Wednesday, December 19, 2007

[ News, Science / Tech, December 18 2007] Korean IT sector forecast to grow 4.6 % next year

Korea’s information technology (IT) sector is forecast to expand 4.6 percent in 2008 from a year earlier, mainly driven by software and IT services, an industry researcher said Tuesday (Dec. 18).

The growth outlook is higher than an estimated 3.7 percent for this year, IDC Korea said in a report.

The researcher, however, expected the global IT industry to expand by 5.5 percent to 6 percent next year, slower than the 6.9 percent predicted for this year, as concerns over a global economic slowdown could lead to reduced investment in the tech sector.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 17 2007] Korean engineers develop small, ultra-fast communications module

Korean engineers have developed a small, ultra-fast communication module that can send 3 gigabits per second (Gbps) of data, the government said Monday (Dec. 17).

The new device made by a team led by Park Chul-soon at the Information and Communications University measures 37 millimeters by 11 millimeters by 0.5 millimeters, the Ministry of Science and Technology said. It has a wireless range of under 100 meters.

"Compared to other 60 Gigahertz communication modules that can be attached to antennas, the new unit is very compact and can transmit large volumes of data," said a ministry official.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 17 2007] Korea's scientific innovation capability ranks 12th among OECD members: report

Korea’s scientific innovation capability ranks 12th among the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a government report said Monday (Dec. 17).

The Ministry of Science and Technology said the country received an above-average mark of 10.92 points in the Composite Science and Technology Innovation Index (COSTII). This is higher than the average of 9.82 points for the Paris-based club of 30 industrialized countries.

The index, created by the ministry to keep tabs on where the country stands in scientific competitiveness, uses data similar to that compiled by the OECD, the Switzerland-based International Institute of Management and Development and the World Economic Forum.

The report said the country did well in seven areas including research and development (R&D) investment, innovation drive, entrepreneurship, cooperation between labs and industry and cooperation between businesses. South Korea was also awarded good marks in physical infrastructure for science development and economic growth.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 15 2007] Robots first

By Arnold Stockard

Several months ago, Seoul announced the candidate chosen to be Korea’s first human space pioneer. This milestone could be seen in a much larger context, one that signaled the nation’s aspirations for its place in terrestrial as well as extraterrestrial history. The significance of the selection was this: robots.

Ko San, who is scheduled to journey aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule to the International Space Station in April next year, is a researcher in artificial intelligence. What he learns about working in aboard the station will be invaluable to building smart machines for space exploration. But as promising as it might seem, artificial intelligence, or AI, as it is commonly known, is still quite underwhelming. For as Marvin Minsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said, there is no AI program that can recognize ordinary things as well as a four year-old child can.

Nevertheless, Korean planners have high hopes for AI, still in its infancy 50 years after the concept was introduce, and for robots. Though Korea has made impressive progress with robots, the most telling indicator of their future, as seen from Seoul, is not in the technology of their algorithms, circuitry, optics, processors, gyroscopes, actuators, servos and sensors. Korea’s vision of a future of intelligent machines lies in a Robot Ethics Charter.

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy has found it necessary to draft a document of “ethical guidelines” for robots of “strong intelligence in the near future."

Since the protection of conscious entities from harm is the basis of ethical and legal code, Korea’s charter implies that the strong intelligence referred to by the ministry includes emotional intelligence. A machine possessing emotional intelligence would be, by definition, a conscious entity with the ability to be humorous, to be distraught, to express feelings.

Accelerating technology

Humanoids top list
[ News, Science / Tech, December 13 2007] Korea to sell images taken by Arirang 2 satellite

Ordinary people and organizations will soon be allowed to purchase high-resolution pictures taken by Korea’s orbiting Arirang 2 satellite, the government said Thursday (Dec. 13)

The Ministry of Science and Technology said the pictures will be sold starting Friday (Dec. 14) at one-fifth the price of similar images sold by foreign service providers. This, it said should promote the use of satellite pictures and boost related businesses in the country. It added for non-profit organizations, and those used for public academic purposes, the price will be further cut.

"For commercial users, a square-kilometer image will cost 10,000 won, while this will be lowered to around 2,000-3,000 won for non-profit organizations," said Lee Ki-sung, head of the ministry space technology development division.

The official added that this amount is for pictures held in the database, while prices may go up 20-30 percent for pictures that are specifically ordered by the customer. For foreign customers, Arirang 2 started providing images on June 1.

DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, and Spot Image are some of the global satellite picture service providers that sell picture on a commercial basis.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 13 2007] Korea develops mobile robot capable of autonomous movement

A Korean state-run research institute said Thursday (Dec. 13) that it has developed a mobile robot that can navigate in urban areas and in off-road conditions without outside human control.

The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) said its wheeled "Securo" robot is equipped with a built-in global positioning system (GPS), laser image scanner, compass and movement control mechanism that permits autonomous movement.

"It has been tested on a one-kilometer-long course, with very little deviations from the pre-set route," Kang Sung-chul, the chief robotics engineer at the institute said.

"All that is needed is to tell the robot where it must go, and mark what areas it should by-pass to reach its target," he said.

Securo moved at 5.4 kilometers per hour during its successful test run.

The expert said in the past, moving robots were usually remotely controlled by an operator because the GPS was ineffective near buildings or in a forest where it could not receive satellite signals.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 13 2007] [Photo News] Korean scientists clone world's 1st red fluorescent cats

A cat, right, possessing red fluorescence protein (RFP) glows in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet light while a normal cat doesn’t. A team led by Kong Il-keun, an animal cloning expert at Gyeongsang National University, said on Dec. 12 it had cloned the two RFP cats for the first time in the world.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 12 2007] Korean scientists clone red fluorescent cats

Korean scientists have cloned cats possessing red fluorescence protein (RFP) that can be used to treat human genetic diseases, the government said Wednesday (Dec. 12).

The Ministry of Science and Technology said a team led by Kong Il-keun, an animal cloning expert at Gyeongsang National University, manipulated the RFP in the skin tissue of Turkish Angora cats.

Three cats with the changed RFP were born in January and February with one being born dead.

The two living animals are the first RFP cats produced in the world, and currently weigh 3.0 kilograms and 3.5 kilograms each, the ministry said. It added while they look like other Turkish Angoras under normal light, they "glow" in the dark if exposed to ultraviolet beams.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 12 2007] Korea develops high-capacity superconducting power storage system

Korea has developed a world-class, high-capacity superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) system that can compensate for sudden blackouts, the government said Wednesday (Dec. 12).

The SMES unit developed by state-run Korea Electric Power Research Institute (KEPRI) can store up to and release 1.03 megawatts of electricity in one second, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said.

It said the new power storage system could prevent key facilities like hospitals, banks, semiconductor lines and military installations from experiencing power failures that could have serious consequences.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 11 2007] Korea, Scotland conduct joint stem cell research

Korean and Scottish scientists will have an intensive discussion in Seoul, Wednesday (Dec. 12), in order to enhance bilateral collaboration in stem cell research.

According to Korea’s Science and Technology Ministry, a group of scientists from Scotland, including Dr. Ian Wilmet, who cloned the world’s first sheep Dolly, will visit Korea to participate in a Korea-Scotland stem cell workshop to be held at Yonsei University, western Seoul.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 11 2007] Korean scientists develop world's fastest nano transistor

A team of Korean scientists said Tuesday (Dec. 11) that they have developed a prototype of the world’s fastest nano-scale transistor, a core semiconductor device used in high-end applications such as satellites and telecommunication services.

The team led by Seo Kwang-seok, an engineering professor at Seoul National University, said it succeeded in creating a 15 nanometer high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) with a maximum frequency speed of 610 gigahertz.

Previously, Japanese technology company Fujitsu Ltd. had developed the most advanced nano transistor, with a size of 25 nanometers and a speed of 562 gigahertz.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 11 2007] Korea, UAE to hold talks on IT cooperation

Korea and the United Arab Emirates will hold their first talks Tuesday (Dec. 11) in Dubai to discuss ways of enhancing cooperation between the two countries in the information technology field, Seoul officials said.

The meeting is a follow-up on a promise by Korean President Roh Moo-hyun during his visit to the Middle Eastern country last May that he will work on boosting IT ties between the two countries, the Ministry of Information and Communication said.

During the talks to be held later in the day, both sides are expected to discuss measures aimed at boosting the exchange of cutting-edge technologies and helping each other build an e-government, ubiquitous cities and wireless Internet infrastructure, the ministry added.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 10 2007] Daum sells insurance unit to German company

Daum Communications Corp., Korea’s second-largest Internet portal operator, said Monday (Dec. 10) that it has signed a deal to sell a 35.7 percent stake in its on-line auto insurance unit to a German company for 40.91 billion won ($44.5 million).

