South Korea to invest $350 million in IoT smart device makers

The government's investment plans follow South Korean official's beliefs that the country's tech industries have been slowing.
Written by Philip Iglauer, Contributor on

The South Korean government will invest in $350 million in some 300 companies it thinks can compete globally in the next four years, to develop an IoT ecosystem with inter-linked "smart devices".

Officials from two key government ministries, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning; and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, revealed the South Korean investment plan during an IT conference in Seoul on Tuesday.

South Korean officials believe the country's traditional tech industries have been slowing down this year, in their view raising the need to find new growth engines, such as wearables and IoT devices to compete internationally.

The world's smartphone market is expected to grow 8.9 percent on-year in 2015, significantly slowing from 51.7 percent posted in 2011.

East Asia's third largest economy does not want to get left behind as telecommunication technology is poised to open a new generation of smart devices with IoT. South Korea is looking to cultivate this new generation by developing an IoT ecosystem that can link up myriad household items, even houses themselves, and other everyday items to make them smart devices.

IoT works as devices communicate with each other and with us, relaying important information. Intel recently estimated that the number of such devices will grow from 2 billion in 2006 to 200 billion in 2020.

Officials from the two key ministries said South Korea will make sure that 10 core components and modules for smart devices will be available for 1,000 future products by 2019.

It also seeks to foster as many as 10,000 experts and help local firms find opportunities overseas. South Korea aims to have IoT-related tech available for the apparel, home appliance, healthcare, and other "old tech" industries to embrace the Internet of Things.

It will also push conglomerate-level firms to open their IoT platforms to smaller players, and beef up cooperation among different companies in the market.

Source: ZDNet Korea (zdnet.co.kr)

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