The Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning announced on June 12 that the number of wearable device users in South Korea skyrocketed from 50,237 to 510,066 between the end of 2014 and the end of April this year.
The calculation of the number is based on the number of SIM cards provided by mobile carriers, and thus the actual number of wearable device users in the country is likely to be greater than the announcement.
The South Korean government released a plan for promoting the growth of the domestic wearable device market in September last year. According to the plan, a budget of 127.2 billion won (US$110.6 million) is to be spent for the development of wearable device technology from 2016 to 2020.
In addition, a new quality certification scheme is to be adopted for deregulation and certified products are to be included in the list of government procurement items. In the same context, the Institute for Information & Communications Technology Promotion of the ministry has run the K-ICT Device Lab since December 2014 and the lab has assisted in 15 startups, signed 13 investment contracts and supported the commercialization of 282 items.
Nevertheless, industry insiders are pointing out that the lack of software developers and complicated product certification procedures are still hampering the growth of the domestic wearable device market. They are calling for the government to come up with more support measures to accelerate the growth of convergence industries based on wearable technology.