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[KH Biz Forum] COVID-19 is an opportunity and Korea better take it: National Assembly Speaker

Science Minister and AmCham Korea chief say transformation is key to joining post-pandemic world order

National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seuk delivers his congratulatory speeches at The Korea Herald’s fourth annual business forum held at the Shilla Seoul, Tuesday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seuk delivers his congratulatory speeches at The Korea Herald’s fourth annual business forum held at the Shilla Seoul, Tuesday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)


National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug said Tuesday that the global digital and green transformation triggered by the pandemic is a necessary growing pain for South Korea to join the post-COVID world order.

In his congratulatory speech delivered at the fourth Korea Herald Biz Forum held at the Shilla Seoul under the theme “Shape of the Future: Trends to rule industries as world rebounds from the pandemic,” the speaker called for business executives, policymakers and opinion leaders gathered at the event to seek essential changes to survive the “grand transition,” which is happening at unprecedented speed and scale.

“In the last 260 years, the world experienced three industrial revolutions, which overhauled the industrial structure from the ground up and gave birth to new global companies. If history proves anything, it was those nations and firms who accepted the change and led innovation that decided the world economy and power landscape,” Park said.

Park further called for bold decisiveness, saying that those who hesitate will only fall behind and be left out of the herd. The speaker offered the Korean New Deal to weather out the transition.

Following Park’s speech, Lim Hye-sook, the minister of science and ICT, delivered a message via a prerecorded video, explaining how the government is responding to the coronavirus outbreak through digital transformation.

“As non-face-to-face activities become part of our daily lives, digital transformation is accelerated all across the economy and society. Digital transformation, from virtual reality-based metaverse and internet banks to telemedicine, has become a key trend encompassing all industries,” Lim said.

“Nations across the world have set digital transformation as a key policy to rebound from the pandemic, engaging in a fierce competition to take initiative in technology. The Korean government is too pursuing digital transformation, making efforts to bolster digital infrastructure and cultivate new industries such as 5G, artificial intelligence and metaverse.”

This year, the ministry is pursuing the “Digital New Deal 2.0” at full throttle to propel the private-led digital transformation, by promoting the public sector to use private companies’ cloud services, for instance, according to Lim.

As the world’s first country to have successfully commercialized 5G networks, Korea is seeking the introduction of integrated 5G services in the fields of smart factories and self-driving cars.

The last congratulatory speech was given by James Kim, the chairman and the chief executive officer of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, who pinned hopes on Korea’s recovery from the pandemic as the nation plans to coexist with the virus as early as November. 

James Kim, chairman and chief executive officer of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, delivers his congratulatory speeches at The Korea Herald’s fourth annual business forum held at the Shilla Seoul, Tuesday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
James Kim, chairman and chief executive officer of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, delivers his congratulatory speeches at The Korea Herald’s fourth annual business forum held at the Shilla Seoul, Tuesday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)


“Now with the full vaccination rate over 70 percent, the international business community is eager to get back to business as usual. We stand ready to support the government of Korea,” Kim said.

While Korea prepares to return to normalcy, the chairman spoke from his own experience that the pandemic, though painful, created game-changing business models that made people’s lives “wonderful” at these difficult times.

“Companies are now utilizing cloud services and virtual meetings more than ever before. Even at AmCham, we are now in complete digital transformation mode. As evidence, we held more than 100 webinars since the start of the pandemic,” Kim said.

“We’re now able to generate bigger audiences with better quality content, across many borders and time zones with more ease and speed. Isn’t this a wonderful living?”



By Kim Byung-wook (kbw@heraldcorp.com)
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