Korea sets target countries to sell cybersecurity

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Korea sets target countries to sell cybersecurity

The Middle East and major emerging economies, including in Southeast Asia, South and Central America and Africa, are Korea’s main targets for selling homegrown cybersecurity technologies.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced the plan at an economy-related ministerial meeting held on Wednesday.

It aims to sell technology and hardware in anti-hacking and electronic authentication worth 4.5 trillion won ($3.7 billion) to these countries by 2020, as local network and information security companies are scheduled to enter these markets by building state-run information security infrastructure and networks.

There are 600 cybersecurity companies in Korea, but only 169 sell overseas, according to the ministry. The ministry will spend some 30 billion won by 2020 to support 81 more companies entering the overseas market.

Korea wants to grab emerging markets before other IT-savvy countries do in order to build new information and communications technology infrastructure through government-to-government initiatives.

The ICT Ministry named Oman, Costa Rica and Tanzania as the main partnering countries in each continent where Korean firms can expand. It is screening to pick a strategic partner among India, Vietnam, Cambodia and Brunei for expansion in Southeast Asia.

“To be honest, the United States and Israel are two notable countries with advanced information security technologies, but I think we could find a niche market in emerging markets, particularly in the Middle East, South America and Africa,” said Song Jung-soo, director at the information security division of the ICT Ministry.

“[These countries] oftentimes prefer buying products from other markets over American or Israeli-made ones, due to political and cultural antipathy they have against the Western world.”

Some local firms have already obtained state-run projects worth 1.58 trillion won as of last year.

A local consortium led by KT signed a contract worth 20 billion won back in 2012 to build the national information security center in Rwanda.

Duzon IT Group, a Kospi-listed security company, is also scheduled to open its digital forensics laboratory in Oman on Feb. 15.

Following the deal worth 11.2 billion won, the cybersecurity firm recently won another $250,000 project to build another national forensics center in Brunei.

BY KIM JI-YOON [kim.jiyoon@joongang.co.kr]
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