Naver champions big data start-ups

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Naver champions big data start-ups


President Park Geun-hye joins Naver’s CEO Kim Sang-hun, second from right, and Gangwon Gov. Choi Moon-soon at a briefing at Naver’s creative economy innovation center at the Kangwon National University campus in Chuncheon.

Naver, the nation’s largest online portal, joined the government’s campaign to foster start-ups by opening a creative economy innovation center in Gangwon.

According to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning on Monday, Naver opened the nation’s 10th creative economy innovation center in Chuncheon on Monday along with a start-up fund worth 105 billion won ($96.2 million) dedicated to foster start-ups specializing in big data.

The center occupies two buildings on the Kangwon National University campus in Chuncheon with about 1,270 square meters (13,670 square feet) of space. Start-ups can move in and work with the university’s entrepreneurship support center.

Nearly 150 people including President Park Geun-hye, Naver CEO Kim Sang-hun, Minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning Choi Yang-hee and Gangwon Gov. Choi Moon-soon attended the opening ceremony Monday morning at the university.

“Big data, which is often called the 21st century’s crude oil, is the new capital in a creative economy,” Park said during a speech at the ceremony. “It creates value-added jobs and profits from creativity and ideas, even when there are no tangible resources available.”

Park said she hopes the Gangwon center explores innovative business ideas.

Gangwon was selected because nearly 82 percent of the province is mountains and highlands, making it difficult to foster manufacturing industries.

The Gangwon center will launch an integrated big data portal, a search engine where anyone can find data collected by the central and local governments as well as universities and research institutes. Naver signed a memorandum of understanding with some 50 data-related organizations and companies nationwide. The portal will also operate a big data market, where data analysis skills and commercial data are traded on payment basis.

In cooperation with local and global IT companies like Naver, SK Telecom, Google and IBM, the Gangwon center will also work on developing embedded software and data-based solutions for other industry-based creative innovation centers like the ones in North and South Gyeongsang and in Gwangju.

For local residents, the center also develops online-to-offline business platforms to help business activities of the local farming industry, as well as tourism services and well-being industries. Start-ups there will develop mobile applications, network infrastructures and e-commerce platforms in cooperation with SK Telecom’s Sejong Creative Economy Innovation Center.

According to the ICT Ministry, big data is a quickly growing market as global IT companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple are expanding businesses by analyzing user data they collect.

The global market was estimated to be worth $6.8 billion in 2012 and is expected to grow to $31.1 billion by 2017, while nearly 66 percent of the market is expected to consist of software development and data-based services.

The domestic market for big data is relatively small, estimated to grow to $420 million by 2017.

Mobile telecommunication operators like SK Telecom and KT are looking to big data to make use of their servers, storage and networks, factors that are crucial in providing quick transmission of massive amounts of data. Internet portal websites like Naver are just starting data analysis services.

Young data engineers are opening start-ups and small ventures providing data management, social media analysis and data visualization services for non-IT companies in the local market.

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