Saturday, November 30, 2019

Academic publishing in 2019-2020

Caught up in a myriad of other activities as the Fall semester 2019 draws to a close at SUNY Korea, I've been neglecting my blog!  Since it was launched over a decade ago, I've posted multiple times every month, but not one single post this month (November 2019).  This post will keep the record of at least one post per month over the life of the blog intact. 
I'd like to use this post to draw attention to an issue that continues to bedevil scholars who pursue a livelihood through teaching and research in colleges and universities.  Simply put, should we publish online and make our contributions freely available or seek the most reputable journal and book publishers in an effort to advance our careers and protect our "intellectual property."  See  some of my prior posts on this topic (at this link).   Also, to what extent should we rely on platforms like ResearchGate or to promote our own research, versus publication in high-impact journals that developed their reputations during the 20th century mass media era?   This is a conversation in which I hope to engage my colleagues here at SUNY Korea and around the world.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Cyworld closes Korea operation

As documented in earlier posts, Cyworld was once South Korea's leading social media platform and was wildly popular with young people in this country.  It had over 30 million users at its peak popularity.  Earlier this month, as reported by The Korea Times, it suddenly closed down its operations in Korea, without advance notice to users or the  public.  As reported by the Korea Joongang Daily, Cyworld had already closed down its international arm in 2014 (click on the graphic for a full size version).  A major cause of Cyworld's demise was its failure to adapt to the mobile revolution.  That failure, in turn, may have been exacerbated by the two and one half year delay in allowing Apple's iPhone into the Korean market, a topic explored in this blog and my recent books (with Myung Oh).

Friday, September 27, 2019

Self-reported exposure to fake news in Korea and other countries

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University has surveyed people in nearly 40 markets around the world on changing attitudes toward the news and news consumption patterns.  South Korea is one of those markets.  The graphic (click for a full size version) shows that 30 percent of Korean consumers report that they have been exposed to "completely made-up news in the past week."  This graphic is from the 2018 report.  The 2019 report contains.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Samsung's data centers

An article in The Korea Times a few days ago carried some interesting information about Samsung's foray into cloud computing and its network of data centers, in Korea and worldwide.  Admittedly I'm biased since Samsung has just unveiled a new data center in Chuncheon, where I lived for almost  two years (1971-72) while teaching English at Kangwon National University (as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer).  The graphic (click for full size version) shows the new data center.  This is not your 20th century, early 1970s Chuncheon!
The detail in the article is interesting and informative. "The company said during a media event held Friday that the new facility, which was completed in June, is a software-defined data center equipped with eco-friendly, high-tech facilities."  Also "Currently, the company operates about 210,000 virtual servers. The firm, which operates 15 data centers globally, was the only Korean company that entered the list of top 10 worldwide infrastructure managed services providers, selected by global research firm Gartner....The Chuncheon data center with a size of 39,780 square meters is the firm's fifth data center in Korea after those in Gwacheon, Gumi, Suwon and Sangam. . . .The firm, which operates 15 data centers globally, was the only Korean company that entered the list of top 10 worldwide infrastructure managed services providers, selected by global research firm Gartner."

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Greenpeace Korea gives Hyundai Motor billboard a new message

Activists from Greenpeace Korea put stickers on a Hyundai Motor billboard near company headquarters in Seoul.  As reported by The Korea Times, "Activists from Greenpeace Korea have allegedly damaged a Hyundai Motor billboard in a campaign against internal-combustion engines, with police saying Monday they were investigating them on suspicion of destruction of property.

"After receiving a report from Hyundai about the damage to its huge billboard on display near its headquarters, we are now looking into the case," an officer of the Seocho Police Station said.

According to the officer, the activists used a ladder truck to put stickers on the 40-meter-high billboard promoting the carmaker's Sonata, Sunday. They left the message "Now stop using internal-combustion engine cars."

The environmental organization said the campaign was part of a global protest calling for an immediate end to the production and use of cars running on internal-combustion engines that it refers to as the main culprits behind climate change."