The deal calls for Daum to sell a total of 5 million shares in Daum Direct Auto Insurance Co. to ERGO, a subsidiary of Munich Re AG., the world’s second-biggest re-insurer, the company said in a statement.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 10 2007] Korea aims to export atomic reactors to Canada

Korea’s state-run power generation companies said Monday (Dec. 10) that they are engaged in talks to export nuclear reactors to Canada.

Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. said there is a fair chance that they would be selected as the initial negotiation partners to build reactors in Ontario.

"The exact time of the selection has not been decided, but we are trying very hard to successfully conclude ongoing negotiators," said a KEPCO source.


With the exception of some key parts, Korea can design and build its own commercial reactors. The Korean Standard Nuclear Power Plant is already in operation, while at least four Korean Advanced Power Reactors are planned.

In addition to the Canadian deal, KEPCO said it is engaged in talks with Turkey, Morocco, Vietnam and China to build commercial reactors.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 9 2007] KT to help set up Internet data center for Mongolia

KT, Korea’s leading fixed-line telephony and broadband Internet service provider, said Sunday (Dec. 9) it plans to help establish an Internet data center in Mongolia.

KT said it has won an order to build an Internet data center for the Mongolian government and to establish information and technology (IT) systems as well as networks. The project, which is scheduled to be complete in February, 2009, also calls for KT to provide IT education and dispatch experts to Mongolia.

"The project will help the two countries to improve technology co-operation and accelerate South Korean companies’ foray into the Central Asian country," a KT official said.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 9 2007] Korea's largest telecommunication service provider goes global

With the growth of the domestic market slowing, a number of local telecommunication giants are scrambling to expand earnings from beyond the increasingly saturated domestic market.

And KT, Korea’s largest telecommunication service provider, is leading the way.

KT CEO Nam Joong-soo says that the firm aims to build a "Silk Road" of the digital era with its broadband and mobile network technology.

Nam said his firm hopes to build a digital silk road that stretches from Korea, across Russia’s Far East to Europe, and all the way to Africa, connecting people through the Internet and mobile telecommunication technology.

KT has already established itself in some of the countries along the route.


KT has high hopes for the proliferation of WiBro, Korea’s homegrown high-speed mobile Internet technology.

WiBro has been chosen as one of the international standards for third-generation mobile telecommunication technologies, known as 3G. The technology allows high-speed Internet access even in a fast-moving car, by blanketing the entire area with wireless hotspots.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 8 2007] Web links bind rural areas to Internet age, raise productivity

Goryeong-gun in Gyeongsangbuk-do (North Gyeongsang Province) is one of the five least-inhabited counties in Korea. But around 1,500 years ago, it was a seat of power for the Gaya Confederacy (45 - 532) of chiefdoms.

Though the county has only 35 thousand residents and five computer game rooms, well developed IT technology in its homes, businesses and schools keep Goryeong residents up to date with the other parts of the peninsula.

Goryeong county council members attend virtual meetings via laptops and Internet connections. Participants can follow and join in proceedings by listening to real-time radio broadcasts thanks to the so called “e-assembly system.”

The Goryeong-gun Office injected 94 million won to establish the online, paperless meeting system that allows users to read electronic documents on the Web and hear input via an IP broadcasting system that delivers the discussions countywide through real-time radio broadcasts.

The system increases efficiency by reducing the number of paper documents -- and hence printing costs -- and saving commuting time for members who live in outlying areas.

According to Goryeong-gun officials, the county expects to pocket up to 20 million a year just by doing away with printing paper and toner outlays.

Meanwhile, Gangwon-do (Province) is to open an exhibition hall that will introduce the history of computers at an information village spread out over its two towns of Hwangdun and Songgye. By opening the exhibition hall, the provincial office expects that the residents can gain a better understanding of IT technology. The information village, Invil for short, is the first of its kind and the product of a national government-backed test run in 2000. The display will show more than 70 machines, including computers, printers, monitors, telephones, facsimiles, modems, LAN cards, cables, software programs, electronic calculators and program drivers.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 7 2007] Korea aims to become leading manufacturer of LED lights by 2015

Korea is aiming to become one of the top three manufacturers of light emitting diode (LED) lights by 2015, the government said on Friday (Dec. 7).

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said at a lighting industry workshop in Seoul that efforts are underway to enhance the country’s level of LED technology, which currently stands at roughly 80 percent of leading industrial economies.

LED lights are much more eco-friendly to manufacture and use than regular light bulbs, since they are more energy efficient and longer-lasting, and do not use mercury during production.
"There will be a strong push for standardization in the manufacturing process and parts used in LED lights, as well as seeking wider access to promising markets," said Cha Dong-hyung, head of the semiconductor and display team at the ministry.

He said that with proper investment and concentration of resources, South Korea should achieve technological parity with current market leaders by 2012.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 6 2007] Korea sets up atomic disaster control center

Korea opened a new atomic disaster control center near a nuclear power plant on its southwestern coast on Thursday (Dec. 6) to enhance the country’s ability to prevent and cope with emergencies, officials said.

The center, close to the Younggwang atomic power plant, will be used to coordinate protective measures and help control the evacuation of people in case of a serious accident, said the officials at the Ministry of Science and Technology.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 6 2007] Incheon begins transformation into U-city

The west coast port city Incheon, pop. 2.6 million, is developing a high-tech personnel and traffic control system to establish a ubiquitous city by 2009, Incheon officials said Wednesday (Dec. 5).

Injecting 650 million won, the Incheon Metropolitan Government will install sensors on streetlights and monitors in each household in a test district so people can keep track of young children and elderly relatives.

For the system to work, the youth and aged need to carry a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag.

The city is also installing a remote control device for streetlamps.

The planned services start in January 2009.

"The U-city development projects are part of the preparations for the 2009 World City Expo and 2014 Asian Games -- both to be held in Incheon," an official explained.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 4 2007] Korea boosting budget for anti-greenhouse gas research

Korea is greatly expanding next year’s research and development budget for reducing greenhouse gas, the Science and Technology Ministry said Monday (Dec. 3).

So-called Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology is drawing international attention because no feasible substitute energy resources exist and it is expected to greatly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions from conventional power plants.

To secure an advance position in the emerging market for gas-reducing technology, the Korean government has allocated 34 billion won in the 2008 budget for related R&D, a 31.5% increase over the previous year.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 4 2007] Korea's November IT exports grow 13.8% on strong handset, panel sales

Korea’s exports of information technology (IT) products rose nearly 14 percent in November from a year earlier thanks to strong overseas sales of mobile handsets and display panels, a government report showed Tuesday (Dec. 4).

According to the report by the Ministry of Information and Communication, Korea’s IT exports amounted to US$12.38 billion last month, up 13.8 percent from the same period a year earlier.
During the same month, IT imports increased 19.5 percent to $6.17 billion, bringing the trade surplus in the sector to $6.21 billion, the report showed.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 4 2007] Korean digital electronics exports rise 10.7% in November

Korea’s digital electronics exports rose 10.7 percent year-on-year to $12.19 billion in November thanks to strong demand for mobile phones, the government said Tuesday (Dec. 4).

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said November’s figure was slightly lower than the record high of $12.50 billion reached in October, but it marked the fifth month in a row that the country’s digital electronic exports exceeded the $10 billion mark.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 2 2007] Korea's investment in greenhouse gas storage to top 30% in 2008

Korea will increase its spending on technologies to capture and store greenhouse gases by over 30 percent in 2008, the government said Sunday (Dec. 2).

The Ministry of Science and Technology said 33.95 billion won ($36.62 million) out of next year’s budget has been set aside to help the country better cope with greenhouse gases, which are causing global warming and unwanted climate change.
[ News, Science / Tech, November 29 2007] Korea successfully conducts test of unmanned tilt-rotor aircraft

Korea successfully tested an unmanned tilt-rotor aircraft that will help the country become a leader of technology in this field, a state-run aerospace institute said Thursday (Nov. 29).

The test carried out in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, is part of a 101.1-billion-won ($108.4 million) project that will run through March 2012, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute said (KARI).

The 2-meter-long unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a wing span of 2.8 meters is a scaled-down version of an aircraft that is to built in mid-2009. The future airframe is expected to weigh one ton, with a 5-meter-long fuselage and a 4-meter-long wingspan.

Under the plan, the aircraft will be able to stay airborne for at least five hours.

"Besides being approximately 40 percent the size of the full-scale UAV, the test airframe is identical to the planned vehicle in most respects," said Koo Sam-ok, the chief systems evaluator for the project. This similarity, the expert added, will allow essential tests including ones on flight control systems, ground avoidance software and automatic piloting technology.
[ News, Science / Tech, November 28 2007] Computer virus experts to gather in Seoul to discuss cooperation

Experts on computer vaccine programs will gather in Korea this week to discuss and exchange opinions on how to cope with the growing threat from viruses and vicious codes in cyberspace, a local tech company said Wednesday (Nov. 28).

