Corporate Korea far behind in big data gold rush

By Kim Young-won

Korean commerce chamber urges deregulations to help big data industry

  • Published : Jul 14, 2014 - 20:58
  • Updated : Jul 14, 2014 - 20:58
Corporate Korea is lagging behind in using big data in day-to-day business, according to a recent survey compiled by The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The organization said Monday that among the 500 Korean firms participating in the survey, only 7.5 percent said they used big data in their business activities, while 81.6 percent responded that they do not use it at all. 

The most frequent use of big data is for marketing. Of companies that used big data, 47 percent used it for this purpose, followed by management and administration with 37 percent, and customer services with 36.6 percent.

The lack of expertise in data analysis and experience, along with an insufficient budget were two of the biggest challenges for Korean corporations to start data mining in earnest.
An employee walks past rows of racks being built and prepared for use in IBM’s Softlayer data center in Dallas, Texas, in January. (Bloomberg)

They also pointed to concerns over security and safety, and unfamiliarity with IT technology as other reasons that barred them from fully capitalizing on big data.

“The domestic big data market could be dominated by foreign big data solutions if no swift action is taken,” an official from the KCCI said.

The commerce chamber estimated that the capability of Korea in the big data sector is up to 4 years behind that of advanced nations.

“A series of recent information leaks have led to the suspension of projects to implement big data systems,” said an official from a big data consulting firm, adding, “big data should not be equated with data leaks.”

Some industry observers claimed that excessive regulations could hamper the growth of the big data industry, saying reviews of the rules are necessary.

The commerce chamber recommended five initiatives to grow the domestic big data market, including promoting small and medium enterprises, nurturing big data experts, and deregulating the industry.

Big data indicates a large pool of information including visual, text and numeric data collected through sensors, mobile devices or other means.

A vast amount of data being collected on the Web are being utilized in many different ways, for example, the translation engine for various languages run by Internet giant Google, and the analytical system to track fashion trends operated by Zara, a Spanish apparel company.

By Kim Young-won (