Saturday, September 14, 2019

YouTube is Korea's leading Android App: Some implications

As reported by the Korea Joongang Daily, YouTube is by far the most frequently used Android app in South Korea.  A close reading of the article shows how this phenomenon relates to a theme often touched on in this blog, namely this nation's overly heavy dependence on the manufacture and export of hardware versus software and services (YouTube being a video content provision service).  See, for example, these posts.
A major theme of the Korea Joongang Daily article is that Korea's mobile service providers are unhappy with YouTube's popularity, believing that it does not pay enough for use of Korea's fast networks.  This line of reasoning tends to ignore the inherently global scope of the Internet and the fact that three quarters or more of the global ICT market is made up of software and services, NOT hardware.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Is Korea theh world's most innovative economy?

For the second year in a row, a Bloomberg survey has ranked South Korea as the most innovative economy in the world, as shown in the accompanying graphic. (click to see a full size version)  As always, the rankings depend on what is being measured.  Korea's world leading percentage of GDP spent on research and development (4.3 percent, which put it just ahead of Israel on this measure)was one factor that helped give it the overall first ranking.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Conversion to electric vehicles in Jeju: a progress report

The Korea Joongang Daily has a report on the ups and downs of Jeju island's conversion to electric vehicles (EVs).  As shown in the accompanying graphic ( click for a full size version) Jeju is ahead of the rest of Korea in both 1) the infrastructure needed for charging EVs and 2) renewable energy sources as a percentage of all energy use.  However, as the story explains, the process of finding a charging station and recharging an EV can be time-consuming and somewhat frustrating.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Samsung sells more smartphone components in China

As reported by The Korea Times,industry analysts note that "Samsung Electronics is expanding its supply of smartphone components such as camera image sensors and display panels to Chinese phone makers to take advantage of their soaring market dominance in the highly competitive smartphone market there..."  As this blog has noted in numerous prior posts, (see for example these) smartphones are essentially modular computing and communications devices.  Although Google's Project Ara failed, the physical reality is that all smart phones are created by putting together modules.  This helps to explain why the recent Japanese restrictions on the export to Korea of materials necessary for the manufacture of semiconductors and displays are so potentially damaging to Korea's economy.  In China, companies like Huawei and Xiaomi have come to dominate the smartphone market, in the process taking market share away from Samsung.   This development provides an opportunity for Samsung to improve its overall business position by selling more components to the Chinese manufacturers.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Samsung electronics accounts for 20 percent of Korea's exports

As reported in The Korea Joongang Daily, Samsung Electronics has steadily increased its dominance in Korea's manufacturing and export-led economy since 1980.  During the first half of this year the company accounted for 20 percent, or fully one fifth  of South Korea's exports. (click on the graphic for a full size version) 
The Korea Joongang Daily article noted that "In its semi-annual report released Wednesday, the electronics giant’s sales from January to June stood at 75.19 trillion won ($67.13 billion). Domestic sales totaled 10.52 trillion won, accounting for 14 percent of entire sales, while the company raised 64.67 trillion won overseas in the same period. Samsung Electronics’ overseas sales account for more than 20 percent of Korea’s estimated 271 billion dollars of exports reported by the Korea International Trade Association."  During the first half of 2019 the America's replaced China as the largest source of export sales, reportedly due to the trade war between the U.S. and China.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Korea's continuing lead in speed

OpenSignal is out with a new report that compares smart phone user experiences across 73 countries.   As shown in the graphic at left (click for a full size version), South Korea continues to have the world's fastest mobile networks, as measured by both average upload and download speed using a high tier smartphone.
In making such cross-country comparisons it is well to keep in mind that these are averages and don't represent the user experience in any particular part of the nation.   The local press in Korea these days is full of reports about consumer disappointment with the actual speeds they experience with new 5G phones.  One reason is that the buildout for 5G networks is concentrated initially in the nation's larger cities.  Even in urban area, signal strength inside buildings is a challenge that requires additional network infrastructure.  Things will get better, but it will take time. The project to complete Korea's 5G networks will go on for several years.