The international conference will kick off in Seoul on Thursday for a two-day run with over 300 computer vaccine programmers and cyber security specialists on hand, Ahn Lab Inc. said.

The conference will be held by the Association of Anti-virus Asia Researchers, a non-profit organization, which was established in 1998 to promote ties among Asian countries to protect users from viruses. Ahn Lab, known for its virus vaccine program V3, is one of its founding members.
[ News, Science / Tech, November 28 2007] Korea to upgrade mobile Internet platform

Korea to upgrade mobile Internet platform

Korea announced a set of measures Wednesday (Nov. 28) aimed at improving the nation’s sole wireless Internet middleware to prepare for intensifying competition in the global mobile Internet platform market.

Under the measures, the Ministry of Information and Communication plans rev up efforts to develop improved WIPI standards and enhance the operability of WIPI-related contents.

The ministry said it would also encourage private companies to join in developing new technologies related to the Internet mobile platform.

WIPI stands for wireless Internet platform for interoperability, and is designed to allow users to link to the Internet using wireless means.
[ News, Culture / Events, December 10 2007] Herald Media publishes book of essays by foreign experts on Korea

Herald Media Inc., publisher of the Korea Herald, said Monday (Dec. 10) it recently published a book of English essays by Korea experts at home and abroad, seeking to help global readers better grasp Korea’s rapid political, social, economic and cultural changes.

The book is a collection of 31 essays written by renowned foreign scholars with expertise on Korean affairs for contribution to the Korea Herald, a leading English newspaper in Korea, under its "Insight into Korea" series, starting in June this year.

AsiaMedia :: New press relations

AsiaMedia :: New press relations

'The Korea Herald' comments on whether or not Roh's pressroom policy would or should hold after the new administration steps in The Korea Herald Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Roh Moo-hyun administration's "program for improvement of the media-assistance system" was almost completed last week with the closure of the press rooms at the National Police Agency and the Ministry of National Defense. "Almost" because the media's resistance to the administration's forceful measures is continuing at these and other government offices, as evicted reporters are still writing their stories squatting in the lobbies of their old beats.

If the troublesome program, which was announced last May after years of escalating government-media disputes, is one of the key accomplishments of the present administration, the big question now is whether the next administration will keep it, in the face of resolute opposition by the media. Major presidential candidates have said in unison that they will "reconsider" the measure, if elected.

President Roh said his government "boarded the press rooms up" to make sure that they would not be reopened by the next administration. Large "unified briefing facilities" have been built in the integrated government complexes -- one in Sejongno and another in Gwacheon -- to replace the old press rooms which had existed inside individual government ministries and major administration agencies.

A return in 2008 to the old system would mean wasting a huge amount of taxpayers' money and a great deal of energy which should be directed toward more constructive projects. What is desirable at this time is for both the media and the political group which takes power next February -- as well as the existing bureaucracy -- to give deep thought to how to create the ideal working relationship of "criticism in trust," instead of the mudslinging which has been prevalent during the last five years under President Roh.

A new government-media relationship should reflect changes in the social and political milieu in this nation over the past few decades. The changes have been fast and profound -- from dictatorships to democracy, from a backward economy to industrialization and the world's leader in information technologies, and from a largely Confucian-based hierarchical society to less patriarchal, authoritarian values.

The media -- both journalists and managers -- should ask themselves if they have made sufficient adjustment to these transformations, in the routines of doing their job, in the methods of recruitment and promotion, in the internal system of corporate governance and in the way they look at the government.
Many outsiders feel that media outlets still lack corporate transparency, are exclusive in their hiring practices, and closed to mid-career recruiting, as well as being excessively protective of their own vested interests, and heavily dependent on government-supplied information. These assessments, however correct they may be, were magnified and used as fodder for the media policy of President Roh, who became quite antagonistic to the media during his relatively short and rugged political career.

Politicians regard the press as useful allies until they clinch power; then they try to keep reporters at a distance as they (a senior secretary to President Roh called them "hyenas") uncover corruption and incompetence in the government. Whoever becomes president in February will find the "new media-assistance system" that was established so laboriously by his predecessor to be quite convenient if he shares the political community's typical assessment of the press.

But the next leader, if he is to repair some of the damage of the past five years, needs first to fix the distorted relationship between the media and the government. The media should be willing to cooperate in making a fresh start by doing some soul-searching of its own to identify and work on whatever shortcomings it has.

Date Posted: 12/18/2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

[ News, Economy / Industry, December 18 2007] LG's 'Viewty Phone' appeals to European customers

LG Electronics, Korea’s electronics giant, said Tuesday (Dec. 18) that it has sold over 310,000 of its latest mobile handset model, "Viewty Phone," on European markets just five weeks after it was launched there.

Viewty Phone is a mobile phone that the world’s fifth-largest manufacturer of handsets unveiled in late October to target high-end customers in Europe.
[ News, Economy / Industry, December 17 2007] Korea's e-commerce transactions edge down in 3rd quarter

Korea’s electronic commerce transactions inched down in the third quarter from the previous quarter due to a fall in business-to-government online transactions and seasonal conditions, a report showed Monday (Dec. 17).

The country’s e-commerce transactions dipped 0.9 percent in the July-September period from the previous three months to 125.87 trillion won ($134.87 billion), according to the report by the National Statistical Office.

Compared to a year earlier, the transactions increased 19.2 percent.
[ News, Economy / Industry, December 15 2007] LG Chem wins exclusive order to supply hybrid battery to Hyundai Motor

LG Chem Ltd., Korea’s largest chemicals maker, said it has won an order to exclusively supply rechargeable hybrid car batteries to Hyundai Motor Co. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

LG Chem said in a statement that it will supply lithium-ion polymer batteries to Hyundai Motor which will mass-produce hybrid vehicles in 2009.

"The order proves our technological competitiveness in rechargeable batteries for cars," LG Chem Vice Chairman Kim Ban-seok said in the statement.
[ News, Economy / Industry, December 13 2007] Daewoo Motor Sales, Paramount sign formal deal to open theme park

Daewoo Motor Sales Corp. said Thursday (Dec. 13) it has signed a formal contract with U.S. film studio Paramount Pictures Corp. to build a theme park in western Korea.

The contract calls for Daewoo Motor Sales and Paramount to spend 1.5 trillion won ($1.6 billion) to develop the park in Incheon, west of Seoul, by 2010, the Korean company said in a statement.

Construction will begin in July next year.
[ News, Economy / Industry, December 11 2007] KT aims to post 12 tril. won in sales in 2008

KT Corp., Korea’s largest fixed-line Internet and telephony operator, said Tuesday (Dec. 11) that it aims to post 12 trillion won ($13 billion) in sales in 2008 by seeking new growth engines.

"Since the 2002 privatization, we have continued to work on innovating the company, but sales have remained stagnant at around 11 trillion won," KT CEO Nam Joong-soo told a press conference.

"We see the year 2008 as a turning point when sales figure will exceed the 12-trillion won barrier thanks to efforts in expanding the overall customer base."
[ News, Economy / Industry, December 10 2007] Korea to host 2009 OECD World Forum

Korea will host the 2009 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) World Forum, the government said Monday (Dec. 10).

The knowledge and policy gathering, which will be the third such forum since 2004, aims to improve the use of statistics for evidence-based decision making and the development of a shared-knowledge that can promote social and democratic growth, the National Statistical Office (NSO) said.

The office said over 1,300 participants made up of government policymakers, economists, journalists and civic group leaders from around the world, are expected to come to Korea for the four-day-long gathering.
[ News, Economy / Industry, December 9 2007] Creditors of Hynix Semiconductor agree not to sell stake until takeover completed: sources

Creditors of Hynix Semiconductor, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of computer-memory chips, have agreed to extend the period in which they can sell a stake in the chipmaker, industry sources said Sunday (Dec. 9).

The creditors led by Korea’s fifth-largest lender, Korea Exchange Bank, have agreed to extend the period in which they can sell a 36 percent stake in Hynix until after a sale of the chipmaker is completed, the sources said. Creditors had originally agreed to sell their stake by the end of this year.
[ News, Economy / Industry, December 4 2007] BEXCO aiming to become one of top 10 global convention centers

The Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO) announced its plan to become one of the top ten global convention venues by 2015.

To this aim, BEXCO CEO Kim Soo Ik and the center’s staff announced on Tuesday (Dec. 4) an action plan titled "Vision 2015." The plan outlines four goals under the slogan "BEXCO, Northeast Asia’s most competitive exhibition and convention center."

