South Korea's science and industry ministries said Wednesday they will spend 127 billion won ($110.7 million) on boosting the wearable device industry through 2020 as part of efforts to secure new growth engines for the country.
Under the plan, the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning, and the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy will allocate a combined 111 billion won on development of related technologies, and 16 billion won on operating support centers for local companies.
"While the wearable market is still at the initial stage, considering global companies' efforts to roll out new products, the industry will expand in a full-fledged manner starting 2016," the ministries said in a joint release.
The ministries added while the current wearable market focuses on smartwatches for daily usage, the scope of application will expand to more professional areas such as defense in the near future.
"If we delay the technology development while the United States, Japan, and European countries are focusing their efforts, we will fall behind other developed countries, which could weaken the ground of small-and-medium firms in the tech industry," they added.
The global market for wearable products is expected to reach $70 billion in 2024, the ministries said, citing the data compiled by the industry tracker IDTechEx.
U.S.-based Apple Inc. meanwhile, took up 75.5 percent of the global smartwatch industry as of the second quarter this year on the rising popularity of the Apple Watch, the data compiled by Strategy Analytics showed.
Samsung Electronics Co., which accounted for 73.6 percent of the market last year for being one of few players in the segment, saw its share plunge to 7.5 percent in the April-June period after Apple joined the battle.
The South Korean tech giant started the sales of the Samsung Gear S2 in October to revitalize its falling shares. The Gear S2 comes in a circular body that distinguishes itself from its predecessor, the Samsung Gear S, which was rectangular. (Yonhap)