Tech and stadium tours for British MPs

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Tech and stadium tours for British MPs


Eight members of the British Parliament visited information technology firms and sports venues in Seoul last week to promote Korean-British trade and help prepare for the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.
On the first day of their visit the representatives, members of the Culture, Media and Sports Committee visited the Samsung complex in Suwon, Gyeonggi province, as well as online content provider TU Media and online game company Nexon Media.
The chairman of the committee, John Whittingdale, called British communications “primitive” compared to what Korea has accomplished.
“Online gaming is almost unknown in the U.K. Broadband is still relatively recent,” Mr. Whittingdale said. “Traditionally there is lots of console gaming [in the U.K.], but I think once [companies] see the opportunity that online games provide, both can coexist quite happily.”
The committee noted the recent partnership between Samsung and British Telecom, and that Nexon has announced plans to establish their European headquarters in London.
During its visit, the committee also visited Olympic Park, meeting with officials from the Seoul Olympic Sports Promotion Foundation, which manages the venues of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and toured the Seoul World Cup Stadium with former Korean prime minister Goh Kun.
Mr. Whittingdale said it was the committee’s job to help make sure the benefits of the 2012 Olympics last for years after the torch is extinguished, hence the visit to Korea’s 17-year-old sites.
“There will be immediate benefits in terms of people who come to London, but we are hopeful that it will regenerate an area of London that is deprived over the long term,” he said, referring to the Stratford Lower Lee Valley, where the 2012 Games will be held.
British Ambassador to Seoul Warwick Morris and Korean Justice Minister Chun Jung-bae, chairman of the Korea-U.K. Parliamentary Friendship Group, welcomed the delegation with a reception at the ambassador’s residence. Mr. Whittingdale is also a member of the group; it was his second trip to Korea.
After completing its visit to Seoul, the committee was set to leave for a stop in Beijing to check up on the preparations for the 2008 Olympics before returning home.

by Ben Applegate
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