The Vision 2015 goals include transforming Busan, Korea’s second largest city, into one of the top ten international convention location sites; supporting international brands’ exhibitions and conventions; securing convention infrastructure; and acquiring stable exhibition industry infrastructure.
[ News, Economy / Industry, December 1 2007] Korea's NHN to relaunch Web search services in Japan

Korea’s top Internet company by market value said Friday (Nov. 30) it will establish a new subsidiary in Japan to relaunch search services in that country, almost three years after it halted them.

NHN Corp., which operates the most visited search engine as well as online game sites in Korea, one of the world’s most wired countries, will soon set up Naver Japan, which is to concentrate on web search service in Japan.

It stopped offering its Japanese-language search service in January 2005, saying it was unable to dent Yahoo Japan Corp.’s dominance.
[ News, Economy / Industry, November 29 2007] IT service provider SK C&C opens Indian subsidiary

SK C&C, Korea’s third-largest IT service provider, said Thursday (Nov. 29) that it has opened a wholly owned subsidiary in India in an attempt to expand its presence there and secure a bridge for its advance into overseas markets.

The company said in a statement that it invested initial capital of $332,000 in the subsidiary named SK C&C India, which it said will mainly lead efforts to take over IT companies in India.

This is the second overseas subsidiary for SK C&C. It opened one in China last June.
[ News, Economy / Industry, November 29 2007] Samsung keeps No. 1 spot in monthly LCD sales in October

Samsung Electronics Co. sold more than $2 billion worth of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels in October, maintaining its No. 1 status in the global flat-panel market for 30 months in a row, a report showed Thursday (Nov. 29).

According to the report by DisplaySearch, Samsung Electronics’ LCD sales amounted to $2.03 billion last month, accounting for 24 percent of the $8.5-billion global market. It is the first time that Samsung’s monthly LCD sales have exceeded the 2-billion mark.
[ News, Economy / Industry, November 29 2007] WTO orders Japan lift punitive tariffs on Hynix chips

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled that Japan’s countervailing duties on computer chips made by Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor are illegal under international trade rules and ordered Tokyo to remove the punitive trade barrier, the Seoul government said Thursday (Nov. 29).

Korea filed a complaint with the Geneva-based WTO in March last year after the Japanese government imposed a punitive tariff of 27.2 percent on Hynix memory chips, accusing the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker of receiving an unfair subsidy from the government in 2002.

The Korean government has denied any role in arranging such a bailout.
[ News, Nation, November 28 2007] Roh thanks N. Korean leader for supporting city of Yeosu's Expo campaign

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun on Wednesday (Nov. 28) sent a message of gratitude to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il for supporting the Korean city of Yeosu’s campaign for the 2012 World Expo, presidential spokesman Cheon Ho-seon said.

President Roh’s message was delivered via South Korean Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo, who is now visiting Pyongyang for talks with his North Korean counterpart, according to Cheon.
[ News, Nation, November 27 2007] Gov't out to develop the east coast in earnest

Korea’s relatively rural east coast is to be reborn as a center for high-tech clusters and tourist attractions.

With the Nov. 22 passage of the Special Law for the Coastal Area Development, the east coast’s Gangwon-do Province, the Gyeongsang provinces and Ulsan Metropolitan City can begin long-waited development projects in earnest with about 94 trillion won in support from Seoul, local government officials said Monday (Nov. 26).
[ News, Nation, November 27 2007] Roh congratulates city of Yeosu for winning right to host World Expo

President Roh Moo-hyun sent a message Tuesday (Nov. 27) to the Yeosu World Expo Bidding Committee, congratulating the Korean city over its selection as host of the 2012 event, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

Yeosu, a port in Jeollanam-do (province) on the southern coast of Korea, defeated the Moroccan city of Tangier and the Polish city of Wroclaw in secret balloting held during the general conference of the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) in Paris on Monday.

"Along with the entire Korean people, I’m pleased at the news of Yeosu winning the right to host the 2012 World Expo. I send particular congratulations to the citizens of Yeosu and Jeollanam-do" said Roh in the message.
[ News, Government Press Releases, December 3 2007] Exchange Visits of Korea and ASEAN Government Officials and Media People

1. The Government of the Republic of Korea has been organizing the Exchange Visit of Korea and ASEAN Government Officials and the Exchange Visit of Korea and ASEAN Media People as part of cooperation projects between Korea and ASEAN every year since 1999.

2. 32 journalists from 10 ASEAN Member States will visit Korea from December 2 to 8, 2007, and visit relevant organizations such as the Ministry of Environment and the Korea Water Resources Corporation and relevant facilities such as the nuclear power plant in Uljin and the Daecheong Dam under the theme of "Protection of Natural Resources and Sustainable Development".
[ News, Government Press Releases, November 27 2007] 2012 World Expo to be held in Yeosu

1. Yeosu was selected as the host city of the International Exposition in 2012 at the 142nd General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) held in Paris on November 27 (KST). Yeosu received 77 votes at the second round of vote, 14 votes more than Tangier, Morocco with 63 votes.

2. The Government of the Republic of Korea, together with the people of Korea, would like to celebrate this triumph of pan-national diplomacy based on the ardent wish and passionate support of all Koreans through joint efforts by the Government, the Bidding Committee, local self-governing bodies and the economic circle.
[ News, Government Press Releases, November 27 2007] President congratulates Korean delegation on successful Expo bid

President Roh Moo-hyun sent a congratulatory telegram this morning to the Korean delegation for its successful bid to host the 2012 World Expo. Yeosu was selected as the host city for the 2012 International Exposition at the 142nd session of the BIE Assembly General held early this morning (KST) in Paris. The following is the full text of the President’s message.

Along with all Koreans, I am pleased at the good news that Yeosu was selected as the host city for the 2012 World Expo. I offer my special congratulations to the citizens of Jeollanam-do and Yeosu city.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

[The Chosun Ilbo, December 12 2007] It Takes a Women to Be a True Gentleman, by Yang Sang-hoon

At the end of every year, political reporters are handed a questionnaire in which they are asked to answer who has shown the most gentlemanly behavior during the year. The lawmaker who gets the highest marks in the survey wins the Baekbong Gentleman Award. Baekbong was the pseudonym of La Yong-gyun, the late patriot and former house vice speaker. This year, reporters chose former Grand National Party chairwoman Park Geun-hye. It has been nine years since the award was first launched, but the credentials of its recipient have never been more convincing.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 12 2007] Should Your Kids Get a Games Console for Christmas?

What do kids want the most for Christmas? The answer is a no-brainer: games consoles and cell phones. Some brand-savvy kids may specifically point out Nintendo. Of course, parents are reluctant to give such highly addictive devices to their children, but if they cave in, they had better brace themselves for a battle, experts warn. The Chosun Ilbo examines some of the popular myths about video games.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 12 2007] LG Sets Sights on 100 Mil. Phone Sales

LG Electronics has set a goal of selling more than 100 million mobile phones around the world next year.

Ahn Seung-kwon, chief director of LG Electronics' mobile phone division, told a press conference on Tuesday that thanks to strong sales of the Chocolate and Shine phones, the company's handset sales are expected to top its goal of 80 million units this year.

"Since sales of new products such as the Prada phone are also smooth, we expect next year's mobile phone sales to increase by more than 25 percent," Ahn said.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 11 2007] Korea to Host 2009 OECD World Forum

Korea will host the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's World Forum in October 2009, according to the National Statistical Office and the OECD on Monday. The forum will be the organization's largest gathering involving many of its departments including employment, labor and social affairs, the environment, and economics.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 11 2007] Expensive Drama Was a Boondoggle, Union Claims

Rather than a high-profile success, Munhwa Broadcasting Company's recent drama "Taewangsasingi (The Four Guardian Gods of the King)" was nothing but trouble, the network's union claimed in a recent newsletter.

The union said that Bae Yong-jun, who played the leading role, was paid W6 billion (US$1=W924) to star in the series, or W250 million per episode, accounting for some 15 percent of the total production cost of W43 billion. Considering how much of the budget went to the actor, calling the show a "massive-scale" historical series was an exaggeration, the union said.


The criticism by the MBC union is evidence of changes in the status of the major networks as they endure embarrassments caused by high-profile actors or outside production companies.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 11 2007] Seoul to Host OECD World Forum in 2009

Korea will host the third World Forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in October 2009. OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said Korea was chosen to host the event from among competitors due to its active role in the international community.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 11 2007] Korean Researcher Developing Unmanned Autos

The ROVEH, RObotic VEHicle, is a car that moves without a driver. It is a creation of Han Min-hong, a researcher at a state-funded electronics institute.

A central computer identifies the car's surroundings using a global positioning system and a camera to decide on speed and direction.

The former Korea University professor said, "ROVEH's driving is better than that of an average beginner's. Information on traffic lanes is transmitted to a computer to control the vehicle. It also measures the distance between itself and other objects through lasers."

