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Communications market faces retooling

Posted February. 20, 2001 17:13,   


To address such problems as excessive investments and worsening profitability in the communications market, the government will seek ways to streamline the industry into three wired and wireless integrated communications business groups through mergers or closures.

Judging that the foundation of the information and technology industry could be shaken if it fails to protect intellectual property rights, the government decided to focus its administrative power on the prevention of illegal software duplication. At the same time, it will computerize all government procurement, whose value is expected to reach 100 trillion won by 2002, thus completing the creation of a digital government.

These and other plans were included in a report delivered by Minister of Information and Communication Ahn Byung-Yup to President Kim Dae-Jung at Cheong Wa Dae Tuesday morning. Ahn said the government would encourage mergers and closures of communication businesses and foster smaller companies as specialized firms as part of efforts to keep up with world market trends.

To institute a digital government, the ministry will also computerize 80% of the government offices` procurement functions by the end of this year and complete the computerization of the remaining sectors, including defense, construction, and public corporations, by 2002.

Ahn also reported that the ministry would push for the use of picture telephones for families with relatives in North Korea, the construction of a communication network in the Kaesung Industrial Estate, and the standardization of communications services and relevant software in an attempt to further activate exchanges and economic cooperation between South and North Korea.

By grooming an additional 200,000 information technology (IT) professionals by 2005, the government will overcome the existing manpower shortage and actively cope with overseas demand for related products. Moreover, it will support the establishment of a cooperation center to fight cyber terror and push for the set up of the Digital Bridge Fund in the first half of this year in order to narrow the information gap between countries in East Asia.

Noting that the government would take a firm and determined approach to activating the market economy and creating a climate conducive to originality and innovation, President Kim said, “In particular, the illegal duplication of goods produced by others is a problem we will have to solve if we wish to head off criticism from foreign countries. Accordingly, we should map out thorough countermeasures while promoting cooperation with pan-national organizations.”

Kim Tae-Han freewill@donga.com