Rising from obscurity 25 years ago, Korean electronics companies have cometo own a significant share of the world electronics market today. They are nowthe major DRAM suppliers in the world. They conduct state-of-the-art R&Dprojects, establish foreign ventures, and support world-class universityscience and technology (S&T) programs. The purpose of this study was toprovide a clear English-language analysis of how Korean corporations operateand what technologies, manufacturing procedures, capabilities, andinfrastructure have made them so successful. This information, coupled withunderstanding of the future direction of the Korean electronics industry, isvital to U.S. competitiveness, to help U.S. businesses determine in whichmarket sectors to compete and in which areas subcontracting, outsourcing, andpartnership agreements would be beneficial.

The study was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, through theWorld Technology Evaluation Center (WTEC) at Loyola College in Baltimore,Maryland, and the CALCE Electronic Packaging Research Center at the Universityof Maryland. The full report of the study, The Korean Electronics Industry1(Pecht et al. 1997; see also http://www.calce.umd.edu), is based on the WTECteam's visits in early summer 1996 to Korean electronics companies,institutions, and government agencies, on conversations with company employees,and on research of the available literature. All Korean hosts were given anopportunity to review and make corrections to the report prior topublication.


Korea's electronics capabilities in the past 25 years have undergoneremarkably consistent and rapid expansion in terms of (1) size and capacity offacilities, (2) technological expertise and sophistication, and (3) incomeearned and impact on the world market. Korea has built and is continuing tobuild a stand-alone capability in a broad range of electronics technologies,including DRAM, SRAM, and ASIC design approaches; electronics materials andpackaging; and development of key new information technology products (e.g.,displays). The nation's strategic focus is on achieving dominance not only inproduction and manufacture of electronics products and components, but also increation and innovation of new technologies in the field. Korea is determinedto remain internationally competitive in electronics in the long run and isprepared to commit the required long-term financial and logistical resources toachieve its goals.

Korean manufacturers dominate markets for DRAMs and other such commoditydevices. The growth of the Korean semiconductor industry has been stunning.Within a 10-year period, Korean "chaebols" (industrial conglomerates)went from being virtual non-players to capturing one-quarter of the worldsemiconductor market in 1994. Samsung is now the world's largest DRAMmanufacturer. Korean players in semiconductor markets are regarded by U.S. andJapanese counterparts as formidable competitors.

Government support of electronics includes substantial tax benefits forR&D and product testing, plant improvement or facility construction, andmanpower development. Support has also included considerable direct funding ofprojects in line with national priorities. Government support is now turning tonew priorities such as information technologies and startup of a domesticsemiconductor equipment industry.

The government and chaebols have worked both independently and inconcert to obtain foreign technology from industrialized nations through directand indirect methods. However, their ultimate goal is for the country totransition from "investment-driven" development to "innovation-driven"development in which the country's major competitive advantage will beinnovation capability. This drive permeates the industry. In striving toemulate the electronics expertise of Japan and the United States, Koreans arezealously improving their educational infrastructure and domestic R&Dfacilities.

Solid public support for science and education (carefully nurtured bygovernment, industry, media, and the educational establishment) has provided astrong foundation for technological infrastructure development. Educators arefocused on developing new creative, independent, and cooperative thinkingskills within the population that will support national self-reliance inhigh-technology. They are also upgrading the quality of training fortechnicians and engineers and making R&D contributions.

Korea's willingness to invest heavily and long-term in R&D, plants, andmanpower is impressive. Some investment is catch-up, but as Samsung's earlyprototyping of the 1 Gbit DRAM and LG's development of its MPEG chip show, thisinvestment is increasingly contributing to leading-edge industrybreakthroughs.

Korea's rapid industrialization and its success in electronics manufacturinghave been driven in part by capitalizing on human resources. Koreans exhibithigh levels of motivation, discipline, loyalty, pride, and very hard work atall levels. Also important are mutuality of employer-employee relationships anda view of the workplace as an extended family and consistency and long range ofvision at managerial levels.

Korean electronics investments are global in scope. Korea's 27+ R&Dcenters in the United States (most focused on electronics-related research,especially semiconductor research) make Korea the 7th-largestforeign investor in such U.S. facilities. Korea is building fabs in in theUnited States and Europe as well as in countries with low labor costs.