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!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The November 2017 Pohang Earthquake Likely Human-caused!

This post concerns the unexpected side effects that science and technology can sometimes create.  As reported widely in the local media, including the Korea Joongang Daily, citizens from Pohang demonstrated outside the national assembly yesterday to demand compensation for damage caused by the November 2017 earthquake.
The quake was the second largest to hit Korea and my wife and I felt it in our apartment here in Songdo (Incheon).
As reported in the Korea Joongang Daily, "An international research group led by the Geological Society of Korea announced in March that the quake in Pohang in November 2017 was likely triggered by the government’s geothermal power experiments. The group analyzed 520 earthquakes in Pohang, North Gyeongsang, from January 2009 to November 2017, of which around 240 took place within three miles of a site where the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy were experimenting with the Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS), a technology that turns geothermal power into electricity and involves the fracturing of hot underground rock with pressurized liquid, known as hydraulic stimulation. According to the group, there were at least five hydraulic stimulations from the EGS experiments that significantly disturbed faults in the area, which, in turn, triggered the Pohang earthquake in November 2017."

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Second edition of Digital Development in Korea forthcoming

I'm pleased to let readers of this blog know that the second edition of my book with Dr. Oh Myung (I am the second author) will be published this summer, with a new subtitle.  The full  title is Digital Development in Korea:  Lessons for a Sustainable World
Digital development in Korea, with its world-leading networks, is a moving target!  Dr. Oh and I had thought a second edition would be needed after about five years, but other important matters required attention.  Nevertheless, this new book benefited greatly from my work at SUNY Korea over the past five years.  Also, it goes without saying that Dr. Oh's authorship of this volume makes it a unique and important account of what I would call the modern history of Korea's ICT sector.
Some of the key additions to the new book are as follows:

  • A new chapter on sustainability and green growth, with emphasis on smart grids.
  • Another new chapter on the relationship of ICT to the Olympics (Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games and Seoul 1988 Summer Games)
  • Greater emphasis throughout on the concept of "network-centric digital development," including its origins, growth and prospects.
  • More extensive and in-depth treatment of the "telecommunications revolution of the 1980s."
During January and February of this year, Dr. Oh and I worked intensively to finalize the manuscript for submission to Routledge.  Earlier this month (May) I reviewed and commented on a copy edited version of the manuscript.  The next step will be to review the page proofs.  Consequently, I have confidence that the July 31 availability date for the printed book is accurate.  See this Routledge page for information.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Korea's place in the race to 5G networks

In my own research and work with Korean colleagues I have characterized Korea's digital development as "network-centric," beginning with the revolutionary developments that took place in the 1980s, starting with the influential and visionary Long Term Plan to Foster the Electronics Sector.  The latest phase in this network-centric approach to national development involves the global race to build and commercialize 5G mobile networks.  The Korea Joongang Daily today published an interesting account, asking whether all the effort to be first with 5G was worth it.  Projections of growth in the global 5G market, along with the broad range of service markets that will utilize 5G would certainly seem to indicate its worth. 
However, as shown by a map of KT's 5G base stations as of April 2019, completion and commercialization of Korea's 5G networks is a long term project.  Network construction has started in the Seoul/national capital metropolitan area and other large cities.  Even in those cities, the project has a long way to go.   As noted by The Korea Joongang Daily  "The remaining task for the government and mobile carriers now - apart from building up 5G infrastructure to stabilize the network - is to build a solid 5G business ecosystem that can turn the network from a futuristic technology to an actual moneymaker."  In its efforts to accomplish these tasks, Korea is engaged in a race that is global in scope. another report on 5G by The Korea Joongang Daily.
Although Samsung Electronics may provide much of the network equipment for Korea's 5G networks, in the global context it still represents a small market share, as shown by the accompanying graphic.

