Monday, December 27, 2021

Korea's economic journey in the OECD


A column contributed by Vincent Koen of the OECD provides a valuable sketch of Korea's economic progress since it joined the OECD in 1996.  (click on the graphic for a full size version) Particularly notable, as illustrated, is that Korea's GDP per capita surpassed that of Japan in 2020.  As reported by The Korea Times, the column notes that "The so-called "Miracle on the Han River" had transformed one of the world's poorest countries at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War into an economy where per-capita income matched that of some European countries. Nevertheless, it was still far below the OECD average in 1996. Over the past 25 years, Korea has carried out major economic reforms, aligned its policies on OECD best practices in many areas, increased its integration into the global economy and further enhanced its technological and human potential. GDP per capita converged to the OECD average and overtook Japan's, and Korea became the world's 10th-largest economy."

Controversy over "beep" sound for unvaccinated


As reported by The Korea Times, the government's proposal to introduce a "beep" sound for unvaccinated people into its mobile app is generating some controversy. (click on the graphic for a full size version)  The article notes that "Criticism is rising over the government's plan to introduce a warning sound function to the vaccine pass system to check the validity period of the permit and identify unvaccinated people. Critics say it could violate their human rights and lead to discrimination, treating unvaccinated people like shoplifters or criminals with electronic anklets. According to the Central Disease Control Headquarters, the 180-day validity period of a vaccine pass from the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will take effect on Jan. 3 at multiuse facilities including restaurants and cafes, a measure to encourage people to get booster shots."

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

A good year for Korean Internet companies

 As reported by the Korea Joongang Daily, Korea's major stock market index (KOSPI) indicates that Internet companies had a very good year in 2021. (click on graphic for a full size version)

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Hyundai Motors' micro-mobility initiative


Hyundai's purchase of the robotics company Boston Dynamics earlier this year spoke volumes about the company's long term goals for mobility technologies. Another indication of these goals comes with the announcement that Hyundai has developed a micro-mobility concept. (click on the graphic for a full size version).   As reported by the Korea Joongang Daily  "Hyundai Motor has developed a standard configuration small robotic systems, a mini version of its E-GMP, the base for most of the company's electronic vehicles. Mobile Eccentric Droid, or MobED, will weigh 50 kilograms (110 pounds), have a 2 kilowatt-hour battery and have four wheels with independent suspension and steering. It will be able to achieve speeds of 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) per hour and run for four hours on a single charge.  MobED will be able maintain a stable ride even on slopes or uneven roads."

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Korea's Covid vaccine pass system crashes

 On Monday of this week the Korean government initiated a vaccine pass system to limit access to restaurants, coffee shops and other establishments to those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID.  Unfortunately, as shown in the picture and widely reported in the local press, the system's servers crashed during the lunch and dinner hours due to the high traffic load.  As reported by the Korea Joongang Daily, "The country’s expanded vaccine pass system got off to a poor start Monday as it crashed around lunchtime because too many people were using it. The COOV app, which holds an official digital copy of Covid-19 vaccination records, was nonfunctional from around 11:40 a.m. to 1 p.m., preventing people from using it to gain access to facilities like restaurants and coffee shops.At around 6 p.m., the system again became very slow to load or nonfunctional.  Other apps connected to COOV for QR code verification such as Kakao, Naver and Toss Bank, also did not work, either leaving the QR Code screen blank or displaying a wrong vaccination status. "