The economic dominance of the huge chaebol conglomerates continues torestrict the viability of innovative small- and medium-sized enterprises,despite government programs to nurture smaller enterprises.


The Korean government has placed a high priority on developing the country'sindigenous technological capabilities and creating a world-class industrialinfrastructure by the year 2001. It has maintained an emphatically proactiveposition with respect to internal development of advanced technology that hasbeen especially beneficial to the domestic semiconductor industry.

Government nurtures the electronics industry in Korea in at least fourways.

  1. It provides a legislative basis for growth of high-technology industrythrough means such as national banking regulations, low-interest loans, taxincentives, and duty-free import of selected capital goods.
  2. It promotes education and R&D for high-tech industry by providingdirect financial support to public and nonprofit institutes, universities, andother educational institutions, primarily through the Ministry of Science andTechnology (MOST); the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE); and theMinistry of Information and Communication (MOIC). Such support often involves"partnering" with both established and emerging firms in cost-sharing newproduct or technology development.
  3. It funds infrastructure development, including highways and transportationsystems, rapid dissemination of Internet-type services, etc., and throughconstruction of "science parks." The most prominent of these is Taedok, twentymiles outside Seoul. Infrastructure development still lags manufacturinggrowth, however.
  4. It uses its authority and leadership in cooperation with industry, theeducational establishment, and the media, to promote development of asophisticated technoculture in Korea.

In this decade, the government has taken steps to encourage establishmentand growth of small- to medium-sized companies, including setting up institutessuch as the Korea Electronics Technology Institute (KETI) to assist small andemerging high-tech industries in product development, augmenting their toolbases and providing other specialized services to help them get started.Despite these measures, the government's emphasis appears to still be on moremainstream silicon-based technologies. This is in line with the developmentplans of the large chaebols, which are pressing to move out from theDRAM market into the ASIC and display fields.

All pertinent activities of the Korean government are organized around ageneral outline for technological development that recognizes major domestic aswell as global market trends resulting from the so-called "G7" joint governmentand industry study. This study combined internal discussions of Korean industrytrends with the roadmaps of extra-national agencies such as the U.S. SIAsemiconductor development roadmap.

The government's Highly Advanced National (HAN) program was a product of theG-7 survey. Over its ten-year life (1992 through 2001), this program will spend$4.7 billion on broad-ranging R&D programs focused on strategictechnologies and linking many disciplines and technologies together forsynergistic advancement. In the electronics area, it coordinates ULSI-relatedprojects and assists in the development of broadband integrated servicesdigital networks (B-ISDN), high-definition television (HDTV), and advancedmanufacturing systems. At the time of the WTEC visit, the government wasplanning investment of some $27 million for high definition television R&D.Starting in 1995, the HAN program began branching into such areas as advancedmaterials, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and flat-panel displays.

The DRAM project (started in the early 1980s but now part of the HANprogram) is an example of direct government support for the electronicsindustry. In such projects as this, 50% cost-sharing has been expected.Revenues from licensing technology derived from this research go back to theministries for reinvestment. Current industry sentiment in Korea seems to runagainst government support for the DRAM project: while the government's supportis relatively constant, industry cost-sharing is declining (about 30%, asprojected from 1989-97). This is a result of a perceived maturation of theindustry and the fact that semiconductor research is so highly competitive thatcompanies are reluctant to accede to the reporting requirements or theexternally supplied schedules and milestones of the government program.

On the other hand, industry appears to welcome some degree of governmentsupport in semiconductor and other electronics equipment development. Korea haslittle indigenous equipment supplier base (although the nucleus of one exists -LG has robotics and control business units, and Korea's packaging assemblyindustry makes wafer handlers and positioners). Lithography tools, vacuumdeposition equipment, and CVD reactors must all be brought in from abroad,creating at least a perception of vulnerability and giving Korean corporationsa minimal role in defining design-rule evolution.

