The focus of the “Korean New Deal”, announced by the government to ensure sustainable and impactful economic growth amid the pandemic, lies in the “Digital New Deal” in which AI algorithms are to be developed through AI/X projects currently underway for 5G and AI convergence and proliferation.
The Ministry of Science and ICT held a joint information session with related ministries for a national innovation “Digital New Deal” project to address the economical and societal implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the session, 23 projects were presented with an emphasis in the following major areas: D.N.A. (Data, Network, AI) ecosystem reinforcement, education infrastructure and contact-free industry, and SOC (social overhead capital) digitalization.
In line with the national focus on developing deep tech industries and companies to prepare for post-COVID digital transformation, Born2Global Centre, in fulfilling the role of a global accelerator and incubator, continues to foster Joint Ventures (JVs) through tech-matching companies in Central and South America, the Middle East, the United States, Europe, and beyond, promoting collective research and development endeavors, and penetrating international markets through the wide range of services and programs offered.
In 2020 alone at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Born2Global Centre has conducted over 1900 expert consultations, established 4 overseas corporations, forged 140 international partnerships and contracts, completed 96 overseas intellectual property applications, and achieved over 219 million USD worth of total domestic and international investments for the member startups.
As a focal center in current efforts to advance deep-tech innovative companies into the Latin American region, Born2Global Centre is working with 18 Latin American government affiliations - including Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia - in Korea, as well as accelerators in 20 major Latin American countries.
Jongkap Kim, the Chief Executive Director of Bon2Global Center, noted that “the Latin American market, which was considered difficult to access due the physical distance, is now able to find a suitable local partner through this JV overseas expansion support.”
To date, Born2Global Centre has conducted six online meetups as part of the Deep Tech Exchange Program of the IDB Lab, which is the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank Group. More contact-free meetups have been aligned, gradually to increase the number of global market pioneers, thereby continually supporting JV overseas expansion.
By Yoon Sojung
Photos = Jeon Han
Seoul | March 17, 2021
An international forum in Seoul has proposed bolstering digital cooperation between Korea and Central and South American countries.
The 2021 Korea-LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) Digital Cooperation Forum, held from March 17-18 at Lotte Hotel Seoul, was jointly hosted by the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Science and ICT.
Under the theme "Partnership toward Digital Innovation and Inclusiveness," the forum was attended by eight high profile officials, including ministers and vice ministers, from five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia and Honduras. Experts and other high-ranking officers in digitalization from the region also took part via videoconferencing.
The forum discussed cooperation in areas such as 5G networks, digital government, cyber security, smart city and smart farms. Participants called Korea the best partner to work with in such collaboration.
The forum was the first high-level international gathering in the digital sector since Seoul announced the Korean New Deal last year.
At the forum's opening ceremony, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chung Eui-yong said, "Korea and Latin America are creating a new cooperation paradigm centered on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, 5G, digital government and artificial intelligence."
"We wish to pursue win-win cooperation though Korea's Digital New Deal policy and the digital transformation policy of Latin American countries. Our government also wants to share its pursued values of innovation and inclusiveness with other Latin American nations."
Minister Chung added that the Korean government will send a public-private delegation on e-government and information and communications technology to search for opportunities in customized cooperation projects with Latin America and share Korea's experience and benchmarks in digital transformation to narrow the digital divide.
Minister of Science and ICT Choi Kiyoung also introduced the Digital New Deal, one of the two pillars of the Korean New Deal. "Through the Digital New Deal, Korea is focusing on strengthening the digital ecosystem's DNA and boosting national competitiveness by building early a non-contact system in major sectors like education and social overhead capital."
"Through this forum, Korea will bolster solidarity with its Latin American partners,” he said. "Based on our win-win experiences, let us seek higher-level cooperation measures to effectively respond to the Fourth Industrial Revolution."
Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship Rodolfo Solano Quiros said, "Korea is a world leader and a model country in digitalization of the economy and public service."
"Strengthened cooperation between Korea and Latin America will help narrow the global economic divide and the service gap in technology, medicine, and health and medical services among countries."
