Hello friends,

Exciting times are on the horizon – Samsung and LG have unveiled new phones with ridiculous features (foldable? why?), but more importantly, they’re equipped with 5G as South Korea preps to roll out commercial service next month.

Plus, the battle is on over game company Nexon as Netmarble and Kakao eye the $11 billion acquisition deal.

The only thing more exciting is that one day, you’ll be able to get jajangmyeon noodles delivered to your door, courtesy of Woowa Bros.

Here’s a shortlist of news from this month:

  • Big money for Yanolja (Korea’s newest unicorn!), SendBird
  • M&A for Woowa Bros./Vietnammm
  • KT will expand its overseas networks to handle Netflix traffic
  • Netmarble and Kakao both want to acquire game company Nexon
  • South Korea will let banks open their payment systems to fintech companies
  • Crypto exchange Coinbin declares bankruptcy after embezzlement
  • Woowa Bros.’ robots will deliver jajangmyeon within three years
  • South Korea will roll out the world’s first commercial 5G in March

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This month’s news

News and features on the Korean startup/tech scene from around the web.

MONEY

  • LG U+ has signed a deal to acquire Korea’s largest cable TV company CJ Hello, strengthening its position in the paid TV market. The mobile carrier’s board approved the 800 billion won ($711 million) acquisition of 50 percent plus one share of CJ Hello from CJ E&M, its parent company.
  • Yanolja, which runs Korea’s No. 1 accommodation app, raised 200 billion won from the Singapore Investment Service, and received more than 1 trillion won in corporate value. It became Korea’s seventh “unicorn company” (start-up with more than 1 trillion won in corporate value) after Coupang, Woowa Brothers and Viva Republica.
  • The new crown prince of Korea, tech entrepreneur Andrew Lee, is planning to launch a $100 million fund to help entrepreneurs who want to launch their own businesses, with $10 million of his own as start-up funds. The plan is to give budding entrepreneurs the chance to escape from the traditional career expectations of South Korea’s conservative society.
  • SendBird has raised US$52 million in a series B round funding led by Iconiq Capital. Existing investors Shasta Ventures, August Capital, Y Combinator, and Funders Club also participated. With this investment, SendBird is planning to further advance its customizable chat and messaging API service for mobile and web applications.
  • Pliops, an Israeli innovator in cloud storage solutions, raised a $30 million Series B funding led by SoftBank Ventures with participation from all Series A investors including Intel Capital, State of Mind Ventures (SOMV) and Viola Ventures, along with strategic investors Western Digital Capital and Xilinx Inc. The round brings the total invested in Pliops to date to $40 million, including the October 2017 Series A funding of $10 million.
  • Korea’s YouTuber management startup Sandbox Network closed a series C round having raised 25 billion won (US$27.75 million) from a consortium led by TBT and including institutional investors including Cresco Lake Partners, DS Asset and NVC Partners.
  • How to marry, the operator of Wedding Book, a service popular with newlyweds for its transparent information and price competitiveness, raised 10 billion won in investment from TBT, Korea Development Bank, SV Investment, and Ascendo Ventures. Total investment amount is 15.8 billion won.
  • Korea’s largest crowdfunding brokerage platform operator startup Wadiz, will create a private equity fund to directly invest in startups. Korea’s fund of funds operator Korea Growth Investment Corp. (K-Growth) will inject around 5.5 billion won (US$4.89 million) into the new fund.
  • Women’s Shopping App Brandi, a fashion and beauty shopping app for millennial women, raised a 6 billion won investment from Mirae Asset Venture Investment, Sema Translink Investment and DS Asset Management.
  • South Korean online book club platform operator Trevari, raised a combined 5 billion won (US$4.44 million) investment from venture capitalists Softbank Ventures Asia and Fast Investment.
  • South Korean content startup PUBLY, which is popular among young people through online subscription services, raised 3.8 billion won (US$ 3.8 million) in new investments. DSC Investments, Intervest, Yellowdog and Mediati participated in the investment. The cumulative investment of the publication is about 6 billion won.
  • Online interior construction service Houstep raised 3 billion won from GS Home Shopping and SV Investment. Houstep, which started as an online stamping construction service in 2016, has expanded its construction area to exceed 10,000 accumulated construction sites, ranking first in the industry based on the number of individual construction projects.
  • Eine Blume, which runs mobile chat-type novel service Chatie, raised 2.5 billion won in a Series A investment round from Bass Investment, Dunamu Partners and Kakao Ventures.
  • IT startup Enfit, which is operating an online “Home” PT application service, raised $1.1 million (1.1 billion KRW) of investment from Daegyo Investment, Primer Sazze and Primer.
  • Kakao Ventures invested an undisclosed amount in ‘Luni Media’, a distribution platform for PC games that will be operating ‘Lunipark’. With this investment, Luni Media finished its investment round in seed funds.

