South Korea unveils technology-based sports drive ahead of PyeongChang 2018

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South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will harness the country’s advanced technologies under a wide-ranging five-year plan to expand its national sports industry, according to the Yonhap news agency.

The department’s vice-minister Kim Chong said the plans are based upon an intended expansion of the value of the country’s sports industry from 3.7tn won (€2.5bn/$3.5bn) to 5.3tn won by 2018 and sports jobs rising from 230,000 to 270,000 within the same period. The Korean county of PyeongChang will host the winter Olympics in 2018.

Central to the ministry’s vision is the Sports Activity Index – an open mobile platform for people to share sports information and maintain exercise logs. Additionally, the launch of a YouTube channel providing live feeds of amateur and professional sports is planned.

Along with bringing a greater degree of diversity to the sports on offer and more accessibility to sports facilities, the government wants to increase the number of interactive simulators for sports such as baseball and football following the nationwide popularity of golf simulators.

The government aims to make the expansion sustainable by establishing 20 sports firms with high growth potential by 2018, supported by a start-up programme, while two new institutions will be founded to encourage future growth.

Kim’s ministry will create a department dedicated to the sports industry, alongside a new state-run body named the Sports Industry Promotion Centre to assist sports firms and encourage overall efficiency in sports policies.

Kim said: “By blending in IT and other leading technologies, we hope to go from being merely a faster follower to the first mover. The key of our five-year plan is to transform the industry from a producer-oriented one into a consumer-oriented one.”

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