Robot workers in Korea

Empirical data show that Korean workers put in some of the longest work hours of any country in the world.  However, Korea's industrial robots work even longer!  Furthermore, the use of industrial robots has grown in large part because the main engine of Korea's export-led economy is the ICT sector.  As shown in this graphic from Statista, (click for a larger version) Korea continues to lead the world in manufacturing robot density (the number of installed industrial robots per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry).  As noted in the Executive Summary World Robotics 2018 Industrial Robots, as of 2016 the electrical/electronics industry became the most important customer for industrial robots in almost all major Asian markets, e.g. China, Japan, Republic of Korea. Korea leads the way and Singapore has been rapidly catching up with about 90 percent of industrial robots in both countries installed in the electronics industry.  Writing this short post reminds me of the day I spent with Goldstar (now LG ) before the 1988 Seoul Olympics, including a tour of their manufacturing facility for VHS video recorders.   I was struck at the time by the extensive use of robots in the manufacture of videocassette recorders.   Looking ahead, where will this all lead?   Hint:  Korea will likely be a world leader in the emergence of the Internet of things (IoT)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Smart mobility system coming to Songdo

The local press is covering the signing of a business deal under which SK Telecom will build a 5G-powered smart mobility system in Songdo.  As reported by The Korea Times, under the agreement SKT and the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) "...will join hands to set up the 5G-based self-driving infrastructure, nurture related industries, and establish a data hub. SK Telecom said it plans to create high-definition (HD) maps in an area spanning 132.9 square kilometers, based on the firm's high-end 5G networks. HD maps, exclusively designed for autonomous vehicles, provide accurate information on the road ahead as well as the surrounding environment."

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Rocky start for 5G service in Korea

As the Chosun Ilbo English edition reported yesterday, 5G mobile service in Korea is "off to a rocky start."  The three mobile service providers were unable to deliver the speeds expected by customers who purchased 5G compatible phones. 
The slower than expected speeds delivered by 5G compatible phones were widely covered in Korea's mainstream media.  The Korea Joongang Daily reported that "LG Electronics has been in talks with mobile carriers to delay the release of its first 5G smartphone to ensure stable service."

SK Telecom to build a smart Korean Military Academy

As reported in The Korea Times SK Telecom is working with the Korean Military Academy to build a smart KMA.  It will feature "...high-end fifth-generation (5G) networks, enabling cadets to conduct military exercises using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology... Under a business agreement, SK Telecom and the Army's elite school will cooperate in developing a smart KMA with 5G networks and other cutting-edge information and communications technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), AR, VR, the internet of things, cloud computing and big data." The goal is to introduce advanced technologies based on 5G networks in all areas of activity at the Korean Military Academy.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

More on the decline of PC Bangs (Internet Cafes)

The Korea Joongang Daily today reports on the decline of both PC Bangs (Rooms) and Norae-bangs (Korean style Karaoke rooms).  As readers of this blog will know, I've posted frequently on this topic over the years.   Based on data from the national tax service, the Korea Joongang Daily reported that Korea had 10,480 PC Rooms as of January 2019.  (click on the graphic for a full-size version).  This figure caught my eye because I had recently updated a bar chart showing the number of PC Bangs in Korea for inclusion in my forthcoming book (with Myung Oh), Digital Development in Korea:  Lessons for a Sustainable World.  That chart, also shown here, indicated that the number of PC Bangs had decreased to 10,655 by 2016, the last year for which data were available from the Korea Creative Content Agency.
Clearly, the pattern from 2016 through January of 2019 is one of the total number of PC  Bangs leveling off.   Given developments in the game industry, the growth of e-sports and the rising popularity of mobile games it may be that 10,000 or so PC rooms represents the number that are needed to meet continued consumer preferences in the Korean marketplace.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Spring 2019 lecture series in SUNY Korea department of technology and society

