Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Sewol Ferry tragedy and digital technologies

For those who wish to understand the full impact of the tragic sinking of the Sewol Ferry in April of 2014, the half-hour film by Yi Seung-jun is must viewing.  It was published by The New Yorker as a documentary episode in 2019 and has also received wider distribution on YouTube.  Consequently, this post is long overdue.
 The film presents the tragic event as a chronological documentary that is truly heart-wrenching, but necessary viewing for those who want to better understand the Sewol tragedy and its influence on Korea's politics and digital development  Those of you who may have followed earlier posts on this blog (which can be reviewed at this link) will benefit from viewing the film. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Korea's exports surge 34.9 percent in August


As reported by The Korea Joongang Daily and other local media, Korea's exports grew by about 35 percent in August, with semiconductor chips leading the way.  As noted in the article, "August’s exports were led by semiconductor exports, up 43 percent year-on-year to $11.7 billion as demand for computer chips remained strong.  Exports of semiconductors in August hit a record. Semiconductor exports increased for 14 consecutive months, and the rate of increase has been double digit for five months."  Other ICT sector exports or products heavily influenced by digitalization played a role in this pattern.  "Wireless telecommunication equipment exports were up 62.2 percent year-on-year to $1.4 billion helped along by the rollout of new phones.  Exports from new industries, including those involved in the making of electric vehicles (EV) and biopharmaceuticals, were strong. EV exports surged 130.8 percent, while biopharmaceutical exports grew 17.1 percent."  Clearly digital technologies and industries that depend on them are the primary engine of this nation's export led economy. 

Monday, August 2, 2021

Korea's exports surge during COVID, led by semiconductors

 As reported widely in the Korean press, Korea's exports surged during the COVID pandemic to date, with the main export being semiconductors.  As reported by The Korea Times, in July the nation's exports reached their highest level since 1956.  The pattern during the COVID outbreak is shown in the accompanying figure (click for a full-size version).   Automobile exports also contributed to this export success, as noted in The Korea Times article. " Overseas chip sales rose 39.6 percent to $11 billion on growing demand from data centers. Automobile exports also rose 26.4 percent year-on-year in July to $4.1 billion, backed by easing automotive chip shortages, as well as higher sales of high-end models, including in sport utility vehicles and electric cars."

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Mobile ID cards in Korea by 2025

 As reported by Yonhap and other local news media, the Korean government plans to introduce mobile ID cards by 2025.  As reported, "The planned introduction of mobile ID cards and other measures are included in the government's second five-year basic plan for the electronic government released by the Ministry of the Interior and Safety. The ministry presented "A good world opened by digital" as the vision of the basic e-government plan. The plan calls for raising the digital conversion rate of major public services to 80 percent and the cloud computing conversion rate of the administrative and public sector to 100 percent by 2025. Specifically, the use of electronic certificates, mobile identify verification and simple authentication will be expanded, the ministry said. In particular, the mobile driver's license, which will be introduced late this year, is expected to enable convenient identification both online and offline, it said."

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Korea leads world in reliable 5G download speeds

 A recent analysis by OpenSignal showed that Korea leads the world in the download speeds that can be reliably expected by 5G users. (click on the graphic for a full size version)  Reliable speed is the average speed that 90% of all users exceed.

The second graphic, below, shows the reliable download speeds for all 20 countries included in the Opensignal report.  Korea's 5G speeds are followed, in order, by those in Taiwan, Finland, and Australia.