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Korea should pursue leadership in global AI market: experts

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Korean IT companies going in right direction

By Baek Byung-yeul

Korea is urged to enhance its competitiveness in the field of generative artificial intelligence (AI) amid expectations that generative AI services such as OpenAI's ChatGPT will be game-changers for the IT industry and more broadly, experts said.

They say the generative AI service has already become an irresistible trend, saying the country's competitiveness in the sector is not outstanding but also not completely behind leaders such as OpenAI, Google and Microsoft.

Korea's AI companies are already implementing strategies to enhance their competencies with major firms such as Naver, Kakao and LG aiming to launch generative AI services. Smaller companies unable to afford development costs are utilizing existing generative AI services to create their own, the experts added.

Since OpenAI's ChatGPT was unveiled last November, the field of AI services has seen explosive attention around the world. Many people use the innovative technology simply for kicks or to ask for help in various subjects, including computer software programming, translation, web search and even writing novels and making music.

As shown by ChatGPT, AI services are now penetrating into our daily lives and will be widely applied to various industrial sectors, according to industry experts. According to market research firm Grand View Research, the global AI market is estimated to grow to $109.37 billion by 2030 from $10.1 billion in 2022.

Lee Kyoung-jun, a professor at Kyung Hee University and director of the university's Artificial Intelligence & Business Model Laboratory, estimated that major domestic companies will soon launch their own generative AI services, and how well they do will determine the competitiveness of Korea's generative AI service market in the future.

"It is still hard to tell how competitive Korea's generative AI service is because major players such as Naver, Kakao and LG have yet to launch their services. OpenAI released the 3.5 version of its generative AI service ChatGPT last November, and Naver is about to release its HyperCLOVA X. Market expectations for HyperCLOVA X are that it will be at least at the 3.5 level, if not at the 4.0 level, which is the latest version of ChatGPT," the professor told The Korea Times.

Just as Samsung Electronics has honed its manufacturing skills in Korea for memory chips and established itself as a top memory chip company in the global market, he added that success in the Korean market will allow them to expand into overseas markets such as the Middle East.


Kim Kyung-joong, professor of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Sejong University, said that Korean companies are doing a fairly good job of keeping up with the rapidly changing generative AI market. He applauded the strategy of large enterprises to develop in-house services and small and medium-sized enterprises to launch their own services based on overseas generative AI services.

"Currently, the generative AI market is undergoing tremendous changes. In the midst of this rapid change, Korean companies have been able to keep up their pace. For large companies such as Naver, Kakao and LG, in-house development is the right choice because they have to pay attention to security issues as well. Companies that are thinking about overseas markets in the future believe that it is the right direction to develop their own services rather than paying a license fee to OpenAI's ChatGPT," the professor said.

Baek Byung-yeul


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