Developing new frontiers

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Developing new frontiers

On Dec. 21, SpaceX, an American private aerospace rocket developer, successfully launched a rocket with a satellite and returned a first-stage booster back to the ground. A month ago, Blue Origin, anther privately funded aerospace developer, launched a rocket 100 kilometers (62 miles) in altitude which returned successfully.

These news sounded just as odd as they are amazing. How can private companies have such advanced aerospace technologies? In 2006, NASA announced the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, a plan to transport crew and cargo to the International Space Station using rockets developed by private companies. NASA provided related technologies and universities and institutes utilized vast human resources. And the private aerospace technology in the United States grew rapidly.

At this rate, it would be nearly impossible for Korea to get into the aerospace industry. However, we also need to work on something as great as America’s space programs, especially in a field that Korea can excel in.

The medical services industry is a good example. Korea’s smartest people are in the medical community and the level of some medical services is world class. Just like the U.S. aerospace industry, Korea’s medicine has solid ground. But in reality, regulations and internal discord have hindered industrial advancement of medical services.

There are other industries that Korea can really thrive in, including system semiconductors like computer central processing units.

A semiconductor specialist said, “The government recognized the importance of system semiconductor over 10 years ago and invested more than 10 trillion won [$8.53 billion]. But to avoid complaints, the money was distributed here and there, and now, all the money is gone without any outcome.”

So I think several industries should be designated as industries of the future. And companies that have potential should be provided with 10 trillion won. This may sound absurd. If so, how about offering concentrated investment to a university or a research center studying promising fields? There, young Koreans can dream the future without worrying about immediate gains and losses. Let’s make a thing or two that people around the world can immediately associate with Korea. We will have future only when we strategically make another Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motors.

But it won’t happen. In Korea, when the economy is in jeopardy, lawmakers say, “Don’t be a crybaby.” A display equipment maker owner says that business is suddenly thriving and that he is afraid. While he is making money thanks to investments from a Chinese company, young software developers can no longer live with small salaries and go abroad, especially to China. I was only daydreaming out of frustration. I am afraid of the Year of Red Monkey.

The author is the editor of industry news of the JoongAng Ilbo.

JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 30, Page 34

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