Rosy Digital Vision
MIC Director General Lee unveils world of digital age at KCCI meeting

The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry(KCCI) held a breakfast meeting on the subject of "National Information Policy and Its Future Vision"with Lee Seong-ok, director general of the Information Planning Office of the Ministry of Information and Communication as a featured speaker in the morning of Nov.29 at Lotte Hotel downtown Seoul.
Director General Lee began the gathering of CEOs of KCCI member firms by saying that the world history showed that a revolutionary change occurred in every 50 years starting with the invention of steam-engine locomotive in 1814, which was followed by the industrial society with the invention of telephone during 1876 and 1925. The period led to the age of television from 1925, followed by the invention of personal computers in 1973, which kicked off the age of information featured by the digital technology.
The high-ranking government official said that the age of information knowledge in the third revolution in the world history following the Industrial Age and the Agricultural Age. The Industrial Age was featured by the machinery technology using motors, whereas the knowledge-information age has been brought about by the rapid development of information technology such as communication and computers.
He said there has been a rapid increase in the number of Internet users around the world, which is expected to top 1 billion at the end of this year from 600 million at the end of 2002.
In Korea, the number increased to 32.57 million at the end of June this year from 26.27 million at the end of 2002. The Internet will have 50 million users in five years following its usage was opened to the general public, compared to radio taking 38 years to secure 50 million listeners and 13 years for TV. The information age brought many changes in various sectors in the society.
In the economic sector, the economy moved to the knowledge-based economy with the expansion in the IT industry. The number of IT firms occupied four out of 10 top listed companies as of September this year with the emergence of a new industry such as Internet portal and the expansion in electronic commercial transactions. In society, the changes include the emergence of e-life, including lectures on Internet and the establishment of 17 cyber colleges with government approval. In the cultural sector, changes include the creation of a new culture with over 5 million visitors visiting the individual community portal in monthly average and flourishing online joint community. Over 15 million people have cyworld mini-homepages. In politics, private political groups and Red Devils realized mass participation in politics through the Internet including candle light vigils. Legislators introduced their parliament activities through their own homepages.
The knowledge-based age saw the appearance of a number of new industries including e-business, game, moving pictures, music and software industries related to digital contents. The transactions made through e-business grew from 55 billion won in 1998 to 314 trillion won in 2004. The new industries also included Internet portal sites, database establishment, and information handling and operation business.
The new age also altered business structures in some industries including the reduction of middlemen with the direct deals between consumers and producers made through the Internet. The reduction of manpower and upgrade in productivity took effect with the tie-up between information and the IT technology. The employment in the new industries increased, while some traditional industries saw their work fore reduced. The employment in e-business, and the software industries increased, while the employment in the existing industries was down. The agriculture sector accounted for 58 percent of total workforce in the country, but it was reduced to 8.3 percent in 2001, down 50 percent in the span of 40 years. The country turned from an agricultural society to an industrial one. Despite the cuts in the number of farm workers, the production increased in the farm belt due to the development of technology.


Lee Seong-ok, director-general of the Information Planning Office of the Information and Communication Ministry

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