"Costa Rica hopes to follow Korea's example by narrowing the digital divide through policies such as building infrastructure for information and communications," he added. "By bolstering digitalization capability, we can overcome the waves of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and COVID-19 and recover."
In the forum's first session, "KOR-LAC Cooperation on Digital Transformation for Building Back Better and Preparing for the Future," Minister Solano said, "Latin American countries are effectively overcoming difficulties in the process of digital development by sharing their digital experiences with Korea."
In the same session, Colombian Vice Minister of Creativity and Orange Economy Adriana Padilla Leal introduced her country's "orange economy" (cultural and creative goods and services) initiative to overcome the pandemic and boost the country’s digital competitiveness.
Mentioning the four Oscars won last year by the Korean film "Parasite" as a benchmark, she said, "The orange economy focuses on promoting culture and creativity, helps artists and creators realize their various ideas, and extends the development of human resources and technology."
“We wish to cooperate with Korea in creative content sectors like film through diverse ways such as corporate joint ventures and signing an agreement in creative technology for digital transformation."
Participants on the forum's second day on March 18 discussed cooperation in cyber security, smart city and smart farms.
Livestreaming of the forum is available on the website k-lacdcf.or.kr.
Since 2017, Born2Global Center has been in continuous discussions with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) towards a bilateral Korea-LAC support of startups and in October of 2019 held the first Korea-LAC Startup Pitch Day and one-on-one partnership meetings between the two countries.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Born2Global Centre has consistently hosted online meetings, meetups, and pitch competitions that further promoted bilateral collaborations and development.
These sustained IDB and joint venture endeavors have resulted in the first Joint Venture partnership to be announced in April.
By Yoon Sojung and Elias Molina
Photo = Jeon Han
Seoul | March 18, 2021
"President Moon Jae-in's 'net-zero' goal for 2050 and Costa Rica's 2030 National Decarbonization Plan have many things in common," Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship Rodolfo Solano Quiros said on March 18 during an official visit to Korea.
"Based on these common points, we can build a bridge connecting Korea and Central and Latin American nations."
In an interview with Korea.net at the Costa Rican Embassy in Seoul's Jung-gu District that day, he said, "Bolstered cooperation between Korea and Costa Rica can contribute to developing Korea's relations with Central and Latin American countries."
Appointed to his post last year, Minister Solano on March 15 left on his first overseas trip as his nation's top diplomat to Korea to attend the Korea-LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) Digital Cooperation Forum. The event was jointly hosted by the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Science and ICT.
Solano has history with Korea, having served as Costa Rican ambassador to Seoul from September 2015 to August 2019 and consul at his nation's embassy from September 2002 to November 2010.
This year, Costa Rica marks the bicentennial anniversary of its independence as well as its entry as the 38th member nation of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The following are excerpts from Korea.net's interview with the minister.
- This is your second interview with Korea.net; the first was in 2018. How do you feel about returning to Korea this time?
I have mixed feelings this time. Personally, this is my first official overseas visit since being appointed foreign minister. Considering the limits on all exchanges due to COVID-19, my return to Korea holds a lot of significance.
- Costa Rica seeks to expand the use of renewable energy and electric vehicles since its 2019 announcement of the National Decarbonization Plan (NDP) in 2019. What is the reason behind this energy transition?
Costa Rica chose a "green and inclusive approach" to recover from the COVID-19-induced economic crisis. In 2019, Costa Rica announced the NDP to promote both infrastructure and a change in mindset. We all agree that an approach of a green and inclusive economy is the only way to overcome the current situation.
The Green New Deal announced by President Moon Jae-in last year is also about achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. This plan is in line with Costa Rica’s 2030 NDP and both countries have common goals. Moreover, Costa Rica three weeks ago announced its so-called 3D Plan, a comprehensive version of the NDP. The "3D" refers to "decarbonization, digitalization and decentralization" and reflects the intent to more deeply decarbonize. Based on the fundamental 3D framework, this plan focuses on local governments taking control of the development they wish to achieve while creating environmental, economic and social ecosystems. This is quite similar with the Korean New Deal. Based on the common approaches of the Korean New Deal and Costa Rica's 3D Plan, we can build a bridge that connects Korea and Central and South American countries.
