Prof. Sin-Doo Lee, [Opinion] Advancement in key industries and innovative growth (Seoul Shinmun, 20190806)

2019-08-28l Hit 384

SNU ECE Professor Sin-Doo Lee

Due to the recent restrictions in Japanese export of key material followed by a removal from the ‘white-list’, Korea’s central industry, the semiconductor and display field in particular, is expecting a serious blow. Internally, the industry is facing various unfavorable factors such as stalled growth, decreased investment, and a weakened hold in domestic demand. The Moon administration, now in its third year, must reach a level of achievement policy-wise such that the people can sense income-led growth, economic justice, and innovative growth, which were on the key agenda of the administration. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a powerful current of the times, conflict between conventional and rising industries seems inevitable. However, it is the government’s role to aid advancement in key industries that will help support innovative growth as well as secure the engine to future development by resolving conflicts between relevant parties and to attain innovative growth by inducing active civilian investment.

Innovation in science and technology or the industrial ecosystem cannot be realized by simply shouting out slogans. It requires a detailed measure in policy so that innovation can take root in both research and industrial circles through constant cooperation and adjustments between the government and civilians. Habitual routines must be thrown away and vested rights should be given up. In the field of innovative products and services, there must be proactive modifications to the legal and institutional environment. Regulations that pose obstacles to innovation must be destroyed, and the recently adopted regulatory sandbox must prove its worth in the field.

This conflict with Japan surrounding trade in material should be taken as an opportunity to come up with plans for development in key industries and to discuss the inborn limitations of Korea’s industrial structure as the global trade war is expected to be aggravated. Until now, our economy accomplished high-speed and concentrated growth through an industry centered on the finished product based on manufacturing productivity that depended on large scale investment in facilities and equipment. A finished product-centered industrial structure is vulnerable without the constant supply of key components.

Therefore, the establishment of domestic production bases through open innovation with global material companies in countries other than Japan such as the U.S. and Germany, a higher level of practical collaboration between companies of supply and demand, a constant investment in government R&D projects and an introduction of a performance evaluation and certification system, the securement of source technology in future material and technology by universities and government-funded research centers, and the growth of small-sized companies specialized in material components are to be systematically promoted.


Translated by: Jee Hyun Lee, English Editor of Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,