length, explained Sabet. The company dealt with SMEs and the public sector before the collapse of the telecoms sector made them fashionable again, he added. It specialises in ERP, smartcard systems, medical imaging, business intelligence and CAD.


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