It has taken 18 years for the researcher to develop the technology for unmanned cars, and he readily admits that at least another decade will pass before such cars reach the market.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 7 2007] Candidates Use TV Debate to Slam Front-Runner

Korea's presidential candidates faced each other in their first televised debate on Thursday. Sponsored by the National Election Commission and held at a KBS studio in Yeouido, Seoul, the debate brought together Lee Myung-bak of the Grand National Party, Chung Dong-young of the Untied New Democratic Party, Rhee In-je of the Democratic Party, Kwon Young-ghil of the Democratic Labor Party, Moon Kook-hyun of the Creative Korea Party and independent Lee Hoi-chang. Veering from the topics of politics, unification, security and foreign policies, most of the candidates focused on attacking the GNP candidate.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 7 2007] Future is Bright for LG Electronics as U.S. Goes Digital

LG Electronics has been described lately as the Qualcomm of the digital TV industry. That's because Qualcomm, a U.S. company, earns a sizable portion of its income from licensing key technologies to mobile phone makers. The Korean electronics giant is expected to do the same with its digital TV receiver technology.

An LG Electronics executive said on Tuesday that the company has started producing digital television set-top boxes (STBs) at its plant in China to be sold in the U.S. next month. Digital STBs convert digital TV broadcast signals to analog for people with analog TVs.

LG Electronics’ move comes as an amendment to a U.S. broadcasting law is expected to provide the company with a huge business opportunity. The law requires that all U.S. TV broadcasts must be digital by February 2009. Digital TVs sales have been soaring this year, and the STB market is likely to pick up steam among people who still own analog TVs.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 7 2007] Police Reporters Protest Pressroom Closure

Reporters on the National Police Agency beat on Thursday issued a statement of protest after all-night sit-ins since Nov. 30 failed to prevent the closure of their pressroom. "It is people's right to know that we are determined to defend,” they said and called on the agency to end attempts under a draconian new government press policy “to obstruct press monitoring.”

"Reporters have been sticking it out with candles” in the pressroom when electricity and heating were cut off, the statement said. “This shows they are willing to defend the freedom of the press against those in power. With about 10 days remaining until election day, we reject the government’s attempt to close down pressrooms." They said police “cut off communication, electricity and heating to the pressroom. They disconnected all equipment necessary for reporters in gathering information and writing and filing stories. This government, which owes its mandate to a candlelight vigil” -- a reference to an anti-American protests in 2002 that fueled enthusiasm for the Left - “is now attempting to blow out the candles in the pressrooms." But the reporters said the government can do nothing “to prevent new candles from being lit everywhere near them."
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 7 2007] Hyundai Inks Technology Deal with German Steelmaker

Hyundai Automotive Group has signed a technology deal with Germany's ThyssenKrupp to get a new Hyundai Steel mill going as soon as possible. The mill in Dangjin, South Chungcheong Province is scheduled to begin commercial production in 2010.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 7 2007] Hyundai Inks Technology Deal with German Steelmaker

Hyundai Automotive Group has signed a technology deal with Germany's ThyssenKrupp to get a new Hyundai Steel mill going as soon as possible. The mill in Dangjin, South Chungcheong Province is scheduled to begin commercial production in 2010.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 7 2007] LG Turns Up Audio Profile With New Music Phone

Determined to expand its audio business, LG Electronics on Thursday released a music phone developed as a "hand-held audio system." The Rhapsody in Music phone is the first creation by audio engineer Mark Levinson since the company brought him in as a special consultant.

Levinson is a living legend in the audio industry, having designed a long list of high-end audio products since he established Mark Levinson Audio Systems at the age of 25. Now 61, Levinson helped to make sure LG's new phone has the best possible sound quality and developed an exclusive earphone for it.

The new phone features a navigating touch wheel for song browsing, sweep spot selection and volume control. It comes bundled with the album "Rhapsody, The Soul of Sound" by seven Korean singers including Sung Si-kyung and Bobby Kim.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 6 2007] BBK Scam Inspired By Movie 'Boiler Room'

Prosecutors say the chief suspect in the so-called BBK scandal that centers on several dubious investment firms copied his operation straight from the Hollywood movie “Boiler Room”, about a fraudulent financial firm. Chief Prosecutor Kim Hong-il of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office, announcing the indictment of Kim Kyung-joon for embezzlement and stock manipulation on Wednesday, said investigators “confiscated a DVD of the movie ‘Boiler Room’ from the former president’s desk in the Optional Ventures office. The movie’s story is nearly identical to the scam.” Kim set up Optional Ventures when BBK folded due to forged investment reports. An official with the special investigative unit said, “Although Kim denies any relation between the scandal and the movie, the movie will help you better understand the scandal.”
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 6 2007] Chocolate Phone Sets Record With 15 Mln. Sales

LG Electronics' Chocolate phone has become the first Korean handset to sell more than 15 million units worldwide. The Chocolate phone, which has been released in about 100 countries around the world, became LG Electronics' first "10 million seller" in mid-April.

Although the phone's overall sales have been losing momentum since then, sales are increasing in Japan and countries in Central America, the Middle East and Africa where it was released later than other parts of the world.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 6 2007] BoA’s Agency to Branch Out Into Stage Musicals

Pop stars BoA, Gang Ta, The Grace and TVXQ are to make the leap to stage musicals, which are enjoying a wave of popularity in Korea. SM Entertainment, the stars’ agency, said Wednesday it will start producing stage musicals next year. Other pop singers like Ok Ju-hyeon, Bada, Hey, Kim Tae-woo and Andy have already appeared in stage musicals to great success.

The Broadway musical “Xanadu” is highly likely to be the first show presented by SM Entertainment.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 6 2007] Candidates Use Colors to Woo Voters

Some campaigns have been temporarily halted, but the presidential election fight goes on in other ways. In order to make an impression on voters the political camps are using colors, which not only bring joy to the eyes, but sometimes speak louder than words.

Orange, blue, yellow, red and white are the colors of this year's presidential race. Each holds a message all its own.

Chung Dong-young with the United New Democrats goes hand-in-hand with the color orange, which connotes warmth and ties into his ''happy family'' campaign theme.

It's perhaps not surprising that Lee Myung-bak has colored his campaign blue. Blue happens to be the color of his Grand National Party. Lee pledges to revive the economy and give hope to the people.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 5 2007] Korean Military Launches New Satellite System

The Korean military will be able to remotely command its vessels and aircraft operating thousands of kilometers away from the country thanks to a new satellite communications system.

The system will cover a diameter of 12,000 km, ranging as far east as the Marshall Islands and west as the Strait of Malacca, and from northern Australia to northern Siberia.

The Agency for Defense Development (ADD) said Tuesday that it has completed the development of the military satellite communications system which began in 1996. It is the first such system built by Korea and will be put into service this month using the Mugunghwa-5 satellite, which was launched in August of last year, the ADD said.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 5 2007] Korean TV Series Breaks New Ground in Japan

All 500 seats of a cinema in Shinjuku, Tokyo, are taken up by women of all ages, there to watch "Taewangsasingi (The Four Guardian Gods of the King),” starring Korean Wave star Bae Yong-joon. The drama is directed by Kim Jong-hak and deals with the life of King Gwanggaeto the Great, known as the “Great Expander” of ancient Korean history.

Showing a 24-episode drama one installment at a time in a theater is certainly a new experiment for the Korean Wave. The series has already been broadcast on cable TV since Dec. 3 and will be accessible for all on national network NHK TV next year. Nevertheless some 20,000 fans paid up to W20,000 (US$1=W923) to watch the drama in a theater, and some 1,000 spent W3 million on a ticket for the entire series.

The press and audience response to Bae’s new series was fulsome. Even though the man known as Yonsama in the island country appeared only fleetingly in the 70-minute episode shown on the day, they were mesmerized by the drama's scale and CGI effects. “It was a great deal more real and exciting to watch on a large screen,” said Haruko Marukawa (67). “The computer graphics were on par with 'The Lord of the Ring.'” Advertiser Koki Matsukubo (37) was impressed by the decision to show the series on the big screen. “This kind of thing doesn’t happen with Japanese drama, and I'm amazed by the idea. I’m sure other theaters will show 'Taewangsasingi ' thanks to Yonsama’s loyal fans.”
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 5 2007] For Global Chip Makers, the Future is NAND Flash

Competition in the NAND Flash memory chip market is heating up amongst the market's leaders. Widely used in digital cameras and mobile phones, NAND Flash memory is expected to lead the next-generation memory chip market, with its market size likely to reach US$21.2 billion by 2009. It has also enjoyed higher growth and a smaller price drop than DRAM used in PCs. That's why semiconductor companies are pouring their efforts into NAND Flash.

