S. Korea govt to invest 1 trillion won ($840M) in artificial intelligence

March 17, 2016
(Courtesy of Yonhap news TV)

(Courtesy of Yonhap news TV)

By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL (Yonhap) — The South Korean government announced Thursday it would spend 1 trillion won (US$840 million) by 2020 to boost the artificial intelligence industry.

It also plans to support the civilian-led establishment of a high-profile research center tasked with serving as a “pivot” of the nation’s research and development in the field.

Six large local firms — Samsung and LG Electronics, SKT, KT, Naver and Hyundai Motor — have decided to join the initiative, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

“Once the private companies set up the research institute, the government will provide financial support for core R&D projects,” the ministry said.

The envisioned facility, tentatively named the Intelligence Information Technology Research Institute, will likely be located in Pankyo, just south of Seoul, according to Kim Yong-soo, a senior ministry official.

Each company plans to invest around 3 billion won, he told reporters.

The government hopes that it will open as early as possible but the exact timing will be decided by the participating firms, he added.

Under the plan reported to President Park Geun-hye earlier in the day, the government aims to prod the civilian sector into investing 2.5 trillion won over the next five years.