My department at SUNY Korea (Department of Technology and Society) launched a formal lecture series this semester (click on the poster for a full size version) and I had the privilege of giving the initial presentation on the topic "Network-centric Digital Development in Korea:  Origions, Growth and Prospects." A thank you to Professor Mark D. Whitaker for organizing this series.  For readers of this blog I thought the lecture series and a couple of photographs from my presentation would illustrate another aspect of what I do here from day to day.  For me personally, the series provides a welcome chance to learn more about the research being pursued by my departmental colleagues.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

OpenSignal report and Korea's lead in network speed

As readers of this blog will know, the speed of digital data processing and transmission was one of my recurrent concerns in earlier posts (see these for example).  A new (February 2019) report by OpenSignal confirms that Korea's 4G mobile networks are still the world's fastest.   The report makes interesting reading.  One of its main findings is that 4G speeds around the world "...vary tremendously across the day, showing the impact of congestion on daytime speeds."   (click on the graphic for a full size version)
The OpenSignal report indicated that Korea ranked number one in the world in average download speed, but it broke this down into 4G speed at the slowest hour of the day compared with speed at the fastest hour of the day.  Part of the graphic is shown at left.  Currently, 4G users around the world experience a wide range of download speeds between the slowest and fastest hours of the day.  Furthermore, cities see the greatest speed swings, indicating daytime congestion that might be relieved by 5G.  As noted in the report, "Users in Paris experienced the greatest range of 4G Download Speeds, fluctuating between 21.5 Mbps and 51.4 Mbps in a 24-hour period, followed by Sydney and Santiago. Worryingly, New York's fastest hour for 4G speed of 40.8 Mbps was in a virtual dead heat with the 40.6 Mbps Seoul’s inhabitants experience at their slowest hour of the day. But Seoul’s slowest hour of day is still faster than the fastest hour of day in Taipei (38.2 Mbps), London (38.3 Mbps) and 21 other cities analyzed." (My emphasis added in the quote)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

2013 Daejon presentation on "Innovation Clusters in the Creative Economy"

I just ran across this video of a presentation I gave at a Daejon conference in 2013 and thought I'd share it here.  My thinking has evolved somewhat since then.

Heated competition to build 5G networks

The nation's mobile service providers, KT, SKT and LG U+ are engaged in cut-throat competition to install 5G base stations, in order to achieve the widest possible network coverage when the service starts in April.  As reported by The Korea Times, "The three companies have competitively announced or plan to make known the number of base stations they have built, vowing to offer the fastest mobile network service with the widest coverage."  For example, "...LG Uplus said Wednesday that it has built 18,000 5G base stations in Seoul and surrounding areas as well as some metropolitan cities, noting that it plans to build 50,000 base stations within the first half of the year."
The engineers shown in the photographs (click for a full size version) accompanying The Korea Times article are hard at work adding to the already ubiquitous mobile base stations on rooftops and towers all around the nation.   The work they do is a reminder that the installation of next generation mobile network infrastructure is a long-term and expensive project.  The initial installations will take place in expressway rest stops, airports, conference centers and other locations that are densely populated or frequently full of visitors.  There is also the challenge of ensuring good 5G signals inside buildings.  As noted in the article,"Industry officials expect construction of nationwide 5G networks to be completed sometime in 2022 or 2023, given that it took about four years for third-generation and fourth-generation, or LTE networks to be set up nationwide."

Monday, March 25, 2019

Korea's smartphone zombies--a solution?

This Reuters video documents a new solution being proposed for South Korea's "smart phone zombies." I would only add a couple of points for context.   In practice, the rules of the road in Korea place very little stress on the "pedestrian has the right-of-way" which is so basic too driver education and related laws in the United States.  Second, my casual observation indicates that a very high percentage of pedestrians are multitasking -- texting, talking or doing something else on their smart phone while walking.   The statistics cited in the video on pedestrian casualties in traffic accidents should bring attention to this matter.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Samsung develops 3rd-generation 10nm-class DRAM

As reported by The Korea Times, Samsung Electronics has developed a new, more powerful memory chip.  The new chip's productivity is 20 percent higher than previous chips and is also the smallest such chip produced to date.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Olympic marathon in the DMZ in 2032?