In the area of displays, the government apparently has a rather largefunding and regulatory role, due at least in part to the request in about 1990from the major electronics firms for government assistance. Their request ledto establishment of EDIRAK, the Electronic Display Industrial ResearchAssociation of Korea. MOTIE funds about 40% of EDIRAK's budget, distributed asloans and matching funds. EDIRAK distributed about $15 million in 1995, about30% of that to small companies. Overall government funding of display projectsis difficult for outside observers to tabulate, complicated by the fact thatvarious ministries have overlapping interests in some specific projects. Itappears, however, that government direct funding and tax breaks for displaydevelopment will total over $350 million this decade.

While individual programs and projects identified and sponsored by thelegislature and the ministries may be criticized by some, their ultimate valueis undeniable. The government programs lower the cost of basic research andplant modernization, and government funding of university and other educationalprograms improves the availability of skilled technologists and serves tomaintain a pool of basic researchers and educators who serve as consultants toindustry at large. Government planning and coordination reduces redundancy ofeffort and contributes to synchronized development in many related areas.Finally, the government has made great strides in creating and promotingdevelopment of a nationwide science culture and a strong technologicalinfrastructure within its society.


Korea's economy, including its electronics industry, is dominated by therelatively small number of single-family-dominated industrial chaebolsthat often enjoy vertical monopolies (i.e., the company and its subsidiariescontrol most of the steps in production, from the acquisition of the rawmaterials to fabrication). Chaebols also extend horizontally acrossdiverse industries, similar to the Japanese keiretsu. In the immediatepost-Korean War years, the chaebols took advantage of subsidized loansand tax breaks provided by the Korean government that allowed them to grow veryquickly. By the early 1980s, the four most prominent chaebols, Samsung,LG, Hyundai, and Daewoo, were immense and were thriving. In essence, the storyof the remarkable growth of Korea's economy is the story of the growth of itschaebols. Their success and the success of Korea's industrialization andmodernization are inseparable.

The chaebols have based much of their success on foreign trade, andexports continue to be essential to the stability and growth of the Koreaneconomy. (In 1995, Korea was the world's 13th largest trading nation, with $96billion in exports and $102 billion in imports.) Electronics goods have beenamong the chaebols' most profitable exports. Korea expects to havesteady export growth of 12.3% in industrial electronics, 11.7% in electronicparts, and 4.7% in consumer electronics (Kim 1994). Table 1 shows the rising level of total electronics exports of Korea's leadingfirms; Table 2 shows total sales. Comparison of the twotables indicates the importance of exports to the chaebols'successes.

Table 1
Value of Exports by Major Electronics Companies, 1987-1995

Table 1

Table 2
Total Sales of Major Electronics Companies, 1987-1995

Table 2

Semiconductors have been especially important to Korea's export earnings. Atotal of $10 billion worth of semiconductors was exported in 1994, of which $4billion was attributable to Samsung alone. Korean semiconductor companies havemade significant strides in capturing global semiconductor market share in thepast ten years. At the time this report was written, Samsung had become theworld's highest-volume DRAM supplier, and Hyundai and LG were in second andsixth places, respectively. Together they made up almost 30% of the revenuesearned by the top 10 DRAM producers in the world. A major factor in thisconsiderable success is that Korean manufacturers successfully implemented moreefficient mass production techniques, allowing more competitive unitpricing.

In 1996, forecasts for Korean semiconductor exports were revised downwardseveral times due to a global market glut and plummeting prices for 16 MbitDRAMs. In response, the industry pushed ahead with early transition to 64 MbitDRAMs and higher-value-added memory chips.

Korean companies have progressed to the point where they are able to developproducts specifically for individual market requirements. They have been verysuccessful in Europe, despite specifications that vary considerably fromcountry to country. Samsung's European sales increased from $510 million toover $1 billion from 1993 to 1994. It has experienced exceptionally high growthin the European market in recent years compared to European, U.S., and Japanesefirms.

As pressure has increased for manufacturers to develop more heavilyintegrated circuits in the sub-0.5 Ám range, Korean companies have have startedto address the problem of indigenous manufacturing technology. Much of theequipment relevant to microelectronics manufacturing, such as sputterers, ionimplanters, and diffusion furnaces, are supplied by foreign equipmentmanufacturers. According to the Korean Semiconductor Industry Association(KSIA), domestic chip makers in 1994 relied on foreign manufacturers for 84% ofequipment and 52% of materials. To counteract this dependence on foreignequipment and materials suppliers, the government has encouraged Koreancompanies to develop indigenous semiconductor manufacturing equipment throughtax incentives and low-interest loans for R&D.

