Global Experience in Policy and Program Development
Edited by Sarfraz A. Mian
Chapter 8: Regional Innovation Policy in South Korea: Building Science and Technology Based Entrepreneurial Development Capabilities
Kee-Bom Nahm INTRODUCTION The importance of innovation and entrepreneurship has been emphasized in South Korea in recent years, as economic growth of the industrially latecomer nations is becoming increasingly limited in an environment characterized by both a higher speed of innovation and a shorter product life cycle. Since the 1970s the Korean economy has been growing through the introduction and imitation of foreign technologies and export of cheap products. In recent years, however, the cycle of development of new products has been shortened into one or two years, particularly in ICT and related industries. Today, states or regions cannot overcome the heightened competitive pressures if they do not take into account the importance of innovation in the current global environment, characterized by increased productivity, new products and firm creation, and development activities through entrepreneurial actions. The importance of regional innovation and entrepreneurship has been especially stressed in South Korea for the following reasons. First, there has been an increased tendency for information, talent and capital to be concentrated in some select regions, with developed ICT infrastructure and easy global access. Despite the fact that financial transactions and exchange of stocks is possible everywhere, global financial centers such as New York, London and Tokyo have grown rapidly in recent years. With the talent and venture capital concentrated in these regions, their innovation activities have become more prominent. This concentration trend can be regarded as the paradox of ICT and globalization. Similarly, the economic disparity between the industrialized and the industrializing countries...
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