SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea announced plans Thursday to ease regulations on three industries -- artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and financial technology, or fintech -- as part of the government's aggressive deregulation drive to find a new growth engine.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning reported a set of deregulation measures to Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn to deregulate the three sectors amid the fast-paced industrial transformation, dubbed the "fourth industrial revolution."
The ministry said cutting-edge technologies that characterize the revolution are forecast to generate business opportunities and profits worth 560 trillion won (US$470 billion) by 2030 and improve the quality of people's livelihoods.
First, the government will make all-out efforts to find growth momentum in the AI sector, saying that it will raise the country's competitiveness amid growing calls for South Korea to revamp its R&D strategy to catch up with other global powerhouses in the field.
The government said it is pushing to revise relevant laws governing information technology within this year to create a code of ethics for the AI sector and to prevent the possible misuse of the technology, officials said.
In the VR sector, the government will support VR startups from the technology development through robust deregulation efforts.
The world's VR hardware and software market came to $2.2 billion last year with the figure projected to reach $80 billion in 2025, the ministry said, citing data by global investment giant Goldman Sachs.
In an effort to narrow the technology gap with market leader the United States by 2020, the ministry said it will get rid of unnecessary regulations, such as not installing partitions at a planned VR experience zone.
The government earlier announced a plan to construct the zone at the so-called "KoVAC" at Digital Media City (DMC), a high-tech complex in western Seoul, to accommodate various VR companies.
The ministry said it will spend a total of 400 billion won in the industry by 2020, as the government needs to unify R&D efforts by various firms and government institutions.
Lastly, the government said it will encourage financial institutions to adopt fintech as the government views it as the key to the future of the nation's financial sector.
Citing a report released by market researcher Accenture, the ministry said the global fintech market is expected to increase up to $8 billion by 2018.
In an effort to raise the transparency of accounting practices, the government will revise relevant systems to impose tougher punishment on related crimes.