South Korea has become the world leader in patent activity, and information and communication technology. The country has the highest broadband penetration in the world at 97 percent and is a leader in broadband speed with an average peak connection of close to 50 megabits per second.
Success in manufacturing and exporting cutting edge electronics products has burnished the country’s image as a leader in technology but the connection goes deeper. Koreans are avid consumers of digital media and apply the lion’s share of their bandwidth resources to online gaming. South Korea is home to the World Cyber Games, the world’s largest video game competition, and has three television channels fully dedicated to eSports featuring professional gamers. South Korea’s home grown, highly visual K-Pop music videos are streamed by the millions and have become a significant global export. Last year streaming of mok-bang through Afreeca TV, a peer-to-peer online video network, became the rage. For the uninitiated, mok-bang videos feature self-made celebrities eating massive amounts of food for hours.
Increasingly young technologists are fueling a fledgling start-up scene that is led by mobile game developers and social media innovators.
South Korean entrepreneurs are coming back with a sense of how to take on the US market, a greater willingness to assume risk, and an interest in building things that aren’t just made for Korea. This has attracted the notice of American technology companies. Google has taken an active role in nurturing South Korean companies, introducing their favorites in the US to help them build a global profile. A company called Sparklabs was formed a little over a year ago with offices in Seoul and San Francisco to incubate Korean start-ups.
There is a growing interest from overseas VCs in the South Korean venture ecosystem as well as a rise of angel groups, accelerators and event organizations to promote entrepreneurship in Korea. Softbank Ventures, StoneBridge Capital, and Strong Ventures are a few examples of established VCs moving to get a foothold in South Korea
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.