- The free trade agreement between Korea and Costa Rica took effect in 2019. What sectors will be benefited the most from the pact?
The Korea-Costa Rica FTA is the first "new generation" FTA. This is because the accord goes beyond tariffs to focus on small and mid-size companies, innovation and a knowledge-based economy, while seeking to create a good environment for trade and investment and job creation.
While inequality has spread worldwide, the only sectors that can solve this situation and generate jobs are e-commerce, the digital field and the green economy. Both countries can share their common values and best practices with their Latin American partners through the FTA to expand cooperation to other areas in addition to the economy. This agreement will also be a crucial first step to realize the 2030 NDP.
- Why do you think bilateral human and cultural exchanges have risen over the last ten years?
The answers are found from both psychological and sociological perspectives. From a sociological view, Koreans understand that the Central and South American region can be also their horizon, not just the Pacific. Based on this understanding, Koreans use strategies to discover not just opportunities for investment, commerce and trade but also those for human exchange. This is why many Latin American students today come to Korea to study not just economic success, but also Korean culture.
The psychological perspective is closely related to Hallyu. This well-made cultural strategy includes Hallyu dramas and pop music. Hallyu's success ranging from those of singer Rain and BTS shows how well Korea understands culture and the win-win strategy that such success is based on. This strategy not only connects Koreans with Latin Americans, but also offers the latter another horizon other than the Atlantic. From this point, people from both regions meet and share their cultures. When I get on a KTX high-speed train, I now find one or two people who understand Spanish. I feel very lucky to directly see such a moment.
- How has bilateral cooperation been in responding to COVID-19?
COVID-19 is attacking everyone regardless of nationality, border, race, society or economy. To jointly respond to the pandemic, Korea and Costa Rica have been closely cooperating while providing assistance. Seoul offered necessary goods for responding to the coronavirus, something San Jose appreciates. Costa Rica is working with Korea in science and technology cooperation. Medical experts and researchers from both sides are also conducting academic exchanges and will do joint projects after the vaccination process.
The two sides are also working together in important projects for access to medical supplies and vaccines. Vaccines are very important, and thus it is important for all countries to gain access to them. Nobody will be really safe until all the people is vaccinated. Through the COVAX initiative, the two nations have cooperated multilaterally so that many countries can access medical goods and vaccines. And at the Republic of Korea-SICA (Central American Integration System) forum that Costa Rica hosts next month, both countries will cooperate in research and development of pharmaceuticals and health care. Costa Rican medical experts and scientists will work with Korea to provide information on infectious diseases like COVID-19 and conduct research to prevent similar diseases from spreading.
- This year is the bicentennial anniversary of Costa Rican independence and marks your nation's entry as the 38th member of the OECD. Also, next year, Korea and Costa Rica marks the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relationship. How will your country mark these milestones?
This year is the bicentennial anniversary of Costa Rica's independence and our entry into the OECD. Next year will mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Costa Rica. Thanks to such symbolic and coincidental moments, we can build a stronger bridge between both countries. This is important not just to celebrate the past 200 years and the 60 years, but also important is to look ahead to the next 200 and another 60 years.
This year marks Costa Rica's entry into the OECD and Korea's 25th anniversary as an OECD member. As OECD member states, we have the same responsibility of sharing our experiences and best practices with our regional neighbors. If COVID-19 permits, I hope we can travel and exchange freely as we did in the past. I also wish for President Moon Jae-in and Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada to exchange visits and hold talks on bolstering bilateral relations.
The government has adopted the 2021 action plan for "Digital New Deal", which is a key pillar of the Korean New Deal initiative at the first Korean New Deal Ministers' Meeting in the new year.
Digital New Deal is a national innovation project that invests a total of 58.2 trillion won (44.8 trillion won in government spending) by 2025 to accelerate digital transformation of the Korean economy and society and create about 900,000 jobs.
