South Korean Government Hesitant on Making Investments into Quantum Industry

Sep 13, 2017

South Korea’s quantum industry is in shock from a news that Chinese Government is planning to invest $11.5 billion (13 trillion KRW) into construction of quantum research institute. South Korea’s national project worth $266 million (300 billion KRW), which is not even 1/40th of Chinese Government’s investment, is repeating its screening process for more than year. If this project will actually go through is also uncertain. South Korean Government led by President Moon Jae-in is not speeding up process of national project when it promised to promote quantum information telecommunication industry.
“It is questionable whether or not South Korean Government has an intention to promote quantum industry.” said a representative for quantum industry.
Quantum industry is voicing its displeasure by saying that possibility of national project being foundered has risen on top of budget for this project being reduced significantly during an evaluation process for preliminary assessment.
It is heard that an evaluation committee from Korea Institute of Science & Technology Evaluation and Planning, which led preliminary assessment evaluation since end of last year, is strongly against large-scale R&D investment due to lack of quantum experts who wrote papers, lack of quantum technologies, and short duration of research for quantum technologies.
Evaluation committee is saying that basic research related to quantum study needs to be preceded .
“It does not make sense that investments are not taking place due to lack of technologies when national project is carried out in order to develop insufficient technologies.” said South Korean quantum industry. “It is questionable when we are going to be able to develop quantum computers and quantum cryptography telecommunication after doing just basic research for 20 to 30 years.”
South Korean quantum industry is also worried that about possibility of national waste by losing right time to make investments. If a national project is foundered, South Korean Government needs to submit a same project under a different name and repeat same process as before.
“If we never challenged ourselves by saying that we did not have requisite technologies, our country would have fallen into a dead zone of state-of-the-art technologies.” said a representative in this industry. “We need to remember that our country was able to cultivate current ICT industry by quickly overcoming insufficient basic technologies.”
Final decision for this national project is expected to be made in the middle of next month.
On the other hand, Chinese Government decided to construct world’s biggest ‘national quantum information science research institute’ in Hefei and to invest about $11.5 billion (13 trillion KRW) for two and half years.
Staff Reporter Kim, Yongjoo | kyj@etnews.com

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