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.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Kakao now Korea's third most valuable firm


As reported by Yonhap, Kakao recently surpassed Naver to become Korea's third most valuable firm.(Click on the graphic showing Kakao's headquarters in Jeju for a full size version) As reported by Yonhap, "Kakao Corp. has an insatiable appetite for platform businesses, spanning messenger, e-commerce, mobility, content and finance, and now it has earned another title: South Korea's third-most valuable company."  As of June 15, "Kakao's shares rose 1.4 percent to close at a record high of 144,500 won (US$129) on Tuesday, extending its winning streak to a seventh day. Its market capitalization stood at 64.1 trillion won, taking the No. 3 spot following two chip giants -- Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc."  Furthermore, "While the nation's top two platform operators were once content to stay in their own competitive fields -- Naver in portal and Kakao in messenger -- they are now competing on multiple fronts, including e-commerce, mobile payment, content and finance."

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Strong ICT exports in May 2021


As reported by The Korea Herald, "South Korea's exports of information and communication technology (ICT) products rose around 30 percent last month, data showed Monday, thanks to strong demand for semiconductors, displays and mobile phones amid signs of a global economic recovery from the pandemic-induced slump. Outbound shipments of ICT products were tallied at $17.73 billion in May, up 27.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Ministry of Science and ICT. The latest figure marked the second-largest amount for the month on record after 2018 and the 12th consecutive month of on-year gains."

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The end of 2G mobile telephony in Korea


As reported by The Korea Joongang Daily and other local media, the Ministry of Science and ICT is allowing LGU+ to discontinue its 2G service in late June of this year. (click on the graphic at left to see some of the 2G phones that were popular beginning in the late 1990s)  The Joongang Daily article noted that "LG was the last of Korea's three mobile carriers to keep 2G services going. KT suspended them in 2012 and SK Telecom, the biggest in Korea, in July 2020." It went on to report that "As of mid-May, 140,000 LG U+ subscribers were using 2G networks, 0.82 percent of the carrier’s customer base. They will be offered discounts on plans using 4G LTE or 5G network. They will all need new phones, and will be offered free smartphones from among 15 options. For the sake of convenience, 2G users must be able to make the shift to 4G or 5G via phone, without visiting a store. For customers over 65, an LG U+ employee can visit their homes."  The end of an era, as Korea is pushing to increase adoption of its new 5G services.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Samsung's semiconductors and vaccines in the Moon-Biden summit


Semiconductors are in the news these days in advance of President Moon Jae-In's summit meeting with U.S. President Biden in Washington, D.C.  As reported by The Korea Times, "The government announced Thursday that it will help establish the world's largest semiconductor supply chain in Korea by 2030 in cooperation with firms in the private sector, including Samsung Electronics and SK hynix, to make the country a global leader in both memory and system chips. To achieve this auspicious goal, the administration said it will provide huge tax incentives to companies constructing semiconductor facilities, after chip manufacturers vowed to invest more than 510 trillion won ($450 billion) for this and research and development (R&D) by the target year."   The announcement was made during a meeting at a Samsung Electronics chip making plant in Pyeongtaek (click on the picture for a full-size version of the graphic).

What makes this announcement even more interesting are reports in Korean media that Samsung may be set to reach a "vaccine swap" with its investment in U.S.-based chip manufacturing.  As reported by The Korea Times in a separate article, "Samsung's biotechnology affiliate is set to reach a "vaccine swap" in return for the conglomerate's semiconductor unit investing billions of dollars to boost memory chip production in the United States. A few days before Moon's visit to Washington, D.C., Cheong Wa Dae said the two leaders are set to explore during the summit the best possible ways to boost bilateral cooperation in vaccines. More specifically, Lee Ho-seung, the President's chief policy secretary, said the U.S. has a strong interest in turning South Korea into a global vaccine production hub. Lee explained that the plan makes sense, since the U.S. possesses vaccine patents and raw materials, while South Korea possesses the world's second-highest drug manufacturing capacity."