Contributions of Corporate Culture to Economic Success

Nationalism plays a key role in Korea's culture; among professionals andworkers alike, there is a common resolve for Korea to become an economic giantin the world market. Business groups also appear to be like enormous families,where the growth of the whole group is targeted but is accomplished throughinterdependent growth of smaller units at successively lower levels. To a verygreat extent, companies enjoy loyalty from employees, and companies return thatloyalty. Besides patriotism and mutual management-employee loyalty andteamwork, other standout characteristics of Korean corporate culture includehighly focused and extremely hard work, manufacturing excellence, investment ofa high percentage (10% or more) of revenues into R&D, and aggressiveglobalization.


A good deal of the technology crucial to the success of Korean electronicsfirms historically has been transferred from other countries, primarily theUnited States and Japan. Aiming for ultimate self-reliance in technologyinnovation, a key Korean business strategy for remaining competitive in theglobal electronics market is to engage in joint ventures. Benefits includemaintaining the flow of technology with leading foreign companies, distributingR&D costs, mitigating the effects of rising domestic labor costs, securingmore favorable trade agreements, and contributing to advancement of the humancommunity.

Korean government, educational organizations, and private companies all havecollaborations with overseas universities. Goals for these collaborationsinclude training Korean engineers and advancing new technologicalfrontiers.

Another method espoused by Korean government and industry to speed uptechnology transfer and increase technology self-reliance is recruitment offoreign nationals and overseas Koreans with knowledge and experience inhigh-technology fields. Korea has been actively recruiting U.S.-educatedKoreans or persons of Korean descent and other foreign engineers to filltechnology gaps.

Korean companies continue to pay large royalties for foreign technology.Royalty payments from January 1995 through February 1996 reached almost $1.9billion. Electric and electronics companies made the largest share of thepayments. Samsung's payments far exceeded those of other companies.

An important aspect of the growth of Korea's electronics industry has beenits use of original equipment manufacture (OEM) agreements, which have allowedKorean companies to sell products under other companies' names to compensatefor their own brands' lack of name recognition. Korean companies now observethat to lead the global electronics market with products bearing their ownnames, they must reduce exporting through OEM agreements. Most of them arestriving to become independent of OEM agreements by increasing their prestigethrough innovations in design and technology.


Korea's national commitment to education is shared by government,corporations, and the population at large. The literacy rate is 95%. A highpercentage of high school graduates enter universities, and roughly 20% ofcollege graduates obtain advanced degrees. It is an absolute national priorityto educate the population at all levels, especially in math and sciences. TheKorean university system is a source of great national pride. Both public andprivate (industry) universities offer strong programs in support ofelectronics. As in industry, nationalism and a drive to excel in S&T isevident in the university culture in Korea.

Government Support for Science and Technology Education

The Ministry of Education administers public universities, but MOSTseparately contributes funds to university science and technology programs --both public and private -- through the Korean Science and EngineeringFoundation (KOSEF), Korea's equivalent of the U.S. National Science Foundation.KOSEF has established approximately 30 university S&T centers ofexcellence, which it funds annually at the million-dollar level. These centersare required to collaborate with at least three other institutions and arestrongly encouraged to attract supplemental support from industry (Swinbanks1993).

Centers with the best reputations include the Korean Advanced Institute ofScience and Technology (KAIST) and Seoul National University (SNU). KAIST isthe only national university administered under the auspices of MOST, which hasallowed it to skirt some government employment rules; for example, it offerstriple the salary of other public universities to recruit the best professorsworldwide. Its curriculum emphasizes research in applied fields defined by MOSTas national priorities (Swinbanks 1993). Historically SNU has been the premierKorean university. It continues to attract the best student population, and itboasts one of the most prestigious faculties in the country.

Special facilities and training in electronics-related disciplines offeredby these institutions include KAIST's Material Surface Engineering Center,SNU's Research Center for Thin Film Fabrication and Crystal Growing of AdvancedMaterials, and SNU's first-rate facility for teaching semiconductor processing.This latter facility is a 4-inch fab that can run a full CMOS line with 1.5micron design rules, with equipment comparable to that of UC Berkeley, MIT, orStanford. The facility has an e-beam direct-write lithography system thatroutinely processes runs of multiple project chips with designs from otheruniversities.