Readers of this blog will know that I've posted frequently about the role of ICT in the Olympics (check these posts) and on the future of the demilitarized zone (see also these posts).  The latest development in these areas is the news that the two Koreas may jointly bid to host the summer Olympics in 2032.  As reported by The Korea Times, a working draft of Seoul's bid to co-host the 2032 Olympics with Pyongyang suggests that "...Olympic runners and cyclists may be able to compete inside the heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ).  The Seoul Metropolitan Government says the DMZ ― a symbol of painful division and the ongoing military standoff between the two Koreas ― is under review as a possible venue for long-distance outdoor events like marathon, cycling and triathlon competitions if it gets to host the games with Pyongyang."

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Korea's digital export decline

An article in the Korea Joongang Daily underscores the extent and nature of Korea's dependence on the manufacture and export of digital technologies.  The headline is "Export decline picks up speed in January."  As shown by the accompanying graphic (click for a full size version), the leading exports responsible for this overall decline are all digital (ICT sector) manufactured products.  (NOTE:  there is a typo in the black and white bar chart included in the graphic-- the bar for "January 2018" actually represents data for January 2019.  Also, in the bottom part of the graphic, red bars under the heading "Export growth of 13 major products" represent positive growth while the blue bars show declining growth.) However, the article strongly supports the main point of this post, that Korea's export-led economy, while ICT-driven, is heavily (perhaps too heavily) dependent on manufactured products rather than software and services.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Korea will lead the world in 5G

The GSMA Mobile Economy 2018 report, along with its regional report, The Mobile Economy Asia-Pacific 2018 contain some interesting projections.  Both reports analyze the time frame from 2017 to 2025.  Globally, the reports project likely trends.  One of these is that the Asia-Pacific Region will lead the transition to 4G and then 5G. 
The graphic (click for a full size version) reveals the report's finding of greatest interest to me.  It is from the Asia Pacific report and shows that South Korea is currently the world leader in 4G and smartphone adoption, and is projected to lead the way on adoption of 5G as well by 2025.  I've chosen to include data for Japan in this graphic because it is the country most closely positioned to compete with Korea.   For further detail, read the GSMA reports, linked above.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Deep Mind's Alpha Star defeats Starcraft Pros

It happened, and earlier than expected.  AlphaStar, the latest iteration of Alphabet's DeepMind last month defeated some of the world's best professional players of StarCraft.  As readers of this blog will know, (check out my earlier posts) this development holds particular significance in South Korea, where StarCraft became the world's first massively popular multiplayer online game and influenced the introduction of this nation's world-leading broadband networks.  Furthermore, the 2016 defeat of world champion Lee Se Dol by DeepMind's AlphaGo had sent shockwaves through Korea's public, industry and policymakers about the future of artificial intelligence (AI). 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Semiconductor shock?

Interesting article in the Korea Times on what it calls "semiconductor shock."  This has been more widely reported this week in the Korean press. To understand the percentages in the accompanying graphic, I recommend reading of the article.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Semiconductor super cycle to end in 2019

As reported in the Korea Joongang Daily, industry sources are reporting that the semiconductor super-cycle that sustained Korea's exports during 2017 and 2018 will likely come to an end this year (2019).  The article contains some interesting details, including the following. (click on graphic at left for a full size version)
  • "Last year, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix enjoyed-record breaking performances. The combined DRAM market share for the two companies as of end of the third quarter was 73.5 percent. Samsung Electronics currently holds the No. 1 spot in the global market with a share of 43.6 percent, while SK Hynix has 29.9 percent of the market. Micron Technology is in third with 21.6 percent."
  •  "The outlook for the three main markets for semiconductors - smartphones, computers and data centers - is negative.
    It is estimated that last year 1.44 billion smartphones were shipped. If that number holds and is not revised, 2018 would be the first year since 2007 - the year of the iPhone’s introduction - in which the market has contracted."