The Government of South Korea has announced a 5 trillion won ($4.4 billion) investment plan for 2019, including promoting big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and developing blockchain technology


On August 13, the Ministry of Economy and Finance released information on Korea’s ‘Growth through Innovation’ investment plan for 2019. The plan involves focusing on 8 sectors including; future cars, drone services, new energies, healthcare biotechnology, smart factories, smart cities, smart farms and financial technology. In relation to financial technology, there is strong emphasis placed on promoting blockchain and AI. The government aims to build a big data platform involving blockchain to ensure data management security and to boost the sharing economy. The investment plan will also focus on developing platform economy which will be aided by four projects. The four projects will run over a period of 5 years, with mid-term goals included to track their development.

The four projects include:

1) building a digital platform for big data and AI, along with promoting blockchain technology to secure data transactions and the sharing economy, 2) easing data divide, 3) setting up a hydrogen fuel cell supply chain and 4) developing an education program to meet the demand for qualified workforce needed in the future.”

Obtained from Ministry of Economy and finance:

Deputy Prime Minister Kim’s keynote address:

“The government has decided to work on a platform economy, whose impact is powerful and far-reaching, and I want today’s discussion on ‘growth through innovation’ investment to be a point of departure for Korea to develop a strong platform economy. There have been discussions among ministries and private sector experts on how to develop a platform economy, and we have come up with the four projects in which we will continue to invest with a long-term perspective…”

Obtained from Ministry of Economy and finance:

“The government will invest a total of 9-10 trillion won in a platform economy over the next five years. Given the impact of a nationwide platform on other industries, in addition to those directly involved, the platform economy will accelerate ‘growth through innovation’.“

During the third ministerial meeting regarding the 2019 investment plan, Deputy Prime Minister Kim Dong Yeon stated that the government should ‘work to create an environment that can promote entrepreneurship…” This indicates that the Korean government is harnessing the emergence of technology, not only to boost the country’s efficiency but to also create an avenue for business ventures and employment.

The digital world is developing rapidly, with blockchain and AI being a major disruptive influence. It is recognisable that more and more countries are starting to place their trust and reliance on blockchain technology. The government of the UAE, for example, aims to be fully blockchain operated by 2020 and has seized the opportunity to improve the country’s efficiency by recently adopting the idea of a blockchain court system.

Korea now joins the countries who believe in the importance of government action in relation to the rise of technology. It is clear that Korea aims to exploit technology innovation to not only transform their economy, but to also be amongst the countries who are leaders in this field. This can be said especially as the country intends to implement blockchain training as part of the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, which is backed by Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT. The objective of the training scheme is to educate the youth on blockchain and AI matters. This will equip young people with the skills they require in the future, to work in jobs that will be created as a result of emerging technology. Korea has also shown further trust in accelerating the growth of blockchain and AI through their 5 trillion won ‘Growth through Innovation’ investment plan.

It is clear that blockchain and AI will shape the future, not only for businesses and financial industries but at a government level.