Developed countries such as the United States and Japan have traditionally been perceived as front-
runners in leading edge technology, cultivating global technology brands such as Apple, Sony and
Panasonic just to name a few. Consequently, the rising economic dominance of China and South
Korea has translated to these Asian countries aiming to expand their technological reach, as they aim
to boost 5G development initiatives through government efforts. With considerably faster and
extensive online connectivity, the economic argument for 5G wireless networks cannot be
underestimated. Add to this the increasingly borderless world afforded by all things online, it is
beneficial to gauge development efforts of our immediate neighbours so as to better position ourselves
Brewing Asian region
Korea and China have established national research and development programs to support the
deployment of 5G connections over the next five years. For one, China has commissioned three
ministries to coordinate activities and 5G developments across industry and academia. Chinese
technology company Huawei has also announced its investment in research and innovation for 5G
technologies as early as 2009, with investment to ramp up to as much as $600 million in 2018.
Conversely, South Korea has established a 5G forum that promotes public-private partnerships. South
Korea benefits from having fast internet connections speeds, which has arguably supported its
technological base over the past decade. South Korea boasts one of the fastest mobile broadband
networks globally, and serves as the home to Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone maker.
Although the link between broadband speeds, innovation and economic prosperity do not necessarily
imply strong causality, having the necessary infrastructure and the corresponding tools stand to
benefit its domestic and commercial users.
With the 2018 Winter Olympic Games slated in South Korea, the country is aiming to commercially
deploy its 5G network at this time. Similar to how Japan showcased its technological prowess
globally through its launch of the bullet train and coloured satellite broadcast in the 1964 games,
South Korea is aspiring to further establish and display its technological expertise on the global stage.