Korean peninsula, cradled by the sea on three sides, is located at the center of Northeast Asian economic region which is one of the major political centers and has an important influence in the international world. It is the gateway to access to the world¡¯s 2nd largest economy China and another economic giant Japan.
According to the OECD Education at a Glance 2013, Korea ranked 2nd in terms of educational level with 64 percent of the population achieving higher education, which is higher than the average of the OECD member countries.
Not only high education level of human resources, but also diligent workforce made ¡°the Miracle of Han River¡± possible. Korean workers work for 2,308 hours per year, ranking 3rd globally.
Korea also ranked 6th in terms of R&D personnel nationwide with 396,000 according to 2013 World Competitiveness Yearbook published by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) of Switzerland, which proves the quality of Human resources of Korea.
Korea has a number of major competitive industries including shipbuilding, steel and petrochemicals. In shipbuilding, Korea is a world leader having 44% of world market share with advanced design and production capability. In terms of steel production, the 1st and 2nd largest single production sites are both located in Korea (POSCO). Korea is the 3rd largest producer of petrochemicals with leading know-how and advanced technology. According to the Bloomberg Global Innovation Index 2014, Korea ranked first among all nations by comparing a group of indicators such as research & development capability, productivity, tech density and patent activity.
Digital electronic industry is Korea¡¯s another vital industry in the manufacturing sector in terms of exports and value-added production. Success in manufacturing and exporting cutting edge electronics products has burnished the country¡¯s image as a leader in technology. At the same time, Koreans are avid consumers of digital media and apply the lion¡¯s share of their bandwidth resources to online gaming.
Korea¡¯s IT industry is worldly recognized with numerous records, establishing itself as a global player in the international markets. In 2011, Korea ranked 1st in Broadband penetration at 97% with an average peak connection of close to 50 megabits per second, commercialized CDMA technology, and launched the world's first DMB service, and is fast emerging as a global IT powerhouse.
* Scale from 0 to 10, International Telecommunication Union, IDS 2011
In measuring ICT Development Index (IDI), Korea ranked first among the 150 countries in 2011. Both mobile-broadband and fixed (wired)-broadband penetration are highly developed in Korea, and 84 percent of the population is online. The country has made ICT development and integrated its use in many aspects of society. The Korea Communications Commission continuously works towards transforming the country into a ¡°smart powerhouse¡± by effectively regulating a highly dynamic and competitive telecommunication market and pushing forward innovations and improvements, such as the deployment of LTE in 2011. The country¡¯s excellent results in the IDI and other ICT-related rankings, such as the United Nations E-Government Survey, as well as the importance of the ICT sector for the country¡¯s economy, single it out as a model for ICT-driven development.
According to the OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators 2013, Korea ranked 6th in total R&D investment with over 49 billion US dollars, followed by U.K with 47 billion dollars. USA ranked first with 453 billion dollars. In terms of R&D capability vs GDP, Korea ranked first with 4.03% followed by Israel with 3.93%, Finland with 3.55%, Sweden with 3.41%, and respectively, Japan, with 3.35%. This indicates the government¡¯s strong willingness to support for R&D with recognition of R&D as potential for national growth.
Recently, Asia has been rising fast as an R&D hub with excellent human resources and strong price competitiveness. Consequently, many global companies are seeking to build their R&D centers in Korea, signaling potential for Korea to become a R&D center in the Northeast Asia region.
In line with the rapid growth of Korea¡¯s IT industry in recent years, many multinational companies such as Motorola, eBay and Olympus are choosing Korea as a test bed to evaluate consumer response to their new products. Korea makes a perfect test bed for new and sophisticated technologies and new products because Korean consumers are receptive to new ideas, new technologies and new designs. Particularly, Korea¡¯s young generation, who tend to be early adopters, are sensitive to new trends and constantly seek something new, thereby serving as the driving force behind the growth of Korea¡¯s electronics industry
• Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia, Britannica.1999
• Economic Growth Rates of Advanced Economies, International Monetary Fund. 2010
• Education at a Glance, OECD. 2013
• World Competitiveness Yearbook, IMD. 2013
• IT Industry Competitiveness Index, Economist intelligence Unit. 2011
• Korea Communications Commission. 2012
• Measuring the Information Society, International Telecommunication Union. 2012