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  • Korea Forges Industry Alliance on Electronic Commerce
  • June 29, 1998 (SEOUL) -- Korea's leading electronics companies forged an alliance to establish domestic standards for electronic commerce.
    According to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MoCIE), industry executives signed a collective agreement earlier in June on a broad range of collaborations to establish a common digital database from research and development, purchasing and supply, marketing and servicing of products and inventory management.

    The alliance will be aimed at creating a virtual enterprise as the focus for enterprise integration by 2000 under the ELECTROPIA initiatives that have been promoted since January 1997.

    Participating companies include Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Hyundai Electronics Industries Co., Ltd., LG Electronics Inc. and Daewoo Electronics Co., Ltd.

    In addition, Samsung SDS Co., Hyundai Information Technology Co., LG -EDS Systems Inc. and Daewoo Information Systems Co. will provide systems support. The companies already developed a joint pilot system for electronic commerce in December 1997.

    The new agreement calls for the deployment of the electronic data interchange (EDI) system and the creation of electronic shopping malls within the ELECTROPIA consortium by 1999, with a goal of establishing industry-wide electronic commerce standards by 2000.

    The system will be based on what is known as CALS (Commerce at Light Speed), an advanced format of the Computer-Aided Logistics Support developed by the U.S. Department of Defense.

    ELECTROPIA will become a prototype of electronic commerce in Korea, as more than 90 percent of small- and medium-sized firms are seeking to use the Internet for their marketing and sales activities.

    MoCIE officials said Korean companies will benefit from ELCTROPIA technology, with combined savings of an annual 600 billion won (US$ 430 million) in import substitutions, product-to-market time and costs.

    Electronic commerce legislation is also on the horizon. MoCIE is seeking the enactment of a "Basic Law for Electronic Commerce" this year in line with international efforts to set up global standards on trade taking place through new media such as the Internet. On May 26, it proposed a set of guidelines for the electronic commerce legislation covering tariffs, taxation, intellectual property rights protection and privacy in the digital trade environment.

    The ministry proposal was along the lines of current international discussions on electronic commerce, including no tariffs on online goods such as computer software and multimedia contents, digital signatures and authentication and a strengthening of protection of software copyrights.

    Korea is currently taking part in talks on electronic commerce under the auspices of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD ). The OECD ministerial-level conference scheduled to be held this October in Ottawa is expected to have a major policy impact on Korea's electronic commerce development.

    Separately, the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) is crafting a bill to legalize digital signatures. If the bill becomes a law as scheduled this year, all digital commercial documents with certified signatures will carry the same legal effect as hard copies used in real transactions.

    Keyword: Electronic Commerce in Korea

    The National Computerization Agency estimates the volume of electronic commerce in Korea will increase from 6,285 million won (US$4.5 million) in 1997 to 61,396 million won (US$44 million) in 20 00. The number of Internet users in the country will grow from 1.25 million to 4.2 million during the same period. (return to news)

    (James Lim, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Updated: Fri Jun 26 15:23:27 1998