Korean Tech Is Losing Its Cool
How Korea, a onetime digital trendsetter, became a laggard in an era of smartphones—and amazing apps
The iPhone’s popularity is a sign that Korea may be losing its edge in the international market, despite its reputation as the epicenter of digital cool. The country still rules in hardware, but it is stumbling in software.
“The Policy Backfired”
Seoul in 2005 required handset makers and content providers offering products or services in the country to use a Korean technology for Internet access instead of the programs used in most other countries. The rule was rescinded last year, but it clearly slowed the foreigners: The iPhone hit Korea more than two years after its U.S. debut. The downside is that Korean software writers were left with programs that worked only in their home market. As a result, they received scant exposure to the rigors of the global marketplace. “The policy backfired for Korea by stopping competition for innovation,” says Chung Tai Myoung, an engineering professor at Sungkyunkwan University.
Yet when it comes to smartphones—perhaps the most important new sector in the technology business—young Koreans don’t expect much from homegrown alternatives to Apple or BlackBerry. “I don’t think I’ll want a Korean phone in the next few years,” says Yoon Ju Hwan, a 30-year-old fund manager who bought an iPhone in December. “We simply don’t have the capabilities to create the kinds of things Apple does.”
The above is just a couple good paragraphs from the article. I recommend you check the whole thing out. It’s a good, well-rounded piece.
My only pause is that I think the author cherry-picked responses from techies. I don’t think that this is the opinion of the average Korean. I’d say the average Korean still doesn’t give a hoot about smartphones.