Jan. 29, 2007 SDF Korea

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On Monday January 29, 2007 at DLA Piper in East Palo Alto, the International SIG and the Korean Consulate hosted a panel discussing the opportunities and challenges for hi-tech investment in South Korea.

Sang Ki Chung
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Sang Ki Chung, Consul General of the Republic of Korea made some interesting remarks about the situation on the peninsula. South Korea intends to continue engagement with North Korea and support de-nuclearization for the Korean Peninsula at the Six Party talks in Beijing in February. He said the economy is doing well and foreign investment continues despite these tensions. The pending expanded free trade agreement should allow freer movement of people goods and services between the South Korea and America.

Jae-Woo Kim
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Jae-Woo Kim, Senior Manager and Investment Specialist for the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) talked about his government’s support of emerging ventures and market of eager early adopters for new technologies. He pointed out Korea’s central location between large markets in China and Japan.

Joe Jasin
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Joe Jasin, VP of Corporate Development at SK Telecom International who is the most connected wireless person I know, spoke on the Korean protection of intellectual property and the fact that 80 percent of their kids go to college equipped with ten years of English. Jasin moderated a panel with Brian Kang of Samsung Ventures, Brendon Kim of Altos Ventures, Kihyun Jung of Google, and David Lee of Venture Source Group.

Brian Kang
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Brian Kang of Samsung explained the different high-speed broadband Wi-Pro standards 16d (fixed) and 16e (wireless) being rolled out. Both expand the possibility for mobile banking, TV on cell phones and HDTV at home.

Kihyun Jung
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Kihyun Jung of Google was guarded about his remarks. Since Google is everywhere these days, it should be no surprise they’ve been in Korea for a while. While they are study how Koreans use new technology, they are looking for how to apply it globally.

Brendon Kim
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Brendon Kim of Altos Ventures thinks that the advertising model on Korean websites would overwhelm Americans used to the plain interface presented by Google. He also had a contrary note on venture capital. While Korean VCs are adopting Silicon Valley approaches like adult supervision and suggestions to start-ups, they are also increasingly focused on projects in China, not the U.S.

David Lee
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David Lee of Venture Source Group talked about the needs of Koreans seeking venture capital investment in the U.S. He thinks it important to present clear documentation in a business plan, develop the right contacts with VC that understand the technology.

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Others at the event included Zoe Li of the International SIG, Cheryl Gross of AGC, Sang-grun Ahn of KOTRA, Jung H Moon of the Korean Consul, and Liping Wang.
Copyright 2007 DJ Cline All rights reserved.