S. Korea to use APEC to show off hi-tech

Oct 26, 2005

South Korea is poised to show off its world-class technological prowess during next month's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting to be held in the country's southern port city, officials said on Wednesday.

South Korea will hold an information-technology exhibition Nov. 15-21 on the sidelines of the summit of leaders of the 21 APEC forum nations. The APEC summit is scheduled for Nov. 18-19 in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul. Formed in 1989, APEC aims to boost trade and economic cooperation among its members.

"The exhibition will feature South Korea's cutting-edge IT technologies and products, promoting South Korea's image as a technology hub in the world," Information and Communication Minister Chin Dae-je told a group of foreign journalists.

The exhibition will focus on satellite digital multimedia broadcasting, wideband code division multiple access and wireless broadband, the minister said.

W-CDMA is the third generation of wireless technology and promises high-speed connection to the Internet at the same speed of the current fixed-line broadband. CDMA is one of two mainstream techniques for mobile telephony services together with global standard for mobile communications.

WiBro is a homegrown portable Internet service, which enables users on the move to remain online through portable devices such as mobile phones. "WiBro is competing to become the mainstream mobility-specific Internet with W-CDMA," Chin said.

KT Corp., South Korea's biggest fixed-line telephone and broadband Internet company, and SK Telecom Co., the country's top mobile carrier, will each lend 500 mobile phones capable of receiving WiBro and satellite TV services to leaders, government officials, chief executive officers and journalists to help them experience those services, according to the ministry.

The exhibition also includes e-government, e-heath, e-commerce, e-learning, robot and ubiquitous-port zones to demonstrate cyber-consulting, telemedicine devices and broadband convergence network services.

"It will provide opportunities for APEC participants to experience contents and service through WiBro and satellite DMB terminals," Chin said.

"South Korea is ready to demonstrate its futuristic technologies to the foreign visitors and our vision to build a 'Ubiquitous Korea,'" said Chin, former executive of Samsung Electronics Co., the world's top computer-chip maker and the world's third-largest cell-phone vendor.

In South Korea, a country where more than 75 percent of homes have broadband Internet connections, high-speed Internet is becoming as ubiquitous as electricity, and most household subscribers surf the Web at speeds of up to 5 Mbps, still considered faster than most of the world.

South Korea's IT industry, accounting for 30 percent of total exports in 2004 equivalent to $74.7 billion, has been a main growth engine for the country's export-driven economy. South Korea holds the largest global market share in CDMA, dynamic random access memory chips and thin film transistor-liquid crystal display.

The information ministry said the country's IT exports are expected to grow 6 percent to 7 percent this year, and growth could pick up to 11.5 percent in 2006. "IT exports grew about 3 percent in the first half from a year before and are likely to increase by 10 percent in the latter half, taking the annual growth rate to 6 to 7 percent," Chin said.

LG Electronics Inc., the world's fourth-largest mobile-phone maker, said Wednesday it aims to boost its global market share to more than 10 percent in 2007 from an estimated 7 percent this year.

"We hopefully expect handset sale to reach 100 million units in 2007 when the world market seems to reach 915 million," Executive Vice President Bae Jae-hoon told foreign journalists. LG trails Nokia, Motorola Inc. and Samsung Electronics in the world mobile-phone market.

On Wednesday Pantech, South Korea's second-biggest mobile-phone maker, also said it has won a deal to sell 300,000 mobile phones to India's Tata Teleservices Ltd, which provides CDMA-based services in the world's fastest-growing mobile-phone market.

"South Korea's domestic production in the IT sector is expected to reach $332 billion in 1997 on the back of W-CDMA, WiBro, and the new cost-effective method of manufacturing radio frequency identification products," Chin said.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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