Gov’t to invest in new technology

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Gov’t to invest in new technology

With the government in search of ways to improve the Korean economy, nearly 90 billion won ($75 million) will be invested as subsidies in small and medium enterprises next year to increase their technological capability in emerging industries.

The policy will ensure they have the infrastructure necessary to sustain their research and development in the future, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The investment accounts for 27 percent of the entire R&D budget of the ministry and will be used to make progress in core industrial and advanced technology and to help companies with marketable technology expand overseas.

“About 640 billion won will be spent for R&D in core industrial technologies such as bio-pharmaceuticals, smart cars and artificial intelligence,” reported the trade ministry. “For the SMEs who already have marketable technology but without the means to go overseas, 171.7 billion won will be set aside to support them.”

Along with the budgetary plan, the trade ministry also announced its mid-to-long-term policy to sharpen the nation’s competitive edge in emerging industries, focusing on components and materials sectors.

“Our exports in these industries depend heavily on China, while we lag behind the developed nations in key technologies,” said Kim Hwi-kang, an official at the materials and components division of the trade ministry. “Our goal is to catch up in key technologies while reducing our dependency on China.”

The ministry hopes to cultivate 100 new technologies in the two sectors, or 50 each, by 2025, while creating an infrastructure that links five core industries: metals, chemicals, fibers, ceramics and electronics, as well as machinery and automobiles.

The policy also intends to partner SMEs with cutting-edge technology with public enterprises and conglomerates to gain track records that will ultimately allow them to do business in overseas markets.

“Our short-term goal is to localize components and materials used for end products, but this isn’t our ultimate goal,” Kim said. “We hope to go beyond that and gain more share in international markets. We also hope to create a platform to converge and integrate different core sectors to streamline collaboration among the companies in their R&D efforts.”


BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]

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