Of the 150 colleges and universities in Korea, approximately 100 haveelectrical engineering departments; 70 of those are active in the IntegratedCircuit Design Center (IDEC). At least 40 of the institutions active in IDECare well regarded by the Korean semiconductor industry for their teaching of ICdesign.

Industrial Support for S&T Education

Korean industry takes the position that a well-educated workforce iscritical to competitiveness. Corporations generally sponsor research ofconsiderable educational value, even if the practical applicability may not beimmediately apparent. Industry leaders do not believe that research ofindividual university professors working with small groups of graduate studentscan lead to commercially important innovations; nonetheless, they do stronglybelieve that university research produces well-qualified graduates andtherefore well-qualified employees -- that is, highly skilled and innovativeengineers. Approximately half of the research money in the most highly regardedelectronics programs such as those of KAIST and SNU comes from industry. Theuniversities then engage in the balancing act of trying to accommodate theresearch needs of professors while trying to train students that meet the needsof industry. Company executives develop close relationships with individualprofessors in order to have confidence in their abilities to attract and traintop students that the companies will ultimately employ; as a consequence,professors often have a great deal of clout within the industry.

As the success and profitability of large Korean companies have increased,several have started their own educational institutions, some of which arefull-fledged universities that offer degrees up to the PhD level. The mosthighly regarded industrial universities include Daewoo's Institute of AdvancedEngineering (IAE), Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), and PohangInstitute of Science and Technology (POSTECH), owned and operated by the PohangSteel Company. In less than a decade since POSTECH opened its doors, it hascome to attract the top 2% of the nation's college students (Pettit 1989). Likeother industry schools, POSTECH pays competitive salaries to its faculty, muchhigher than those offered at government-run schools and even more than atKAIST.

There appear to be at least three factors contributing to the trend ofcompanies founding universities: dissatisfaction with the political climatewithin public Korean universities; desire to better guide training andrecruitment of a skilled workforce; and the philosophy of diversifying wheneverand wherever possible. An unstated goal of company-owned schools appears to beto build loyalty with top engineering students at the same time as trainingthem, so that they will come back and work for the company. Private industry'suniversities are completely independent of government agencies, funded solelyby the parent companies.

Availability of cleanroom facilities at Korean institutions of higherlearning, programs like IDEC, and the excellent teaching programs at KAIST,SNU, POSTECH, and other fine technical universities, puts Korea on a par withthe United States for educational resources to support the semiconductorindustry. Electrical engineering students emerge from Korean programs withstrong skills in solid state device processing, design, and layout. Whileindustry emphasizes support for applied research at universities, this does notsuggest a weakness in basic science: through KOSEF, the government primarilysupports basic research.

Perceived Weaknesses in University S&T Education

To WTEC panelists, there seems to be a surprising degree of self-criticismwithin the university community, considering the excellence of the facilitiesand the training offered. An overwhelming proportion (>80%) of faculty atthe more prestigious Korean universities are educated in the United States. Anumber of them express concern that their graduates are unprepared for thedemands on creativity required to make new designs and more competitiveproducts, anticipating that "the future does not remain with DRAM, but withsophisticated and advanced circuit design." Many U.S.-trained faculty membersin Korea appear to be committed to teaching global awareness and creative,independent thinking skills as well as those technical skills their studentswill need. They acknowledge that future competitiveness will require combiningall fields related to electronics manufacture (layout, architecture, systems,fabrication, analog, and others), and that it will take imaginative andresourceful minds and team efforts to achieve interdisciplinary solutions. Theyalso realize that they have a difficult job to overcome cultural hurdles inorder to nurture a more creative workforce for the future. The Ministry ofEducation also realizes this and has begun implementing changes to fostercreative and independent thinking skills at the secondary and universitylevels.


Memory technology dominates the Korean electronics industry. A very highpercentage of Korea's memory sales are overseas, making the industry's revenueshighly sensitive to the global market, requiring Korea to excel in thetechnologies that shape market trends. Korean electronics manufacturers aremoving into higher-performance, higher-value-added markets.

