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Korea gets wired: Time

Posted December. 06, 2000 14:49,   


South Korea has become one of the world's most connected countries—and Koreans are doing just about everything on the Internet, the weekly U.S. newsmagazine Time reported in its cover story of Dec. 11 in the Asia edition (Korea gets wired).

About 34 percent of Korea's population (47 million) access the Internet, far ahead of Taiwan (18 percent), Hong Kong (17 percent), Japan (14 percent) and China (0.7 percent), according to Time.

In another indicator of information technology -- subscription to super-high speed communication networks -- Koreans have outpaced Japanese and have almost caught up with Americans. The number of subscribers to such networks doubled in the past five months to surpass 3 million. In Japan subscribers number 450,000 out of a population of 127 million, and in the United States only 6 million out of a population of 273 million, Time said.

The weekly said not only the young adults but also children and the elderly use the Internet in Korea, and its use has become so widespread as to bridge the gaps between generations.

The story carried the photo of a Buddhist priest using the Internet and an episode of gamers who have emerged as popular professionals.

Although the Kosdaq index, based chiefly on information technology stocks, lately has dropped over 60 percent from its peak, the magazine noted, Koreans do not give up their belief in information technology. It added that the information sector has grown into one of the nation¡¯s pivotal industries accounting for more than 10 percent of the gross national product.

The adaptability of Hangul, the Korean script, to electronic communication and the high enthusiasm of Korean parents for education are cited as among the reasons for Korea's advance in an information-based lifestyle featuring extensive harnessing of cyber-space for daily routines ranging from date to marriage to even expression of condolences to the bereaved families.