Friday, September 18, 2020

ICT: the engine of Korea's export-led economy


This blog and my research in recent years have documented the role of the ICT sector (Information and Communications Technology Sector) in Korea's transformation from a developing country to a world leader in digital networks and related technologies. In simple terms, the ICT sector refers to the digital technologies that have dramatically changed the human ability to store, compute and communicate digital (think 1s and 0s as in Boolean algebra) information.   ICT exports played a key role in this transformation, as these posts show.  The graphic at left (click for a full-size version) was published in January 2020 by The Korea Herald.  The ICT exports represented in this graphic include semiconductors, displays, smart phones and an array of other digital products.  Among these sub-sectors of the ICT sector, semiconductors play a special role as the basic building blocks for digital networks and related technologies. 

 The second graphic at left, published in The Korea Herald,  shows where South Korea's exports of semiconductors went.  Especially if China and Hong Kong are combined, the graphic clearly shows the spectacular rise of China as a manufacturing powerhouse for the world and its special importance to Korea.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Samsung- Verizon 5G network equipment mega-deal

 Korea's long term investment in building 5G networks is beginning to pay off, as indicated by the large contract signed by Samsung with Verizon to provide network equipment.  As reported by The Korea Joongang Daily  "Under the contract, Samsung Electronics America will provide, install and maintain network equipment, mostly for 5G, for five years through December 2025."  It is the largest contract for network equipment ever signed by a Korean company, totalling $6.6 billion.   Verizon is the world's largest wireless company and the U.S. market accounts for approximately 20 to 25 percent of global network equipment demand.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Korea still a leader in mobile network speeds

 OpenSignal published an interesting report in August entitled "Benchmarking the global 5G user experience."   These two charts from the report show that South Korea is still a world leader in the speed of its networks.   The first one compares selected countries on the average download speed considering use of both 4G and 5G networks.   The second chart (below) separately depicts the average download speeds for both 4G and 5G.  (Click on each graphic to see a full-size version.)

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Speed and digital technology in Korea's fight against COVID-19

I've commented frequently over the years on the importance of speed in digital networks.  Speed can refer to download speeds on mobile or fiber optic networks, processing speed in computers, mobile phones and data centers, and so forth.  Korea today possesses some of the world's fastest digital networks and has built e-government and big data while using these networks.  The speed of networks and data processing here has proven to be a significant advantage for Korea in fighting COVID-19.   The Korea Times, in collaboration with The Korea Foundation, is publishing a five part series on Korea's response to the Covid pandemic.  The latest installment, entitled "Korea's ICT, AI, Biotech shine in virus crisis" makes it clear that fast, state-of-the-art digital technologies are a key enabler of fast contract tracing, public education and related efforts to contain the virus.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

QR code innovation in Korea's battle against Covid-19

Korea has recently expanded the use of QR codes in its multi-pronged use of digital technologies to combat Covid-19.  The Asia Times has an excellent article by Andrew Salmon explaining and placing in context this nationwide deployment of a QR-code system.