There is a shortage of engineering and research professionals in the Koreanindustry.

Among other efforts to build proficiency in advanced technologies, Koreanfirms are partnering with U.S. and Japanese manufacturers to buildstate-of-the-art facilities in Korea. Examples include Anam's Sept. 1996 $3billion contract with TI to build nonmemory semiconductors, involving TI'stransfer to Anam of 0.35 Ám processing technology, CMOS technology, and futurejoint plans to commercialize 0.24 Ám, 0.18 Ám, and 0.13 Ám processingtechnologies.

DRAM industry successes/strengths include the following:

DRAM industry R&D/planned improvements include the following:

SRAM industry successes/strengths include the following:

On the other hand, Korean companies lag market leaders by six months to oneyear in producing BiCMOS, high-speed CMOS, high-pin-count, and special-functionSRAMs

SRAM industry R&D/planned improvements include the following:

Korean industry is putting a premium on becoming a major player in flashmemory, expecting it to be a key market after 1997, especially for portablecomputers. The perceived advantages are (1) its low power consumption and highcapacities because smaller cells do not require separate capacitors; (2) itrequires a relatively small facility investment; and (3) it allows for highlyintegrated, low-cost mass production. Development efforts in this area focus onNAND-type flash memories.

The Korean memory industry appears interested in ferroelectric random accessmemory because it is nonvolatile like flash memory but allows the freerbit-access and bit-rewriting capabilities of a RAM. The technology does havemajor difficulties, which make some in the global industry skeptical; however,many in the Korean industry believe these problems can eventually be overcometo give FRAM a significant market share in the next 10-15 years

Samsung is one of the world's top producers of mask ROM, at fourth place in1994. Mask ROM should continue to be a central member of Korea's memory marketand a constituent of consumer applications such as game machines, karaokemachines, and electronic note pads and dictionaries. In the future, it isexpected to compete with high-density products like CD-ROMs in suchapplications as fax machines and printers. Korean firms are competitive in theproduction of high-capacity and even special-function mask ROM memory modules.Korean firms lag the market by about half a year in the production ofhigh-pin-count products.

Applications for other memory technologies are relatively minor and areconcentrated in digital signal processing, telecommunications, large systems,etc.; they include low-power VLSI circuits, CDMA modem chip sets, ASICs, CMOS,and compound semiconductor devices.

In the area of process technology R&D, work is still focused onimproving photolithography and plasma etching for mass production. Work isunderway on X-ray and other new lithographic techniques for next-generationmassively integrated circuits. Materials work is focused on new materials toimprove homogeneity of wafer surfaces. CVD is being developed to replacesputter method for Al wiring. Importance is placed on new packaging technologylike lead on chip, 3D packages, and chip-sized packages, especially for verythin packaging for memory cards for portable electronic equipment.


The Korean display industry is only a decade old, built through a concerted,ongoing industry-government effort, based on the perception that Koreanstrength in electronics and information markets increasingly requires strengthin display technologies. Overall, Korea's display industry is strong inconventional technology and weak in new technology, but it has successfullyentered the marketplace.

Government funding of display R&D has been considerable, through variousHAN projects and 40% government funding of EDIRAK. At the time of the WTECvisit, the government was supporting about 40 display development projects,with emphasis on manufacturing technology for information displays. Ten of theprojects were for flat panel displays (based on WTEC interviews, it appearsthat FPD funding was in the neighborhood of $60 million in the first half ofthe 1990s), and 6 were for wide CRTs. MOTIE is investing some $280 million indisplay development, as both direct funding and tax exemptions, from 1996-2001,and other ministries have complementary programs.

Some display development projects and some government diplomatic effortsinvolve participation from or technical cooperation with foreign entities,including the U.S. Department of Defense. Korean display industrysuccesses/strengths include the following:

On the other hand, as of the time of the WTEC visit, no Korean firm hadplans yet for production of plasma display panels or edge-lit displays,although Samsung, Hyundai, and Orion have all started basic research. Samsungwas producing vacuum fluorescent displays in very small volume.