MOVES

  • Naver Corp. is planning to support streaming of 4K content on mobile platforms following the launch of fifth-generation (5G) mobile network service in March.
  • Naver is beginning the transition away from its busy homepage in favor of a simple, Google-like experience.
  • Samsung Electronics will likely benefit from a series of moves by the United States and Europe to ban China’s Huawei from building fifth-generation (5G) networks there, as the Korean company is seeking to establish a stronger presence in the global 5G equipment market.
  • Samsung Electronics unveiled new wearable devices, rebranded under its signature Galaxy brand, when launching its latest Galaxy S10 premium smartphone. The wireless earbuds can be charged on the back of the Galaxy S10 because of the phone’s wireless charging feature. They are expected to sell for 190,000 won (US$169).
  • Samsung confirmed its latest flagship phone Galaxy S10 will include a dedicated secure storage function designed for cryptocurrency private keys in the form of the Samsung Knox. It will have wallet functions for Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), the COSMEE token (COSM) and Enjin’s token (ENJ). COSMEE is a blockchain-enabled mobile beauty decentralized app (DApp), while Enjin is a cryptocurrency wallet.
  • Samsung Electronics unveiled its first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, featuring the world’s first 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display, which folds into a compact device with a cover display, offering a new way of multitasking, including watching videos and playing games.
  • Samsung Electronics will release a full lineup of 8K QLED TVs with upscale features for the global market to expand its presence in the growing premium segment. Samsung says its new lineup will have an image resolution four times more vivid than its 4K counterparts. The 8K TV will come in only four sizes in South Korea, with its price ranging from 7.3 million won (US$6,482) to 25.9 million won.
  • Samsung Electronics has introduced robots to help people cook, clean, and undertake other household chores. The robots are Samsung Bot Chef, a robotic arm that works as a cooking assistant; Samsung Bot Clean, a vacuum cleaner robot; and Chef Garden refrigerator that allows consumers to grow their own vegetables inside a refrigerator. The Bot Chef is designed to help not only general users but also disabled people as it can cut or chop ingredients or mix sauces using its robotic arm.
  • Samsung Electronics has completed chipset development for fifth-generation network base stations. The core components of the 5G chipsets are mmWave radio frequency integrated circuits and digital/analog front-end ASICs, supporting 28-gigahertz and 39-gigahertz bands.
  • LG Electronics will install a 3D sensor in its upcoming premium smartphone G8 ThinQ for enhanced selfie photography and security features, Crystal Sound OLED tech it first applied in its TVs that uses the screen as a speaker, 5G and a detachable secondary screen.
  • LG Electronics and Naver’s R&D subsidiary Naver Labs Corp. will collaborate on R&D of robot technology.
  • LG Electronics released its latest mid-range smartphone, Q9 One, which comes with smart functions at a reasonable price. The Korean electronics maker said Q9 One runs on Android One, the “pure” version of the Android operating system that Google shares with device makers.
  • SK Telecom has teamed up with the world’s third-largest ride-hailing service provider Grab to bring its popular navigation app T Map to Southeast Asian countries.
  • SK Telecom’s two techniques related to quantum cryptography communications have been adopted for international standardization projects at a recent ITU-T conference in Geneva, Switzerland. The two techniques are related to a system for quantum key distribution in a communications network and a method for using an existing encryption scheme for quantum key distribution.
  • SK Telecom unveiled its smart office systems incorporated with new information and communications technologies such as fifth-generation (5G) networks and artificial intelligence (AI) including a 5G walking-through system to improve workplace convenience and efficiency.
  • SK Telecom will launch a virtual reality (VR) racing game for 5G smartphones in the first half of this year. SK Telecom has signed a licensing agreement with the nation’s leading game developer, Nexon Co., to use three of its popular online games — KartRider, Crazy Arcade and Bubble Fighter, for development of its VR game.
  • SK Telecom and Microsoft will release big data analytics systems based on cloud computing, in a bid to target the 11 trillion won ($9.8 billion) global big data market. Under the deal, SK Telecom plans to launch its big data analyzer Metatron on Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure.
  • SK Telecom Co. will join hands with Deutsche Telekom AG to develop a blockchain platform for digital identification to improve access and security. The platform will be capable of storing all IDs in one place to provide convenient and secure authentication for e-commerce, transactions and public sectors.
