South Korea is leading the tech world in R&D investment and a slew of other IT categories, according to OECD's Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2015 report, announced on Monday at the start of an international ICT confab, south of Seoul.
The OECD examined about 40 countries around the world. Compared to hefty R&D investments, South Korea has a medium score in the number of papers published in scientific journals over a 10 year period, ranking 12th on the scoreboard beneath Australia, with the United States and China ranked way out in front.
South Korea did not score so well for international science cooperation either; slightly lower than the worldwide average.
But South Korea is still dominant in nearly a dozen "disruptive technologies" (radically innovative methods that can disrupt existing IT sectors), including data transmission and human interface technology -- the tech basis of the frequently touted Internet of Things.
Between 2010 and 2012, South Korea accounted for 14.1 percent of the international patents registered worldwide in the fields of the IoT, big data, quantum computing, and telecommunications.
South Korea's R&D investment-to-GDP ratio doubled over the past two decades to 4.15 percent from 2.2 percent in 1995. The OECD average was 2.4 percent.
The country's weight in cutting edge materials and nanotechnology, such as graphene, meta-materials, and wearable tech, grew to 21 percent during the same period.
"Korea is ready for next-generation innovation in production by equipping them with intensive manufacturing fields, high performance workforces with technical skills, and some corporations' leading global technologies," said Andrew W. Wyckoff, director of OECD's Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).
OECD defined "next generation innovations" as those that could fundamentally change existing production methods, resulting from such convergence technologies as IoT, 3D printing, biotech, and nanotechnology.