After launching projects with about 2.4 trillion won, as part of the third supplementary budget of 2020, the government has strived to overcome the economic crisis and take a leap forward as a leading country through strengthening the data, network, artificial intelligence (D.N.A) ecosystem, promoting contactless industries and digitalizing education and social overhead capital (SOC).
The key pillars of the 2021 plan are to upgrade the D.N.A (Data, Network, AI) economic structure, establish a foundation for non-contact industries, and digitalize SOC (social overhead capital).
Born2Global Centre continues to play a role in this national innovation project by matching respective deep tech startups and supporting these companies in their growth and expansion to global markets.
The 2021 action plan for Digital New Deal policy is as follows.
- Strengthen the entire data life cycle and improve legislation for promoting innovation in all industries based on data
· Collect and share data
Promote the use of data in public and private sectors by collecting additional 150 types of "data for AI training" (292.5 billion won) such as the letters of the Korean alphabet to advance AI for Korean language, making 44,000 government data open (cumulative 142,000 data) and establishing six additional big data platforms
· Use data
Establish the informatization plan (ISP) to create an integrated platform for digital library, so that companies can utilize D.N.A. by supporting AI manufacturing consulting solutions, industrial data platform and providing data vouchers. The plan also ensures that anyone can readily access and use the national knowledge platform to promote knowledge sharing and dissemination.
· Improve legislation
Create a data control tower based on public and private partnership which oversees policies in data collection, application and utilization by the government to facilitate innovation in all data-based industries and improve legislation such as legislating basic act on data
- Promote services that apply 5G and AI to industries to create new digital markets
·Build 5G network
In order to establish 5G network at an early date, which will serve as the foundation for convergence services, include 5G equipments on the list for tax duction(+2%p) for commercializing technologies in new growth engines, continue to cut taxes and registration license taxes for investing in 5G facilities in districts where overpopulation is constrained within the metropolitan area
·Apply AI to all industries
By implementing major seven AI+X projects* and follow-up legislation tasks** of "the roadmap on improving AI legal framework" (Dec. 2020), respond to convergence and spread of AI, construct 6,000 smart factories and develop level 4 autonomous driving technologies (2021~2027, a total of 1.1 trillion won put into projects)
* ① medical image analysis and treatment ② pandemic response ③ coastline ④ensure industry complexes are energy-efficient ⑤ detect illegal forgeries ⑥ innovate regional flagship industries ⑦ promote public safety
** Set criteria for algorithm disclosure, legislate act on digital inclusiveness to ensure fair access to digital technologies, revise copyright laws to allow data mining, establish the roadmap for innovating regulations on self-driving vessels etc.
- Innovate services of the government based on AI, blockchain and cloud to provide administrative services in a preemptive and customized way
·Services with tangible outcomes for the public
Establish the "platform for digital driver's license" (10.8 billion won) which makes identification easier, and expand "AI secretary service" from nine to 39 services, which notifies and guides users to register and pay for public services through messaging apps
Conduct pilot projects (11.5 billion won) in five agencies to convert government administrative work to be digital based on 5G network, gradually relocate and integrate 9,500 information systems to public and private cloud centers to provide public service (51 billion won) in a stable and efficient manner
- To take initiative in the next-generation global digital market, support development of cutting-edge technologies such as 6G, next-generation AI, hologram and relevant companies
Develop 6G technologies overcoming the limits of existing technologies as well as key technologies including AI semiconductor designs, devices, equipments and processes (122.3 billion won)
Raise "Smart Korea Fund" worth over one trillion won and invest in companies in zero-contact industries, identify 200 promising startups in contactless industries and provide 30 billion won for commercialization funding, while also providing 200 "AI solution vouchers" (56 billion won) for developing new businesses
- Establish a sustainable and stable infrastructure for digital transformation of future education encompassing elementary, middle, high schools, universities and vocational training centers
Legislate the Framework Act on Promoting Remote Education (proposed in February) and revise the “guideline for use of copyrighted works for educational purposes” to expand the scope of using copyrighted works for the purposes of primary and secondary education
