As the fourth Industrial Revolution, which brings up new technologies and services such as artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicle and fintech, has been spreading, some experts have pointed out that there is no new tech startup, which can bring about the fourth Industrial Revolution, in South Korea.
The nation that don’t have such startups will eventually turn to existing conglomerates or hand over the lead to rapidly growing foreign startups. This is why experts have kept saying that the government needs to ease regulations and strengthen systematic supports in order to create the startup ecosystem so that younger people can establish startups with new technologies more easily.
During the Startup Ecosystem Conference held in the Venture Maru at Jeju Technopark from June 22 to 23, Lim Jung-wook, managing director of Startup Alliance Center, said, “There is a growing interest in AI around the world, but there are few AI startups in South Korea. In China, AI startups attract more than 100 billion won (US$87.83 million) investment and are offered merger and acquisition (M&A). On the other hand, there is no AI startup that has attracted 10 billion won (US$8.78 million) investment in South Korea.”
In particular, there is no startup in the autonomous driving sector using AI. Lim said, “There is a lot of interest in autonomous driving in South Korea but there is no driverless driving tech startup. There are also no startup founders who were former employees of automakers, such as Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, in the country.”
Lim also said, “More and more Koreans start up a fintech business but strict regulations hamper the growth. There can be a successful startup in the call bus sector but had to change business models due to regulations.”
At the conference, Han Jong-ho, director of Gangwon Center for Creative Economy and Innovation, said that South Korea should continuously promote Creative Economy and Innovation Centers across the nation, which are now unwelcome due to the fact that they were initiated by former President Park Geun-hye. He said, “Creative Economy and Innovation Centers scattered across the nation are meaningful in that they spread startup infrastructure, which have been centered in the metropolitan area, to other regions. The new government also should help Creative Economy and Innovation Centers continuously act as a go-between for innovation that facilitates local industry innovation.”