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Will China surpass Korea in information technology?

Posted December. 18, 2015 10:42,   


Chinese President Xi Jinping has declared his country`s rise in cyberspace, too. Speaking at the second World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, Xi said that China will equip all of its rural villages with broadband Internet by 2020 with a goal of starting the commercial use of the fifth-generation mobile network technology. The declaration has revealed China`s ambition to surpass Korea as an information-technology powerhouse.

According to the China Internet Information Center, the country has 668 million Internet users. It also has 594 million mobile Internet users, the largest in the world. As China has been implementing an information and communication technology strategy on a national level with its strong netizen base, Chinese companies such as e-commerce giant Alibaba and online game company Tencent have emerged as major players in the international market. In particular, China is said to be about 10 years ahead of Korea in e-commerce and fintech. According to the British daily Financial Times, seven of the world`s 50 leading fintech companies are Chinese, compared with six of Britain aiming to turn London into the fintech capital.

Despite heavy control and surveillance of the Internet, China does not regulate innovative industries. At a forum held in Seoul by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Kang Jeong-soo, director of the Institute for the Digital Society, noted that the Chinese government creates a competitive environment first for the information technology industry before making regulations to address issues that arise later. Korea, which sowed the seeds of fintech in the early 2000s but applies traditional industrial regulations to the information technology industry, should pay attention to China`s approach.

China`s fast rise in the information technology industry following the manufacturing industry is jeopardizing Korea. If Seoul wants to protect its status as an information technology powerhouse, it should urgently promote entrepreneurship armed with state-of-the-art technology and improve laws and regulations to support it.