  • SK Telecom and Singapore’s Singtel will cooperate on gaming and e-sports in Asia.
  • The partnership enables SK Telecom to expand its games business and increase the profile of its e-sports team in the Singtel Group’s markets in Southeast Asia via existing channels.
  • Kakao has joined the race to acquire control of Nexon, one of the nation’s major game firms. Private equity firms and entertainment firms are said to be interested in the megadeal, which is estimated to be worth 13 trillion won ($11.6 billion).
  • Netmarble is in the running to acquire a major stake in Nexon and has been working on the deal for months. The announcement came just one day after Kakao said it is considering a bid for the international gaming company. For both Kakao and Netmarble, the acquisition could create synergies with their existing game businesses.
  • Nokia and Korean telecom operator KT will collaborate and trial various 5G technologies, including network function virtualization and network slicing. The joint work will include service orchestration and assurance. The trials are planned to take place in Seoul later this year.
  • KT is launching a mobile application that tracks fine dust levels over the Korean Peninsula. The app, called Air Map Korea, allows users to access a real-time big data analysis of fine dust concentrations for a particular region.
  • KT plans to expand its overseas network to 100 gigabits per second to handle Netflix’s increased data volume and traffic.
  • KEB Hana Bank, part of Hana Financial Group, has completed 46 patent applications for methods and systems for purchasing overseas products, systems and methods for electronic contracts and methods and systems for providing digital asset services using blockchain.
  • LG CNS is expanding its reach into the cloud business for the financial sector, joining hands with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to launch a hybrid service combining private and public cloud computing.
  • SoftBank Ventures Korea has rebranded to SoftBank Ventures Asia in the new year as it increases its focus on Southeast Asia and China. Softbank Ventures Asia will form a new investment fund dedicated to artificial intelligence startups in Asia with “globally disruptive” products and services this year. The venture capital arm of Japan’s SoftBank Group plans to establish within the year a new global investment fund to back promising AI startups in Asian countries other than China.
  • SsangYong Motor Co., the South Korean unit of Indian carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., tested a partially self-driving system on its upcoming sport utility vehicle set to be unveiled in March.
  • Incheon International Airport will incorporate AI into its security systems to improve accuracy in screening passenger luggage for prohibited items. The airport has started working on the project to develop an AI-based X-ray screening system to be tested in the second half of next year.
  • South Korea’s new unicorn and leading food delivery provider, Woowa Brothers, has acquired Vietnamese food delivery company Vietnammm. Vietnammm had acquired Foodpanda’s Vietnam operations in 2015. Woowa Brothers has been eyeing the Vietnamese market since last year.
  • Woowa Brothers’ Robot-Delivered Jajangmyeon Noodles will be coming to Seoul soon. Dilly robots will start deliveries within three years. Woowa Brothers Corp., the company behind Baedal Minjok, raised $320 million from Hillhouse Capital, Sequoia Capital and GIC in December to help develop a prototype that’s set to roll out later this year.
  • Yanolja,  Korea’s No. 1 accommodation app, has acquired Garam Information System, which is the number one company in room management automation system. The acquisition will provide more stable customer support services to hospitality executives, as well as offer differentiated room management automation solutions to run hotels at minimal cost.
  • Coupang and HP Korea will strengthen sales channels for the technology company’s products. Coupang will directly acquire HP products from the company, providing customers with better deals. HP Korea will also ensure faster delivery times and improve product services.
  • South Korea’s Yura Tech, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electric vehicle components, is to invest 6.5 million euros in a new automobile ignition plant in Albania. Yura will begin Albanian operations later 2019, initially employing about 600 people.The second phase of the project foresees further investment of about 13 million euros with the number of employees to increase to 1,100, while long-term plans include the opening of two other factories in Albania.
  • Visa is planning to unveil an innovation center in South Korea as it looks to work with fintech start-ups for its payment ambitions.
  • Renault S.A. will join forces with South Korean businesses and researchers to develop autonomous driving technology, with an aim to apply the knowhow to the French carmaker’s electric vehicles.