Korean display industry research and development programs are focused on thefollowing:

The main Korean firms active in this field are Samsung Display Devices(division of Samsung Electronics Company, SEC), Orion Electronics ( owned byDaewoo), Hyundai, and LG Electronics.

SEC's developments and plans include the following:

Orion's developments and plans include the following:

Hyundai's developments and plans include the following:

Developments at LG Electronics include work on TFT LCDs (since 1987) andcompletion of a mass-production fab in June 1995.


The Korean electronics industry has a growing presence in the world marketsfor PCs, telecommunications equipment, and automotive and consumer electronicsproducts, but these products and systems usually trail in their insertion inmarkets in the Unites States and Europe. Its development programs emphasizeinformation services technologies, from computers to satellite communications.Many products now only available in Korea are expected to be marketed globallywithin a few years. Some of Korea's specific developments in these areas arelisted below:


Multimedia communications development includes establishment of adomestic HDTV transmission standard based on the MPEG-2 CODEC chip set; a videoterminal adaptor for broadband integrated services and data network (B-ISDN), adesktop video conferencing terminal for ISDN, and optical cable TV with videoon demand (VOD). Already in Korea's domestic market are a Korean-Japaneseinterpretation system for hotel reservation tasks and a spontaneous speechtranslation system, Speechmate.

Communications Processing and Transmission Equipment and Systems

The HAN B-ISDN Project is developing network integration technology,a large-scale 64 x 64 commercial ATM switching system (now being upgraded toinclude more intelligent functions), 10 Gbps and 100 Gbps transmission systems,a broadband network termination system, and terminal adapters, etc., to supportthe information superhighway.

The Intelligent Network (IN) Service Systems Development Projectincludes development of common channel signaling equipment, intelligent networkservice controlling and management equipment, and various service logics. Partsof the system have already been commercialized.

The TDX-10 ISDN Project is developing an advanced switching systemthat can accommodate nonvoice services and advanced switching technologies fornext-generation broadband switches, to be competitive with foreign systems. Itincludes development of special ISDN terminals and chips and complexmultifunctional desktop video conference terminals. The project includescollaboration with the University of Texas at Arlington on object-orientedtesting technology.

Digital Cellular Mobile Systems development responds to skyrocketingdemand for mobile telecommunications services. Korea is concentratingdevelopment on code division multiple access (CDMA) technology, because of itshigh capacity and privacy benefits, for implementation in its PersonalCommunications Network (PCN) system. Major activities slated for 1996 wereoperational testing of the integrated system and development of ASICs.

Satellite Communications: Koreasat was launched in 1995 by aMcDonnel-Douglas Delta II rocket. Development was with Martin Marietta (U.S.)and Matra Marconi (U.K.). Further development is expected to focus on DAMA/SCPCand VSAT earth station facilities. Development of the digital satellitebroadcasting transmission system was expected to be operational in 1996.


DOC (U.S. Department of Commerce). 1996. GlobalizingResearch and Development: Methods of Technology Transfer Employed by the KoreanPublic and Private Sector. Washington D.C.: Office of Technology Policy,Technology Administration, DOC.

Kim, N. H. 1994. Korea's semicon industry will continuestrong growth. Electronics. 67(March):6.

Pecht, M., J. B. Bernstein, M. Peckerar, D. Searls. 1997.The Korean electronics industry. Boca Raton, Fl: CRC Press.

Pettit, F. 1989 The Pohang Iron and Steel Company: Itsresearch institute and technical university in South Korea. ONRFE.

Swinbanks, D. 1993. What road ahead for Korean science andtechnology? Nature. 364(July):377-384.

1 Availablefrom CRC Press, 2000 Corporate Blvd. N.W., Boca Raton, FL 33431-9868(561-994-0555). This summary prepared by the WTEC staff, which is responsiblefor its content. This material is based on work supported by the NationalScience Foundation (NSF) of the United States government under NSF CooperativeAgreement ENG-9416970, awarded to the International Technology ResearchInstitute at Loyola College in Maryland. Any opinions, findings, andconclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of theauthors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Statesgovernment, the authors' parent institutions, or Loyola College. The U.S.government retains a nonexclusive and nontransferable license to exercise allrights provided by copyright.

18 June 1997; WTECHyper-Librarian