Hynix said Tuesday that it will start mass producing 16 Gb multi-level cell NAND Flash chips using its industry-leading 48-nano technology from next year. The 48-nano process is 10 percent more productive than market leader Samsung Electronics' 51-nano process, and 20 percent more productive than Toshiba's 56-nano process, Hynix said.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 4 2007] Video Reunions to Prove Nice Little Earner for N.Korea

The Unification Ministry reportedly agreed to supply North Korea with all cameras, editing equipment and even vehicles to facilitate the exchange of video letters between families separated by the Korean War, on top of paying the North US$1,000 per video, it emerged Tuesday. The amount is 17 times the average monthly pay ($60) for a North Korean worker in the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 4 2007] Hynix to Start Mass Production of 48-nm Chips

Hynix Semiconductor will start mass-producing NAND-type Flash chips using 48-nanometer (nm) processing technology early next year, the first company in the world to do so. Hynix said Tuesday it has completed development of a 48-nm 16-gigabyte multi-level cell NAND Flash chip and sent samples to global customers. It will start full-scale mass-production of the chip in January. Hynix plans to increase production to between 15,000 and 20,000 units a month in the first quarter next year.

A Hynix spokesman said NAND Flash chips meet a variety of demands, since they are used for both mobile gadgets, like music phones, and for solid state drives, which are emerging as a replacement for hard discs. Hynix next plans to produce 8GB single-level cell chips using the same 48-nm process after the multi-level cell chips.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 4 2007] Samsung Partners with Toshiba for Fusion Memory Chips

Samsung Electronics has teamed up with Toshiba to expand its domination of the fusion memory chip market.

Korea’s largest electronics maker said Monday that it signed a deal to license its OneNAND and Flex OneNAND fusion memory chip technology to the Japanese company.

Under the deal, Toshiba will produce the fusion memory chips according to Samsung’s specifications, and Samsung will provide technical support when necessary.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 4 2007] Japanese Electronics Makers Slim Down to Move Ahead

With Korean electronics makers taking a breather, their Japanese rivals are rolling up their sleeves to transform themselves into specialists. Having lost their lead to Korea in the semiconductor, liquid crystal display and digital TV markets one by one over the past 10 years, Japanese electronics companies are doing everything they can to regain the lead in next-generation products.


By contrast, Korean companies have been criticized for doing too little to escape stagnation and take a leap forward. Experts say that some domestic electronics makers like Samsung Electronics are performing well in most business areas, but they need to prepare to compete with Japanese rivals who are turning all their know-how and capabilities toward specialized areas.

"It's no exaggeration to say that Korea and Japan equally dominated the global electronics market for the last decade," said Min Hoo-sik, an executive at Tempis Capital Management. "Now that Japanese companies are working to compete for the next-generation market, Korean companies also have to stay alert."
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 3 2007] SKT Buys Hanaro Telocom for W1 Trillion

SK Telecom, the nation's largest mobile phone service provider, announced it will buy Hanaro Telecom for more than W1 trillion (US$1=W925).

If and when the deal is finalized, the telecommunication giant will have acquired over 40 percent of Hanaro's shares, making SK Telecom the biggest stakeholder.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 3 2007] SKT on Brink of Clinching Hanaro Takeover

Korea’s top wireless service provider SK Telecom is poised to take over Hanrao Telecom, the country’s second-largest telephone and broadband line company. An SK Telecom taskforce in charge of the takeover negotiated with a consortium of Newbridge Capital and AIG, the major shareholder in Hanaro, late into the night over the weekend.

An SK Telecom executive said Sunday the company’s board of directors decided on a per-share price ceiling and gave full authority to SK Telecom president Kim Shin-bae at a meeting on Friday. The ceiling is reportedly set at less than W13,000 (US$1=W922) per share. The executive said his company plans to clinch a final contract before Tuesday if possible and immediately announce the merger.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 3 2007] Samsung Builds Fastest Graphics Memory Chip

Samsung Electronics said Sunday that it has developed the world's fastest graphics DRAM chip. The new 6 Gbps 512 Mb GDDR5 can process graphics data twice as fast as existing chips.

DRAM chips are divided into general-purpose chips for personal computers, graphics chips for game consoles and mobile chips for handsets, with graphics DRAM the fastest and most expensive.

With 32 input and output channels, the new chip can process 24 gigabytes of data per second, which is equivalent of 16 DVD-quality movies.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 3 2007] Sports Marketing Going From Strength to Strength

Already Chelsea FC’s football aces all bear the logo “Samsung Mobile” on their chests, but in August next year, Samsung Electronics plans to change that to just “Samsung” to maximize brand recognition for all its electronics products.

That means Samsung Electronics will also shoulder the sponsorship fee that had so far been the responsibility of its mobile division, which supports the club with W20 billion annually (US$1=W922). “Samsung seems to have made the decision to make full use of Chelsea’s brand power because the team is showing a strong performance befitting its premier reputation,” an IT industry insider explains.

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: MySpace heads for Korea, India

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: MySpace heads for Korea, India:
"South Korea among the five countries to get a local-language MySpace website next year

The Korea Herald
Thursday, December 6, 2007

News Corp.'s MySpace will start local-language sites in South Korea and India in the first quarter to expand the world's most popular social-networking portal outside the United States. The company will offer services in 30 countries in the first quarter, from 25 at present, Sung Lee, vice president of MySpace in Asia, said in Hong Kong."

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: LG Dacom launches IPTV service

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: LG Dacom launches IPTV service:
"Korea's third-largest fixed-line operator prices its IPTV service, 'myLGtv,' 15 percent cheaper than its two rivals

The Korea Herald
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
By Jin Hyun-joo

LG Dacom, Korea's third-largest fixed-line operator, yesterday launched the broadband-based internet protocol television, intensifying competition in the market. Now there are three broadband service providers that offer the IPTV service, which they believe will serve as a new growth engine in the almost saturated telecommunications market. IPTV is expected to bring a major change in television viewing by offering viewers a wide-ranging selection of programs on demand. LG Dacom said its IPTV service, dubbed 'myLGtv,' is available through a bundled product, which also includes broadband Internet access and a telephone service. The broadband service is offered by LG Dacom's subsidiary, LG Powercom."

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: Six candidates to hold televised debate tonight

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: Six candidates to hold televised debate tonight:
"Campaign watchers and media analysts say, however, that the debate will bear little impact on undecided voters

The Korea Times
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
By Kang Hyun-kyung

Six presidential candidates will hold the first round of a television debate series today about political affairs, diplomacy, reunification and security, the National Election Commission (NEC) said. The two-hour debate will be aired by national television networks. The six are Chung Dong-young of the United New Democratic Party (UNDP); Lee Myung-bak of the Grand National Party (GNP); Kwon Young-ghil of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP); Rhee In-je of the Democratic Party (DP); Moon Kook-hyun of the Creative Korea Party (CKP); and independent Lee Hoi-chang. Each candidate will be given 20 minutes to present their policies and discuss the issues. Two more rounds of TV debate are scheduled to take place on Dec. 11 in the areas of social affairs, education, culture and gender issues, and on Dec. 16 in the fields of economy, labor, social welfare, and science and technology, according to the NEC. Campaign watchers said the impact of televised debates on the presidential race has gradually decreased over the past decade."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

[The Chosun Ilbo, November 30 2007] 'Exploding Cell Phone' Was a Lie

The death of a quarry worker in his 30s in Cheongwon County, North Chungcheong Province on Wednesday was not caused by an exploding mobile phone but by a heavy vehicle accident, police said Thursday. Police said a colleague of the victim’s lied about the cause of death to conceal his fault.

According to Cheongju Heungdeok police in charge of investigation on this case, the colleague identified as Kwon (58), who reported the accident on Thursday, killed Seo (33) while driving a backhoe but later told police the cause of death was an exploding mobile phone in Seo’s breast pocket. Police have sought an arrest warrant for Kwon for negligence resulting in death.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 30 2007] Korea Builds Unmanned Tilt-Rotor Plane

Korea has developed an unmanned aircraft that can take off vertically by spinning its propellers like a helicopter and then level off by tilting them forward.

The Smart UVA Development Center under the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said Thursday that it successfully tested the unmanned tilt-rotor aerial vehicle at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute's aviation center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province on Nov. 22. The center also successfully conducted another test of the aircraft in a publicity event on Thursday morning.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 30 2007] If You Build It, Will They Come?

Gyeonggi Province recently signed a memorandum of understanding with a representative of Universal Parks & Resorts of the U.S. to build a theme park on reclaimed land near Sihwa Lake. The provincial government says it will be a supersize park with a golf course, a convention center, a hotel and a condominium. Other talks are also under way to build a Hallyuwood park in Goyang to capitalize on the Korean Wave, and a theme park with a 108-hole golf course in Pocheon, both in Gyeonggi Province. Siheung City in the same province is currently negotiating with MGM Studios to build yet another theme park. Other areas in Gyeonggi Province, such as New Songdo City, a special economic zone in the province, Cheongna district, and Yeongjong Island, have also set their eyes on theme parks. Other regions, including Taean in South Chungcheong Province and Busan, are considering building theme parks of their own.