EMERGING

  • Viva Republica, maker of money transfer mobile app Toss, and Shinhan Financial Group have joined hands to establish an internet-only bank in Korea.
  • Socar’s and VCNC van-hailing service Tada, will be launching “Tada Premium” taxi service in April. The premium taxi service will be different from regular taxis as it operates through a hailing and reservation system using Tada’s ride-hailing app. The service does not use taxi meters and will be available to both private and corporate taxi drivers who agree to offer higher-quality services.
  • Memebox was named in Fast Company business magazine’s Top 10 in the beauty category of “The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2019,” along with beauty companies Beautycounter, Sephora and Kylie Cosmetics.
  • Korean startup Hyperconnect’s Azar, a global video messenger, has reached 300 million downloads, nine months after topping 200 million downloads.
  • Korean startup NOTA has developed unique model compression technology using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, which can be applied broadly to mobile, drone and robotics.  NOTA’s AI solutions do not need a server or network cost for operating AI models because of the on-device ML techniques.
  • Korean startup LetinAR and German OLED microdisplays specialist Fraunhofer FEP have co-designed a joint demonstrator of what could enable AR eyewear of the future. The PinMR reflects the light from the microdisplay and guides it into the pupils of the AR glass’ wearer, creating a virtual image that overlaps real world sceneries as seen through the eyewear.
  • DeliveryLAB launched an app called Order Hero to provide a real-time estimate of food items used in restaurants. It introduces reliable food distribution companies to restaurants that need food ingredients.
  • Myrealtrip, which operates a free travel platform, will introduce a worldwide hotel price comparison service. Partnering with booking.com, Agoda, Global online Travel Agency (OTA) etc., this service will allow 480,000 hotels worldwide to compare prices with hostels, guest houses, and Korean guest houses and make reservations.
  • Voronoi, a Korean biotech startup with the potential of a unicorn devoted to the development of low-molecular compound drugs, is on course to go public within the year. The Korean biotech company signed a 49 billion won deal with Dana Farber last March over an investigational drug to treat Parkinson’s disease and another 50 billion won deal over cancer-inhibition technology last month.
  • Wattpad has teamed up with Huayi Brothers in Korea, which will now be Wattpad’s exclusive entertainment partner in the region. The two companies will co-produce content sourced from Wattpad’s community as it’s adapted for film, TV and other digital media projects in the country.
  • Softbank Ventures Asia-backed startup and mobile lockscreen media platform provider Buzzvil partnered with East Japan Railway Company to launch “Tamaru Screen x JRE POINT“.
  • SOMESING, a blockchain-based social music network service app, has signed a strategic partnership MOU with ContentBox, the largest distributor of global audio content in Korea. SOMESING aims to provide a free music service for users who love singing.
  • IT company NBT (Next Big Thing) launched its fashion-specialized crowdfunding platform Small Bites, a fashion distribution platform with a crowdfunding concept that directly links designer fashion brands with consumers.
  • South Korean content startup PUBLY,which is popular among young people through online subscription services, raised 3.8 billion won (US$ 3.8 million) in new investments. DSC Investments, Intervest, Yellowdog and Mediati participated in the investment. The cumulative investment of the publication is about 6 billion won.
  • Medtech startup Team Elysium unveiled its new medical device, POM Checker, which analyzes musculoskeletal disorders by analyzing joint motion information through artificial intelligence in real time to help treat posture disorders more easily.
  • Mosking, short for “mobile busking,” is a new open music mobile platform that offers opportunities to debut for indie musicians to showcase their talents without going through a music distribution company.
  • South Korean startup PurrSong, displayed a smart automatic litter box called the LavvieBot which auto-cleans and auto-refills at the Mobile World Congress trade fair. After your cat does its business inside the machine, LavvieBot noiselessly pushes a rake through the litter before hurling a few handfuls of clean litter.

