Korean Govt puts money where voice is

The Korean Information and Communication ministry wants some bang for the buck as it intends to invest US$78 million to spur thevoice-activated data processing industry.

SEOUL - The Korean government wants to play technology catch up with the rest of the industrialized world and it's focusing on the voice-activated data processing industry as one of its hurdles.

"Since there is little technology gap between South Korea and advanced countries in the industrial sector, an intensive investment in the industry could bring remarkable growth in the software market at home and abroad," according to ministry spokesperson.

The Ministry of Information and Communication announced Thursday that it will spend 100 billion won (US$78.9 million) over a three-year period to grow the nation's voice-activated data processing industry. At stake is an industry expected to expand to US$74 billion in 2004 from US$6.5 billion as of last year.

The ministry will invest 70 billion won ($55 million) to nurture R&D efforts of voice information service providers. Part of the expense will also go into establishing a research center under the control of the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute(ETRI).

The growth of core voice data processing technologies will benefit university reseach institutes as a total of US$17.5 million has been set aside.

In order to bring public relevance to the technology, a further US$4.7 million) will go toward a public-accessible voice information data base jointly developed by ETRI and Korea Telecom.