Korea surely needs world-class theme parks. But we are mistaken if we believe that sufficient numbers of foreign tourists will be enchanted by the brand names of such theme parks alone.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 30 2007] How Stars Dress for the Red Carpet

A glimpse of true glamour graced the red carpet at the Blue Dragon Awards last Friday, when Korea’s most beautiful actresses wore some of the most stunning dresses the fashion world could produce.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 30 2007] Korea Wins in DRAM Dispute With Japan

The World Trade Organization in Geneva has ruled in favor of Korea's claims that punitive duties Japan imposed on chips from Korea's Hynix Semiconductor were discriminatory. The ruling ends a nearly two-year dispute over Japan's taxation on Korean-made DRAM chips.

The WTO's Dispute Settlement Body ruled against Japan's countervailing duties imposed on the chips, saying they violate the world body's convention on subsidies.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] Bringing Universal Studios Requires a Sure Strategy

Gyeonggi Province, the city of Hwaseong and the Korea Water Resource Corp. have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a representative of Universal Parks & Resorts of the U.S. to create a Universal Studios theme park, golf course, convention center, hotel, shopping mall and comprehensive resort facilities. The theme park and resort, which will be built on a tidal flat south of Sihwa Lake in Hwaseong, will cover a 4.7 million sq.m area, more than double the size of the Universal theme parks in Orlando, Florida (1.8 million sq.m) and Los Angeles (1.69 sq.m). If a formal contract is signed in the first half of next year as scheduled, then the facility is expected to open in March of 2012 after W2.9 trillion (US$1=W931) in Korean and foreign investments.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] Copycats Hollowing Out Korea’s Internet Industry

What took a full year to achieve in the past now takes only a month. In the IT era, the 1990s are a long time ago. A memory from that historic time is the rivalry among word processor software developers. Lee Chan-jin, dubbed the "Bill Gates of Korea", made a great success of his Hangul software, and other software makers followed suit to develop word processor software of their own. As a result, domestic and foreign word processor software makers such as Papyrus, Saimdang, AmiPro, Gulsarang, and Arirang -- companies whose names nobody now remembers -- competed fiercely with each other. A few years later, almost all of them were gone. Only Microsoft Word and Hangul managed to survive, and the word processor market ceased to exist.


Korea has already been overtaken by Japan and other countries in terms of the super-speed Internet infrastructure, which we once took credit for leading. Korean businesses are busy copying other people's ideas instead of developing innovative technologies of their own. It feels like a the death knell of the Korean Internet industry.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] Seoul City Requests W39 Bil. for Publicity Blitz

With an ambitious aim to attract 12 million foreign visitors in 2008, the city of Seoul wants to hike its public relations budget for next year eight-fold to a whopping W39.2 billion (US$1=W931).

The figure is almost four times higher than the Government Information Agency's PR budget of W10.9 billion. The city's PR budget for this year was W4.8 billion.

Seoul said on Wednesday it has decided to launch an aggressive marketing campaign in foreign media, from newspapers to Internet to broadcasters.

The draft budget includes W20.6 billion to air advertisements about the city on foreign cable networks such as CNN and with terrestrial broadcasters in China and Japan, W3.2 billion for Internet ads on foreign web portals including Yahoo and Google, W3 billion for magazine ads and W2 billion for billboards in major foreign cities.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] LG.Philips LCD Settles Taiwan Patent Dispute

LG.Philips LCD said Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with a Taiwanese company on an out-of-court settlement for alleged patent violations. Chunghwa Picture Tubes will pay compensation to the Korean-Dutch joint venture, ending five years of legal wrangling between the two.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] Exploding Phone Kills N.Chungcheong Man

A man in his 30s was killed on Wednesday in what is believed to have been a mobile-phone explosion. Around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, a worker at a quarry in Cheongwon County, North Chungcheong Province found the backhoe operator identified as Seo (33). The worker told police he found Seo lying beside his backhoe and bleeding from the nose. His phone was on fire. The worker put out the fire and called emergency services. Seo was taken to hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.


Seo used the latest slide phone released by a leading Korean electronics company in April. In June, the press reported that a 22-year-old welder was killed at a steel mill in Lanchow in China’s Gansu Province after the mobile phone in his chest pocket exploded. This was the first time a mobile-phone explosion has killed a person in Korea.

The maker of the phone in question says the gadget was equipped with a lithium polymer battery, an improved and safer version of lithium-ion batteries, adding there had been no reports on explosions of the new batteries before.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] A Chapter Ends: KT to Close Telegraph Service

KT has decided to shut down its telegraph service, Korea's first electronic communications system. The company said Wednesday that it will spin off its telegraph business division to create a new company due to noticeable decrease in demand.

Korea's largest fixed-line and Internet service provider said that the division will likely post sales of W13.3 billion (US$1=W931) for the year, a more than 30 percent fall from W19.1 billion in 2004. Sales are expected to slow to 3.72 million telegrams for 2007, down from 5.37 million in 2004.

"With all the sophisticated technologies like email and text messaging available, fewer people are sending telegrams," a KT staffer said. "It was once an essential service, but now, despite our efforts, it is impossible to turn the business around."
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] Election Advertising Blizzard Starts

The election advertising campaign by political parties and presidential candidates kicked off in earnest with attempts to attract the attention of 37 million voters on Wednesday. The two largest parties, the United New Democratic Party and the Grand National Party were naturally at the forefront.


On the Internet, the GNP’s Lee Myung-bak and the UNDP’s Chung Dong-young can be seen in a rash of video clips. The GNP decided to spend about W5 billion on Internet advertising to expose its candidate to the netizens a total of some 30 billion times. The UNDP will pour about W3 billion into online advertising. The parties will also send text messages to voters -- the GNP a total of 35 million and the UNDP a total of 2 million. For e-mail advertising, which is free and allowed limitlessly, the GNP has already obtained the addresses of some 300,000 people and the UNDP is preparing to follow suit.


Such a massive PR blitz is pie-in-the-sky for minor candidates. Independent and twice-defeated presidential candidate Lee Hoi-chang, who is currently the runner-up in the approval ratings, said, "I didn't know that it would be so difficult for an independent candidate to conduct a campaign. Such a hugely expensive campaign is impossible for me." Lee plans to put 10 ads in newspapers, and 15 ads each in TV and radio. He almost gave up the idea of TV speeches, which cost the most, but is now considering making three five-minute speeches on TV in the last stage of his campaign.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] Samsung Eyes 20% Share of Handset Market

Samsung Electronics plans to boost outsourcing next year in hopes of selling over 200 million cell phones and reach its 20 percent market share goal.

A company official said on Wednesday that Samsung's rate of growth is already twice as fast as overall growth in the handset market and it expects to boost production through new and existing factories.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 28 2007] World Expo Boasts 156-Year History

Residents of Yeosu are elated at the prospect of hosting the 2012 World Expo after the 142nd General Assembly of the Bureau of International Expositions in Paris on Monday plumbed for the Korean port city. So what is it about the event that has so many people excited and where did it all begin?


Since the first London event, world expos have been held 93 times, mostly in Europe and the United States. In Asia only Korea and Japan have hosted this global event. Yeosu will become the second city in Korea to host a world expo after the heartland city of Daejeon held the event in 1993.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 28 2007] LG Shine Phone Sold 5 Million Units Worldwide

LG Electronics said Tuesday its Shine cell phone has sold five million units in the 13 months since it was introduced in the domestic market and nine months after its overseas debut. An average of 500,000 of the stainless steel-plated phones were sold each month before the fourth quarter. But sales soared to 1 million in November.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 28 2007] Yeosu Expo Must Serve as Catalyst for Korea's Upgrade

The earnest hopes of the residents of Yeosu, with a population of less than 300,000, ended up moving the world. Overcoming the pain of defeat, Yeosu was chosen as the host of the World Expo 2012. This is a proud victory achieved through the cooperation and ceaseless efforts of the private and public sectors, including the residents of Yeosu, the Korean people, as well as regional and central governments.