·Create learning-friendly environment
Install high-performance Wi-Fi to cumulative 270,000 classrooms in elementary and middle schools, provide up to 80,000 tablet PCs to carry out “pilot projects on online content-based textbooks” (12.8 billion won) to realize digital education
- Establish smart healthcare infrastructure in hospitals for providing safe treatment and carry out healthcare and caregiving programs for the vulnerable
Establish 1,000 respiratory clinics (50 billion won) and three smart hospitals (3 billion won) to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and develop “Doctor Answer 2.0” (5 billion won), which is a precision medicine software supporting diagnosis of 12 diseases such as lung cancers
·Smart health management
Conduct pilot projects on health management using AI and IoT (9.5 billion won) on 50,000 senior citizens, provide self-monitoring devices to 50,000 chronic patients (2.8 billion won) to help maintain healthy lifestyle
- Provide more support for online businesses to encourage more people to work from home amid digital transition in the COVID-19 outbreak and raise competitiveness of micro-enterprises
Provide vouchers for contactless services (216 billion won) to 60,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for them to be digital-based, develop software based on next-generation digital technology (5.6 billion won) in ways such as improving the quality of video conference system
Secure digital marketing channels (72.6 billion won) by holding online exhibitions involving participation from 53,000 micro-enterprises, establish about 20,000 digital shops (22 billion won) which support deployment of digital technologies such as IoT and 600 digital craft shops (29.4 billion won)
Digitalize critical transportation infrastructure across the country including roads, railways and airports for ensuring public safety
With the target of commercializing fully autonomous driving vehicles for the first time in the world by 2027, establish Intelligent Transport System (ITS) in 45% of national roads and C-ITS* in major roads (517.9 billion won) and create a "precision road map for autonomous driving" for 11,670km of general national roads (16 billion won)
* C-ITS (Cooperative Intelligent Transport System): a next-generation intelligent transport system which communicates between vehicles and between vehicles and transport infrastructure
·Railway and airport
Digitalize maintenance process of railway facilities (295.8 billion won) in ways including installing IoT sensors for inspecting facilities near railways and establish "contactless biometrics system" in major airports such as Gimpo, Gimhae and Jeju.
- Ensure public safety by managing dams and rivers real time and establishing "smart disaster prevention system" which extinguishes forest fires using drones
Deploy automatic and remote control system for drainage facility in 57% of national rivers (180 billion won) to prevent flooding, establish real-time monitoring system (30 billion won) and smart dam management system based on drones and big data in eleven dams (15 billion won)
Prevent human casualties by establishing early alert system (28.8 billion won) in 65 steep slopes and 105 districts vulnerable to natural disasters, create 10 new drone fire extinguishers to promptly extinguish forest fires and operate "flight training centers for drones used in forest fires" to nurture experts (4.6 billion won)
- Digitalize cities, industrial complexes and logistic infrastructure and facilitate contactless direct transactions of agricultural products and fisheries products
·Urban areas, industrial complexes
Expand smart city solutions to more than 15 local governments (30 billion won), launch national pilot smart city in Busan in December 2021 and establish two integrated control centers for industrial complexes (18.5 billion won) to ensure safety and manage traffic by using intelligent CCTVs and IoT devices as well as one platform for sharing logistics facilities (10 billion won)
Build two cutting-edge smart logistics centers in transport hubs that can be shared by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (5.9 billion won) and one smart logistics center for SMEs in port hinterlands (3.6 billion won), launch an integrated digital platform for export and import logistics for shared use of information on export and import logistics
Establish an integrated platform for public meals to promote consumption of agricultural products (5.6 billion won) and an online auction platform* for wholesale livestock product market (2.6 billion won), carry out R&D to ensure fresh distribution for facilitating contactless and direct trading of fisheries and improve institutions by amending* the "act on fishery products distribution"
* support system to facilitate direct transactions of fisheries, provide information on direct transactions, ensure systems including building big data platform to be specific
The government plans to successfully carry out the Digital New Deal initiative, which is in its second year of implementation and will manage the following programs in order to create tangible outcomes that can be felt by the public.
