Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Second edition of Digital Development in Korea published

I'm pleased to report that the second edition of Digital Development in Korea, sub-titled Lessons for a Sustainable World  has been published on schedule by Routledge. (click to see a full size version of the cover)  You can find out more about the book, including a Google Books preview, on the Routledge website here.  Another option among many is Amazon, at this hyperlink.
I've posted previously on some of the background for both editions of  this book and my reasons for working with Dr. Oh on it.  (see these posts)  The modern history of how Korea's ICT sector came to lead its economic development from 1980 to the present is a remarkable story.  Dr. Oh's willingness to work with me on telling this story will no doubt contribute to an accurate historical account.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Korean reaction to trade dispute with Japan

As shown in this chart published by Statista, (click on it for a full size version) the Korean public has had an immediate and overwhelmingly negative response to Japan's announcement of restrictions on the export to Korea of materials essential for the manufacture of semiconductors, displays and smart phones. Japan controls a dominant share of the global market for these materials, while the Korean companies  have a similar dominant presence in the global market for semiconductors (Samsung and SK Hynix), displays (Samsung and LG) and smart phones (Samsung, LG).  Consequently, the dispute could have a big negative effect on global supply chains for these essential electronics products. 
As reported by Statista,"According to reporting by The Korea Times and The Guardian, supermarkets and travel agents in South Korea reported sales losses from around 10 percent for Japanese Natto, a fermented soybean product, up to a decrease of 70 percent in travel bookings from Korea to Japan. Half of those who have booked a Japanese vacation are also currently canceling.
Some stores in Korea have cleared their shelves of Japanese products altogether and there have been reports of gas stations refusing to fill up Japanese model cars. Beer was also on the hitlist, with shops reporting sales losses of up to 40 percent for Japanese companies."

Monday, July 15, 2019

Japan trade dispute reveals risks of over-dependence on ICT hardware manufacturing

On July 1 Japan announced that it would tighten restrictions on the export to Korea of three materials that are essential for the manufacture of semiconductors, displays and smart phones.  The materials are are fluorinated polyimide, high-purity hydrogen fluoride, and photoresist.  As widely reported in the Korean press, Japan controls a dominant share of the global market for  these materials.
Regardless of how this trade dispute may be resolved, it illustrates a topic of concern in this blog, namely Korea's heavy dependence on manufacture and export of hardware versus software and services.  For example, see these posts.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Naver hires MIT professor Kim Sangbae: Naver Labs in the robotics industry

As reported in the Korea Joongang Daily, Naver Labs has hired MIT professor Kim Sangbae as a technical consultant.  Readers of this blog will know that I met and first posted in 2009 about Mr. Kim's role in the creation of a Gecko-like robot called "Stickybot." (see earlier posts here)  According to the Korea Joongang Daily article, Professor Kim will be advising on a range of possibilities, including the use of bio-mimetic robots to analyze location data and help in drawing high definition 3D maps for autonomous vehicles.  Congratulations to both Naver and Prof. Kim!