The World Expo, which is a global exhibition and festival offering a path of development and an image of the future for humankind, was first held in London in 1851 to become one of the world's three major events besides the Olympics and the World Cup. The World Expo is not just a one-off event. Previous expositions have served as opportunities to upgrade the image and economies of the host cities and nations.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 28 2007] S.Korean IT Leaders to Talk Cooperation in Pyongyang

The two Koreas will step up cooperation in the IT sector amid brisk inter-Korean economic cooperation since an inter-Korean summit in early October. According to the Unification Ministry on Tuesday, heads of eight South Korean IT companies, including Dasan Networks CEO Nam Min-woo, will leave for Pyongyang on Wednesday at the invitation of North Korean authorities. They will discuss measures to facilitate inter-Korean IT cooperation with officials of North Korea’s Samcholli General Corp. during a four-day stay that ends on Dec. 1.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 28 2007] Samsung to Mass Produce Mobile RFID Reader Chips

Samsung Electronics said Tuesday that it will start mass producing mobile RFID reader chips next month.
RFID stands for radio frequency identification, and RFID reader chips allow devices to wirelessly retrieve information on products that have electronic tags embedded in their packaging.

For example, an MP3 player equipped with one of the new RFID reader chips could play music from an album just by holding the player up to the RFID-tagged album packaging. A microwave oven with a reader chip could automatically set the cooking time for frozen food by retrieving the information from a RFID tag in the food box.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 28 2007] Location Chosen for Universal Studios in Korea

A Universal Studios theme park and resort will be built in the Songsan Green City development in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.
Gyeonggi Province, the city of Hwaseong, the Korea Water Resource Corp. and consortium USK said on Tuesday that they signed a memorandum of understanding for the W2.9 trillion (US$1=W929) theme park.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 27 2007] Yeosu Wins World Expo Bid

The port city of Yeosu has been selected to host the 2012 World Expo, beating Morocco’s Tangier. The Paris-based International Exhibitions Bureau announced Yeosu as the host city of the 2012 event at its 142nd general assembly on Tuesday morning. The Korean city won 77 votes from 140 IBE members and the Moroccan city 63. Poland’s Wroclaw was eliminated in the first round, garnering 13 votes to Yeosu’s 68 votes and Tangier’s 59. Yeosu and Tangier then went into a second round. The last Korean city to host a World Expo was Daejeon as recently as 1993. Korea and Japan are the only Asian countries to have hosted the event. The Chinese city of Shanghai is to host it in 2010.
[The Hankyoreh, December 6 2007] LG Telecom voices concern over SK Telecom's takeover of Hanarotelecom

The top executive of LG Telecom Ltd., South Korea's smallest mobile carrier, expressed concerns Thursday over a recently announced takeover deal by its bigger rival SK Telecom Co. of a local broadband Internet operator.
The LG executive urged the government to take measures to guarantee fair competition.

"We are very concerned about the deal," Jung Il-jae, LG Telecom CEO, told a press conference, referring to SK Telecom Co.'s move to purchase a controlling stake in Hanarotelecom Inc., the nation's second-largest Internet service provider. "The government should consider ways to reduce anti-competitive market conditions that could be triggered by the takeover deal."

The remarks come after SK Telecom announced on Monday that it has signed an official contract to buy a 38.89 percent stake in Hanarotelecom for 1.08 trillion won (US$1.17 billion). The takeover deal is subject to government endorsement and SK Telecom said it is preparing the necessary documents.
[The Hankyoreh, December 1 2007] Cursing Granny’s castigation

Grand National Party presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak is facing criticism for a recent television advertisement in which he visits a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where the owner, Cursing Granny, tells Lee to “stop fighting with all them politicians ’n fix the economy.”
[The Hankyoreh, November 30 2007] The main opposition GNP wages war with the media

MBC unionists criticize GNP's harsh stance as media oppression and blackmailing

The main opposition Grand National Party has virtually declared war against MBC, which has been airing the BBK fraud case as its main story, inciting MBC’s labor union to fight back, saying that the GNP’s actions are akin to “media oppression.” Ahead of the prosecution’s interim report on its investigation into the BBK case, which is scheduled to be released on December 5, the battlefield of the GNP has spilled over into media.

On November 29, the GNP refused to take part in MBC’s public debate program “100-Minute Discussion.” Nine GNP lawmakers also visited MBC to directly deliver their protests to the broadcaster’s president, Choi Moon-soon. While the GNP claims its actions were justified as a way to defend itself from malicious propaganda, critics say that the GNP deserves the criticism that it is trying to tame the media for reporting on stories that were critical of Lee Myung-bak.


A lawmaker who is close to the media said, “The GNP’s harsh response is understandable because, for now, there is a state of war. But if it wins the presidential election, the GNP should change its attitude.” The lawmaker continued, “President Roh, despite some of his achievements, has been blamed for taking a hostile stance against some of the nation’s newspapers.”
[The Hankyoreh, November 26 2007] Celebrating the 2012 Yeosu Expo

Thousands of people in Yeosu, the southernmost port city of South Korea located in South Cheolla Province, celebrate in front of Yeosu City Hall on November 27, as they get the news that Yeosu was chosen to host the 2012 World Expo. Fireworks seen behind the jubilant people boosted the festive mood.

The hosting of the 2012 World Expo is expected to provide momentum for the prosperity and growth of the port city.
[The Hankyoreh, November 26 2007] Yeosu wins bid to host World Expo in 2012

The South Korean port city of Yeosu Monday won the right to host the 2012 World Expo, fending off a challenge from Tangiers of Morocco and Wroclaw of Poland to hold the global industrial fair.

In the voting at the 142nd General Assembly of the Paris-based Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), which selects the host city for the internationally recognized event, the southern coastal city obtained a majority with 77 votes. Tangiers received 63 votes.
[The Hankyoreh, November 26 2007] Universal Studios to build new theme park in South Korea by 2012

Universal Parks & Resorts, its local partners and the government of Gyeonggi province will sign a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday calling for the construction of a Universal Studios theme park at a seaside location in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi province, by 2012, the provincial government said Monday.
[The Hankyoreh, November 26 2007] [Column] Monitoring the truth in the information age

While closely watching the leakage of test questions at Gimpo Foreign Language High School as the parent of a middle school third-grader, I thought about how it would have been if the incident had happened in the 1990s, when I was a local news reporter. At that time, I went around private institutions gathering information or gathering information if I was lucky.

The incident was revealed by two students who failed to pass Gimpo Foreign Language High School’s entrance exam. If this had happened in the 1990s, the two students would have remained unidentified informants and honor would have been restored to the reporter who was given the information. Back then, reporters could get exclusive stories only if they received telephone tips from readers, and readers did not have the opportunity to disclose the truth without using the media.

Now, readers have the means to inquire, collect and disseminate information on their own. In connection with the leakage of exam questions at the high school, two students made an Internet cafe, a task which takes less than 10 minutes to accomplish. The cafe was widely known to people as netizens logged into the site which, as an increasing number of people gave evidence in the case, became a central point for those who wanted to clarify the truth. Netizens simultaneously began to spread information. Up to two weeks before the school acknowledged the incident and police announced the results of its investigation, the Internet cafe worked as a more important point of reference than any of the traditional media outlets.


The cafe was filled with requests for interviews posted by the print and broadcast media. The two informants, who in the past would have remained unnamed and gone without credit, are now in a position to chose which media outlets they want to talk to. This in some situations means that the control of information has shifted to media users. These users now have the ability to organize information by themselves. However one must not forget that this is true only when the information is based on the truth.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ultimatum to Close Pressroom Issued Again(The Korea Times)

Ultimatum to Close Pressroom Issued Again (The Korea Times):
" 12-04-2007
By Yoon Won-sup
Staff Reporter

The Ministry of National Defense issued an ultimatum Tuesday for its press corps to leave the existing pressroom by today. Instead, the ministry asked the reporters to move to a new central pressroom where the ministry has been giving press briefings since Nov. 1. However, most journalists have boycotted the briefings, saying they oppose the government's media policy. ``We can't delay implementation of the government's new media policy any longer. So please move to the new central pressroom,'' a ministry official said on condition of anonymity. The ministry will stop providing services for the press such as Internet lines and press releases unless the journalists move into the new pressroom by 6 p.m. Wednesday. But the press corps of the ministry again refused the request and demanded the government drop its media policy. ``We demand the government to stop oppressing the press immediately,'' the reporters' group said. ``We will not accept any request from the government.''"

Friday, November 30, 2007


KBS WORLD: [30.11.2007] "The “Ubiquitous Fashionable Computer” (UFC) fashion show took place on Nov. 29th at COEX Pacific Hall in Seoul’s Samseong-dong"

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

[ News, Society, November 27 2007] Universal Studios to build new theme park in Korea by 2012

Korea’s Gyeonggi-do (province) and Universal Parks & Resorts of the U.S. have signed a memorandum of understanding to build a 2.9 trillion won ($3.1 billion) theme park south of Seoul, the provincial government said Tuesday (Nov. 27).

The park will be built in Hwaseong, a city about 70 kilometers southwest of Seoul, Gyeonngi province by 2012, the provincial government said in a statement.