CRYPTO/BLOCKCHAIN

  • Samsung confirmed its latest flagship phone Galaxy S10 will include a dedicated secure storage function designed for cryptocurrency private keys in the form of the Samsung Knox. It will have wallet functions for Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), the COSMEE token (COSM) and Enjin’s token (ENJ). COSMEE is a blockchain-enabled mobile beauty decentralized app (DApp), while Enjin is a cryptocurrency wallet.
  • Samsung SDS developed its own blockchain accelerator technology compatible with IBM’s open source platform for enterprises. During the IBM Think conference held in San Francisco, Samsung SDS introduced Nexledger Accelerator, which can improve the function of Hyperledger Fabric, IBM’s business blockchain framework.
  • SK Telecom Co. will join hands with Deutsche Telekom AG to develop a blockchain platform for digital identification for easier access and better security. The platform will be capable of storing all IDs in one place to provide convenient and secure authentication for e-commerce, transactions and public sectors.
  • Starting from the first half of this year, 27 major securities companies in South Korea will begin a blockchain-based overseas remittance service. A number of securities firms will jointly use a closed blockchain network established jointly by the Korea Financial Investment Association (KOFIA) and the industry. The network allows them to transfer money overseas without cryptocurrencies.
  • KT Corporation plans to launch a blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform in March. The platform comes as KT continues its blockchain offerings via a dedicated Blockchain Center, which launched a commercial network in July 2018.
  • KT Corporation has been selected to develop a local cryptocurrency in the South Korean city of Gimpo. The crypto — dubbed “K token” — will reportedly be introduced in April. The city plans to issue 11 billion won (over $9.7 million) worth of the currency per year. The blockchain-based currency will only be available for use at merchants in the Gimpo area, permitting payments by scanning QR codes, and merchants can request funds to be converted into fiat and transferred to their bank accounts without incurring fees.
  • South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinbin has declared bankruptcy after suffering millions of dollars in losses, in part due to embezzlement. Coinbin suffered estimated losses of 29.3 billion won (or $26 million).
  • Blockchain project BOScoin, blockchain startup Queenbee Company, which fosters ecosystems through service development, financing, marketing and specialty services, and blockchain payment solution provider PayExpress will connect their ecosystems to increase reach. BOScoin will provide technical assistance based on blockchain technology while PayExpress will provide a suite of financial services, including blockchain-based payment service, loan services, mileage systems and global money services.
  • GBC Korea is starting a blockchain platform service that allows individuals to participate in M&As as early as March to expand the scope for merger and acquisition activity from institutional investors to retail investors.
  • Upbit, South Korea’s largest crypto exchange, is set to be the protagonist of a big expansion in Indonesia. Upbit is making a huge airdrop of 250,000 ICON (ICX) tokens ($68,000) for the 2,500 customers that sign in the company’s new area.
  • Blockchain-focused fintech company BxB Inc. has announced the launch of KRWb, the first ERC-20 based 1:1 Korean Won (KRW) backed stablecoin. KRWb stablecoin will be synchronized with an equivalent KRW deposit into the KRWb treasury which is managed by BxB Inc.
  • South Korea’s Financial Services Commission has maintained its stance prohibiting domestic crypto startups from raising money via Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The FSC decided to uphold the ICO ban owing to questionable practices among local crypto startups.
  • A number of crypto exchanges based in South Korea have been struggling to keep up with the ever changing market conditions that have affected the crypto industry. Bithumb and Korbit are currently in talks to lay off at least 10% of their respective workforces and other leading exchanges such UPbit, Korbit, Coinone, and Gopax are outperforming their smaller counterparts by a huge margin.
  • Bithumb officially launched an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk under the Ortus brand. After completing Know-Your-Customer and Anti-Money Laundering inspections, institutional investors will be able to utilize Ortus services, including monitored fund transfers and access to an OTC trading desk.
  • Bithumb and Abu Dhabi-based N-VELOP will establish a joint venture cryptocurrency exchange in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
  • Bithumb added the BTT token to its coin listing and supported a BTT airdrop.
  • Huobi Korea, the South Korean branch of the world’s sixth largest crypto exchange, has recently strengthened its anti-money laundering (AML) protections. Huobi Korea has reviewed its deposit and withdrawal processes and fiat-to-crypto oversight. The company will closely monitor any transactions that might seem suspicious and will regularly update its fraud detection system algorithms.
  • Bitfury and Commons Foundation will launch a series of transaction processing sites that will use Bitfury’s BlockBox AC mobile data centers in Paraguay.
  • The Seoul Metropolitan Government has issued letters of appointment to its Blockchain Governance Team set to integrate blockchain technology with the city’s administration services. The Seoul Blockchain Governance Team was formed with the aim of investigating the benefits of blockchain in the city’s administration across several areas, including digital document verification and sub-contract payment.
  • Busan and blockchain company Hyundai Pay will collaborate to help the city develop a blockchain platform and a crypto wallet. These blockchain initiatives will be used to promote the growth of startups in the Busan area.
  • The US’ decision on Bitcoin ETF will set the mood for Korea‘s cryptocurrency market. The bearish global cryptocurrency market has prompted investors to turn their attention to “safer” bitcoin exchange-traded funds. But South Korean institutions have kept a tight leash on the whole cryptocurrency industry, instead observing the US’ steps for the time being.

