Software industry to be nurtured

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Software industry to be nurtured


Korea will increase investment and overhaul legislation in a bid to nurture its software industry, Minister of Information and Communication Chin Dae-je said at an international software fair that kicked off in Seoul yesterday.

"We will grow the local software industry into a 53 trillion won ($51 billion) market by 2010, compared to 21 trillion won last year," Chin said. "Exports will also grow to $5 billion from last year's $800 million."

Under the plan, the government will pour more than 1 trillion won ($967 million) annually to develop large-scale public IT projects. Current legislation will also be revised to remove roadblocks to the software industry's progress, such as revising the existing medical laws to allow long-distance, remote-control based treatment.

The government will also spend 120 billion won to nurture five package software firms that are able to generate more than 100 billion won in annual sales.

Further, the government will promote the Linux operating system to account for 30 percent of servers from the current 18 percent, and up to 10 percent for personal computers.

In the games and content sector, the government plans to pour 200 billion won to support the development of graphics and virtual reality technologies toward the goal of placing five local firms on the U.S. Nasdaq market by 2010.

Chin described the state of Korean software companies as "shabby" in contrast to the industry's growing importance. Chin said software accounts for up to 33 percent of raw costs while it has emerged as an important infrastructure for core industries in the era of digital convergence.

Despite its overall progress in the IT sector, Korea exported just $830 million worth of software goods to overseas last year, which is only about 1 percent of the nation's exports.

Representatives of 247 domestic and foreign software companies are in Seoul to attend the international software exhibition, SoftExpo & DCF 2005, being held at COEX. The event is expected to draw 70,000 visitors during its four-day run.

The exhibition is divided into two booths.

The public zone is for the common visitors where they can have hands-on experience of the latest software technologies, such as mobile radio frequency identification service and voice-recognizing robots, as well as hit games like NCsoft Corp.'s online game "Guild Wars."

The business zone, on the other hand, is a platform for foreign and local industry people to seek business partnerships.

A range of discussions and meetings are also scheduled on the sidelines of the exhibition.

Guest speakers to the "SW Insight Conference" include Kim Jeong, president of Lucent Technologies Bell Labs and Asa Dotzler, the community coordinator for Mozilla projects.

The fair will also provide consultation services to small- and medium-sized IT firms which hoped to advance to overseas markets.

Representatives of such high-profile software distributors as Softmart of the United States, Singapore Technologies Electronics Ltd. and Japan's Information Services International-Dentsu are expected to attend.


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