Establish "a roadmap for creating tangible outcomes" which outlines key achievements from each project by regularly holding inter-ministerial Digital New Deal working group briefings, raise awareness of Digital New Deal policy among the public by promoting key achievements of the policy from each ministry through holding briefing session
Overhaul legal framework and institutions to digitalize the Korean economy and society based on ten legislative tasks of Digital New Deal policy, continuously relieve issues on site through "regulatory sandbox system" which removes regulations curbing industrial development
Continue to supplement Digital New Deal policy through Ministers and Vice Ministers paying visits to regions and companies in order to get closer to the public and listen to their voices, identify new cooperative projects
By Kim Young Deok and Lee Jihae
President Moon Jae-in on July 14 announced the specifics of the Digital New Deal, part of the Korean New Deal, saying "Adding our digital capabilities to industries across the board can help transform our economy from a fast-follower into a pace-setter."
In a national reporting meeting, he announced plans to invest KRW 58.2 trillion in the setup of a D.N.A. (data-network-AI) ecosystem to foster non-contact sectors and digitize social overhead capital to emerge as the world's No. 1 digital country.
For the ecosystem project, the government will first open 142,000 pieces of public data and utilize them in manufacturing, medicine and the bio industry. It will also push ahead with a convergence project combining 5G and artificial intelligence to create tangible content such as culture, sports and tourism, as well as set up smart museums and exhibitions based on information and communications technology.
A non-contact infrastructure will also be formed for fields closely related to daily life such as medicine and work to lay the foundation for the growth of pertinent industries. Eighteen smart hospitals to be built will also use digital technology in helping establish smart medical and caretaker infrastructure.
For public safety and convenience, a forthcoming management system for smart national infrastructure will focus on securing the people's safety and creating new industries. The government announced public investment of KRW 15.8 trillion by 2025 to set up a digital management system for sectors such as traffic, water resources and disaster response.
President Moon said, "Korea has the technology and capabilities to spearhead the digital revolution," adding, "We will strongly push digitalization in all areas of our lives, including the social, economic, educational, industrial and medical. In this manner, we will march toward becoming the No. 1 digital country, the global leader."
By Lee Hana
The Korean New Deal plan unveiled by President Moon Jae-in on July 14 is an initiative anchored in part by an eco-friendly strategy of changing Korea from a carbon-reliant economy to one using low levels of carbon over the next five years.
According to the administration's plan announced on July 14, the project's Green New Deal aims to create 659,000 jobs by 2025 by investing KRW 73.4 trillion in areas such as responses to climate change, green infrastructure, renewable energy and green industries.
The first task is to turn public urban areas into green, zero-energy spaces. Public rental housing units, cultural facilities, public and private day care centers, and elementary, middle and high schools will be remodeled or reconstructed as energy-efficient, eco-friendly buildings.
To restore the ecosystem, some 25 smart green cities and numerous city forests will be built and 16 national parks and 25 damaged urban areas restored.
For the second task of raising the use of decentralized low-carbon energy, 1.13 million electric vehicles and 200,000 hydrogen fuel cell cars will enter the market. The number of charging stations will increase, old diesel cars will be swapped for LPG or electric vehicles and proper car disposal will receive support.
For energy conservation, intelligent smart grid systems will be set up and the supply of clean and renewable energies like wind, solar and hydroelectric power expanded.
The final task is to form an ecosystem that supports green industry innovation. For this purpose, 100 smart factories that minimize pollution by reusing industrial heat and waste while using renewable energy will be built. A combined 1,750 clean plants providing technical support for reducing contaminants will also be added.
President Moon on the same day said in a speech at Cheong Wa Dae, "A low-carbon economy is also a global trend. The Green New Deal will not only help improve the quality of our lives by addressing the fine dust and other issues, but also enhance our industrial competitiveness in the face of ever-tightening international environmental regulations. In addition, it will help create a significant number of jobs through the growth of green industries."