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IT-related application sales nearly double

By Korea Herald

Published : Dec. 25, 2011 - 18:19

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Sales of information technology-based applications in Korea have almost doubled on average over the past three years, driven by soaring demand for high-tech solutions to upgrade products, a poll showed Sunday.

Five-hundred companies, chiefly non-IT, raked in more than 160 billion won ($139 million) collectively from the business-to-business transactions last year, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

Total output has surged more than 28 percent to almost 50 trillion won between 2007 and 2011. The ministry forecasts the figure will increase by 10 percent each year, hitting 117 trillion won in 2020.

Corporate investment in convergence-based projects shot up 72 percent to 8.6 billion won last year from 2007, the poll showed. A company deploys an average of 29.6 people in the team in charge of creating related applications, up 18 percent during the three-year period.

Those figures resulted from a first-of-its-kind survey by the ministry on 500 firms in the 18 sectors that are crafting IT-related solutions to enhance their products. The list includes automobiles, shipbuilding, construction, pharmaceuticals, robotics and liquor.

Hyundai Heavy Industries, for instance, has been installing liquid-crystal display monitors, Bluetooth adaptors and navigation systems not merely in their ships but also in construction equipment such as excavators and loaders.

Distillers such as Diageo Korea and Pernod Ricard Korea also incorporate radio-frequency identification chips to their whisky bottles to combat counterfeit products by tracking their production, delivery and distribution.

Of the 500, 124 firms, or almost 25 percent, said they have set up a special unit or new research center over the last three years to embark on IT or convergence-based projects.

Among the 18 areas, automotive and shipbuilding were where the most vigorous development was taking place, the ministry noted. That is largely due to tightening safety regulations on their products.

The study comes as part of the government’s long-term research and development plan set out early this year. It aims to become one of the top five international technology powerhouses by 2020.

Convergence-based technologies are expected to fetch 380 trillion won in sales by 2025, the ministry reported.

“The survey proves that the government’s push for IT and convergence brings conventional industries to a higher degree of technology,” a ministry official said.

“Such a trend will help boost Korea’s competitiveness in the software industry and diversify the technology into other areas such as welfare and public administration.”

By Shin Hyon-hee (heeshin@heraldcorp.com)