INFRA/R&D

  • South Korea will become the first country to start commercial operations of fifth-generation mobile network services in March.
  • The South Korean Government plans to let banks open their payment systems to financial technology firms, in a move that would provide a level playing field for new players and increase competition in the financial industry. In addition, the government plans to promote instant payments by easing regulations and giving tax incentives to providers of faster payments.
  • South Korea will spend Sh10 billion to ($100 million) set up Kenya’s first graduates-only information technology university on a 22-acre plot at Konza Technopolis, Machakos.
  • India and South Korea launched a Startup Hub as the two countries moved to step up increased cooperation in high technology.
  • A lawmaker from South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party of Korea urged the passage of a bill that would allow venture companies to issue common shares with different voting rights and grant startup founders more voting power, amid opposition that the potential move would undermine the principle of equal treatment of shareholders. The bill is designed to encourage a “stable growth of venture companies” in South Korea, which bans issuing shares with different classes and lacks ways for a startup entrepreneurs to protect themselves.
  • Seoul has selected Seongdong and Yangcheon districts as the first two smart city districts. Seongdong District will focus on various services related to traffic and safety, while Yangcheon District will be in charge of welfare and environment-related services. The city will invest 3.6 billion won (US$3.2 million) over the next three years to carry out the initiative.
  • The Seoul government committed to invest 1.2 trillion won ($1.07 billion) by 2022 into a startup fund especially for fintech and blockchain. The Seoul Innovation Growth Fund, which launched last year, will invest across various sectors to help startups struggling to gain Series A or seed funding.
  • South Korea’s Liberty Korea Party (LKP) declared its aim to use blockchain technology in about four areas of operation: recording meeting results of the central and local parties’ assembles, recording and evaluating key performance indicators of members’ activities, the voting process for party elections, and a petition system.
  • The Liberty Korea Party has partnered with Taiwanese blockchain startup ioeX to implement a blockchain voting system. The future platform will also include a petition function to facilitate the gathering of public opinion while also providing up-to-date records of representative activity for the general public.
  • The South Korean government joined the race of next generation ICT proprietary technology developments, including core quantum computing technology, by investing 44.5 billion won (US$39.8 million) over the next five years, which will significantly enhance the computational performance and security of computers using quantum mechanics principles.
  • The infrastructure ministry announced Daejeon, Gimhae and Bucheon as the three locations that will be turned into themed smart cities in a 12 billion won (US$10.65 million) investment project that aims to improve the daily convenience of residents and highlight exclusive features of the cities by adding IT-based technologies to transportation, energy and public safety.
  • The Lord Mayor of London has called for increased cooperation with South Korea on fintech and green finance. South Korea and Britain should facilitate the new FinTech Bridge, a bilateral agreement launched in 2016 to make it easier for the two countries to invest in fintech.
  • The Korea International Trade Association has signed an agreement with Dubai Future Foundation to set up a Korea Desk to help domestic startups better advance into the Middle East.
  • A visual-based artificial intelligence (AI) technology developed by South Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) will be deployed on CCTV cameras for detecting and preventing various crimes.The AI technology ‘Deep View’, developed by ETRI is applied to the precise recognition of human behavior on the joint level of the human body in CCTV images.
  • The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) has developed Touch Care technology to assist the daily lives of senior citizens. The technology uses human body communications technology to detect the movement of a person when he or she makes contact with a certain object.
  • The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) has developed seven terminal units equipped with the e-Call service and software for smartphones. The e-Call service automatically sends information to a local control center when an accident occurs.
  • The Korea Land & Housing Corp. (LH) started developing an app with a system for communication between floors to manage noise conflicts between neighbors.

FEATURES

  • South Korea is on track to be an environmentally friendly car leader as the country’s electric vehicle market expanded to the fifth largest in the world and hydrogen powered vehicle to the third largest last year.
  • Smartphone users are showing largely indifferent attitudes toward mobile carriers’ new messaging services based on Rich Communication Services (RCS), unnerving companies seeking to catch up with the nation’s largest messaging app, Kakao Talk.
  • South Korea’s IoT industry stood at 8.61 trillion won (US$7.65 billion) last year, up 18.6 percent from 7.26 trillion won (US$6.45 billion) in 2017.
  • Yello Mobile, one of Korea’s first official unicorn startups, has been pushed to a critical juncture. Once regarded as one of the nation’s hottest “it” enterprises worth more than US$4billion at its peak, greed and incompetence have taken their toll, according to industry watchers.