This report studies a series of ICT R&D policies in Korea since the 1960s. Korea’s systemic ICT research and development infrastructure establishment and continued R&D policy implementation have deeply contributed to the country’s present stance as a global ICT powerhouse. The Korean government has successfully established and implemented policies for research institutions, universities and enterprises to build up their capacities to lead innovations on the front lines of ICT sector development. The country has effectively developed technologies such as TDX, DRAM, CDMA, WiBro and DMB; showed an exemplary case of dividing roles among industry, academia and research institutions in developing new ICT technologies; raised funds for information communication promotion to build one of the top-notch ICT networks in the world and performed stable government ICT R&D projects. Such series of achievements by the country are recognized as a benchmark case, not just for developing countries but also for advanced countries. Developing countries, in particular, as they tend to have weak ICT technological capabilities in the private sector, can study Korea’s case as a benchmark where the basic technology development infrastructure was laid first by many government-sponsored research institutes followed by the nurturing of private sector capacity in a phased manner (Ko et al., 2012).
We provide an overview of Korea’s ICT R&D policy in the following order: i) Objectives and Achievements; ii) Backgrounds and Needs; iii) Strategy and System; iv) Specifics of Policies in chronological order; v) Evaluation of Success Factors with three case studies of TDX, CDMA and WiBro; and vi) Implications for Developing Countries.