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S. Korea to set up 400 bln-won fund for digital startups

According to Yonhap News,

SEJONG, Aug. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will set up a fund of 400 billion won (US$339.6 million) to help digital startups get more loans, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Thursday.

The fund is expected to help promising startups commercialize their technologies, Hong said in a meeting with economy-related ministers.

Hong voiced concerns over a recent jump in daily new infections of the new coronavirus, saying, "Successful containment is a prerequisite of an economic recovery."

South Korea has tightened its social distancing guidelines as infections linked to a Seoul church continued to swell amid growing fears of a serious resurgence in the densely populated capital area.

The ministry has set up a task force to support Korean New Deal projects that will help create 1.9 million jobs and jumpstart the coronavirus-hit economy.

Last month, South Korea said it will invest 160 trillion won by 2025 under the bold stimulus package.

Hong said the government will soon announce a plan to establish a fund for the projects.

About 20 trillion won, which will be set aside for the projects, will be included in next year's budget plan, Hong said.

Unlike conventional infrastructure projects, the deals feature 28 projects that will transform the nation's fossil fuel-reliant economy into an eco-friendly one and increase state investment in artificial intelligence and fifth-generation (5G) telecommunication services.

The projects are aimed at laying the groundwork for economic growth in the long term, while cushioning the economic blow from the pandemic and hastening an economic recovery, ministry officials said.

"The new policy aims to help South Korea beef up its competitiveness in the digital industry in sync with the COVID-19 pandemic," the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy also said in a statement. "It will help the country cope with the changing global supply chain."

South Korea said it will lend hands to companies engaging in autonomous cars, robot delivery and self-driving ships to speed up their research and development projects to create new business opportunities in the so-called digital-based industries.

The country also plans to foster some 16,000 experts in the field of big data and artificial intelligence.

South Korea will join forces with other Asian partners, including Singapore, as well to establish what it calls a "digital bloc," in which countries can expand economic cooperation in the emerging industries.

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Source: Yonhap News (Aug 20, 2020)

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